Purple Potato Harvest 2019

Cooking and Household, Gardening
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Cross-section photo taken mid-slicing for dinner.

I grew some purple potatoes this year. They were delicious potatoes that had purple skin, purple marbled with white insides, and the whole thing turned a deep purple when cooked. I was told that purple potatoes apparently originated from more mountainous regions, with the pigment to protect any potatoes near the surface of the soil from the sun due to the thinner atmosphere. The purple pigment is a sign of the higher content of healthy compounds in the potato!

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I love how cool and whimsical this type of potato is, and it is used just the same as any other potato. Cooking with them makes my dinners more interesting visually.

Pink-Fleshed Moon and Stars Watermelon

Drawing, Gardening

This year, I grew a watermelon I’ve wanted to grow since I was 12: the Pink-Fleshed Moon and Stars Watermelon. I read about it in a heritage seed-saving catalogue, and the description of a watermelon with markings like a starry sky took my imagination and gave me ideas of a faerie garden. Moon and Stars Watermelon is an heirloom variety of watermelon that was once thought to be extinct, but careful preservation has brought it back. It produces a lot of seeds, and grew easily in hills with zero assistance. I had a bit of trouble with the weeds this year, but the watermelon didn’t. It out-competed them and produced plenty of fruits.

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The watermelons were just as delicious as I imagined they would be. Very sweet and tasty, with plenty of watermelon flavor! It’s so much better than a grocery store melon. One of the watermelons was one yard (91 cm) in circumference!

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I painted the watermelon and the leaf in watercolor. The entire plant has these little yellow specks on it, like a whole galaxy of stars. Even the leaves are speckled when healthy, and the seeds are mottled with dark and mid-tone brown flecks. The watermelon also has a single larger yellow spot on it where it sat on the ground, making a “moon” on the dark green sky among all the tinier speckles of “stars.”

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The season for watermelon has already passed, but this variety deserves attention. I’ve saved the (numerous, huge) seeds from these watermelons to grow next year.

Luffa Gourd Leaf

Gardening

Two years ago, I traded someone for some luffa gourd seeds in the fall. The following spring, I grew them and they did incredibly well. The luffas were dried and used as dish sponges. Luffas produce an astounding amount of seeds, so I saved some of them to plant again this year. Unfortunately, they had a rough start and haven’t done quite as well as last year, but they’re still producing a few luffas. I plan on trying again to save the seeds, if possible. Here is one of their lovely leaves, about 5″ across, climbing up its trellis.

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How to Propagate English Ivy

Gardening

I was a bit busy this weekend, so here is a journal entry of mine all the way back from 2016!

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I have always loved English ivy. You have to be careful with it in the US, as it is not a native plant and it can take over an area in a negative way. In some states you’re not allowed to grow it. In my state, we can grow it, but to be polite, I keep it as an indoor houseplant. I love the evergreen, trailing strands with their pointed leaves. I find them very elegant.

Walking Onion Harvest

Gardening

I have a patch of purple-skinned walking onions in a sunny, dry area of the yard. Walking onions are a perennial that produces small onions on the top of its stems. Both the onions on the stems and the onions growing in the ground are edible, and have a stronger flavor than normal onions. The onion greens get fibrous quickly once an onion is growing on the end of the stem, so you have to either get the greens early on or reserve them for simmering in stocks and broths.

This is the first year the onions are established enough for a full harvest, as last year, I had just recently started them and replanted most of the onions from the harvest. These onions are now in many of the dinners I cook. They do not add bulk to the meal, but they have a great onion flavor.

Here are some photos from before the onions were ready to eat. I think that here, they look like aliens or sea creatures!