The first lockdown due to the pandemic has been hard to adjust to. The second wave of coronavirus has reached a new high, and the second lockdown has been announced in many places. All the travel restrictions are back in place. Most tourist places and recreational centres are closed, and parties are a big no.
I might sound like I’m complaining. But I agree that these measures are needed to curb the spread of the virus. I am just worried about passing my time during this pandemic.
The last time, I revisited some of my old hobbies, like crocheting and gardening.
I also learnt how to cook. I made pasta with Alfredo sauce, baked a cake, among a couple of other recipes. I wasn’t very successful, but I got the basics of cooking right.
I guess this time around, I need to try my hand at drawing. That has been an art form that I am not good at. In my previous post, I promised to learn from my sister, who is good at it. Let’s hope I can manage it this time.
These fruits commonly grow in South America and Caribbean countries. They are called Guineps in Jamaica, and elsewhere they are known as quenepas, Spanish lime, honeyberry etc., in different countries.
Guineps are seasonal fruits. When they are in season, you can find them sold on street sides by vendors. They are very inexpensive and sold in bunches.
The fruit looks like a small size green lime. Gently bite the fruit and crack open the thin rind, and you will find fresh fruit inside.
Be careful not to bite deep into the fruit as the outer fleshy part is not very thick. Just beneath the sweet and tangy flesh is the hard-shell seed. Suck the sweet juicy pulp and discard the seed.
Guineps grow on tall trees that grow to a height of about 80 ft. The flesh of the fruit is nutritious; even the seed is said to be beneficial. The ancient people of the Caribbean region roasted these seeds and consumed the pith. It is said to be similar to a cashew nut.
The pulp of the Guineps is used to make juices, jams and sauce for desserts.
When I came to Jamaica two decades ago, the Otaheite apple was one of the exotic fruits that I came across. But ever since I tasted them, I have been in love with this delicious fruit.
Yesterday my husband brought a dozen of these apples. Otaheite apples are soft and juicy like a plum. There is a small seed inside it that can be pulled out easily. The white flesh inside the fruit is sweet and has a tangy taste. One bite of this fruit fills up your mouth with the sweet juice, as the red colour from the skin slowly seeps into the delicate white fibrous flesh. The darker the colour of the skin, the sweeter is the fruit.
It is also known as the Jamaican apple, and it grows on tall trees that generally bear a lot of fruits. It is a seasonal fruit. The previous house where I lived had a lot of space in the yard. So, I planted a seed of this Otaheite Apple, and it grew to approximately three feet tall. When I moved from that house, I left the tree there. My current residence has no space for trees.
Just like any other fruit, these apples are rich in vitamins and minerals. They work wonders for our body and prevent or cure a variety of ailments. The best part is that they taste great and are surprisingly inexpensive.
I enjoy eating them raw however, they are used to make jams and juices. It can be stewed with brown sugar and ginger to make jam. You could even run it in the blender with water, sugar and a tiny bit of ginger to make an excellent juice.
All this talk about Otaheite apples has worked up my appetite. Bye for now, see you all on my next blog.
In my earlier post, I wrote about gardening as a hobby and how relaxing it is. I have since received a few suggestions and requests to write another post on helpful tips. I have gathered a few tricks from my readers, friends and family. These will help you get better results and grow healthier plants.
The first thing to remember with gardening and care for plants is that they are just like every other living being. Plants need nutrition, healthy soil, sufficient air and sunlight. If any of these are missing or in deficiency, the plants will not flourish. Now that we have established the basics, here are a few tricks to help you grow plants better.
Specific plants have specific routines for care. Cacti should not be watered daily. Succulents grow fatter with water but can survive without daily watering. Flowering plants like roses, jasmine, lilies need daily watering. Hibiscus requires lesser water than other flowering plants. Get complete information about watering routines before planting them.
Plants need nutrients like calcium, potassium, nitrogen, and other minerals and vitamins too. Once a fortnight or week, make sure to give them nutrition. I use this trick because I am lazy, but hope it helps you too. I crush a multivitamin and multi-mineral capsule into a bottle full of water and spray it into the soil generously every week.
Vegetable and fruit peel, eggshells etc. are a natural source of nutrition. Take dried up skin and peels and cut them up into tiny pieces. Sprinkle them in the soil before watering the plants. This will ensure that the plant flowers regularly and stays fresh and green.
I use natural pesticides as often as possible. Neem oil, turmeric decoction, green tea powder, soap nuts water etc. help to keep out many of the common pests that affect the plants.
Protect your plants from slugs and snails. They eat up the leaves and destroy all your hard work. Slugs and snails prefer moist places and gardens are an ideal environment for them. Conduct regular checks around your pots, planters and underneath wood planks. Discard them if you see any slugs or snails. You have traps lure them and kill; you can try it if you don’t mind killing them.
Once in a while, loosen the soil to aerate it. This is important for the healthy growth of plants.
Regularly remove unwanted grass and weeds from your garden. Weeds take up all the water and nutrition and leave very little for your plants.
Dead insects and birds can be buried in the garden; they disintegrate into the soil and make it richer.
Collect all dried leaves and dead plants in your garden in a container and cover it with soil. It enriches the soil over time.
I have gathered all these tips from other readers and followers. If you have any other useful ideas, please feel free to share. This list is not a comprehensive list of all ideas, it is just a list of ideas that I have used and found to be helpful.
Hello everybody. How are all of you doing? It has been raining a lot all week here in Montego Bay. I love the rain because it cools down the temperature and nature looks bright and beautiful after the rain. This morning, I took a walk in the yard with my phone and started clicking. Can you see the blades of grass still holding on to the tiny droplets of rain?
My curry leaf plant is in full bloom and there are so many bees buzzing all over it.
These are some other plants I have at home.
I love these pink bougainvillea. The only problem with it is the thorns. A bougainvillea thorn prick is very painful. It takes a long time to heal. I found out that these thorns are toxic. They cause itching, rash, and pain.
This red hibiscus attracts a lot of hummingbirds. Unfortunately, I did not get one in this picture. Hummingbirds like red coloured flowers. Maybe one day, I will be able to get a picture of a hummingbird and I will definitely share with all of you.
The firecracker flower is a new plant in my garden. Since my childhood, I always liked these flowers. My grandmother used to make beautiful garlands with a combination of jasmine and orange firecracker flowers. These flowers bring back all those memories and I smile every time I look at them. One day, I saw this plant growing wild on the pavement and a paid worker was chopping all the wild growth. I understood that he would chop the plant anyway so I requested him to dig out the plant and give it to me. And that’s how I have it in my garden today.
I love wildflowers. No one waters them; they grow on their own and provide the bees with nectar. They make my yard look beautiful. Sometimes the entire yard is filled with these beautiful, white, wild daisies. They attract a lot of butterflies and dragonflies. Sitting for even ten minutes in my yard and watching the bees, butterflies, and dragonflies refreshes my mind as it would if I did half an hour of meditation. That’s the power of nature.