Friday, March 11, 2011

A nice bit of design - blowfish grater

Isn't it CUTE? I am so in love with my new blowfish grater. Basically, I was looking for a way to grate foods - ok, specifically ginger - that would actually leave me with everything at the end. The old stand up metal grater does NOT cut it in this area - and its impossible to clean, to boot. So, I started looking online for ceramic Japanese graters. Basically, these are made with lots of little ceramic points in the bottom that grate the food, but there aren't any holes for it to fall thru, or have bits get trapped in.

You can see the little grating pyramids really well here; also you can see his mouth which works sort of as a spout for pouring out liquids that may be left in the grater.

Here's a nice close-up of the tail, which makes a convenient place to grab while pouring. And you can see the glaze, which is pearlescent and gorgeous.

But most importantly, it works like a charm.

That carrot took maybe 10 seconds, probably less. Clean up was super easy; just had to rinse it and everything came right off. This thing is a perfect example of beauty married to function - what every excellent design should strive for.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

My window garden, post 7 - potting, growth, more aphids

All the plants are doing well so far. A couple days after the last time I posted, the peas looked like this:

And now they look like this:

In the next couple of days I'll be putting up trellis for them; ok, by trellis I mean rope. It'll work.

The other baby plants are doing nicely. Here's the eggplant and tomatillos, and a couple of the beans pre-transplantation:

And here are the okra and melons, just prior to transplant:

Replanting the melons and beans:

Some of the new melons and beans happy in their new home:

And here are the beans I transplanted three days ago:

One problem I had, just a couple of days after the last aphids, was.. more aphids. This time it was black aphids completely covering one of the chives. Easy to take care of at least; more insecticidal soap. Chives are still doing well, and the rosemary too:

And the sage, basil, and lavender:

The mint has gotten a couple more aphids, but nothing severe.

The ancho peppers have just started to come up, and there's nothing from the red peppers yet (no surprise), but the rocoto has at least one pepper starting to turn - and the second plant finally has two flowers on it! Here's hoping!

Now I just have to pot the tomatillos, eggplant, anchos, red peppers, and parsley. If everything decides to come up. I'm starting to run out of room tho, I might have to pick and choose how many plants!

Thursday, March 03, 2011

My window garden, post 6 - attack of the aphids

OK, it sounds worse than it is. The mint has aphids.

I thought it had white fly too, but I've been squishing all the bugs on it I could find for a couple of days, and I don't see them anymore. Pretty much everything else that is of size on the window right now doesn't get aphids (except maybe the basil; I'm keeping an eye on it), but the aphids have to go as a number of my crops from seed are vulnerable. So...

It's insecticidal soap time! Coated the mint nice and thoroughly in it. The best part about insecticidal soap is that it isn't really dangerous to humans; I'm still going to wash the mint before using it, but otherwise, its good to go.

The rest of the plants are doing really well. (The mint really is doing well too, but I hate aphids.)

As you can see, the basil is going like crazy, the lavender has a ton of new leaves coming, and the sage has bounced back from its initial sort of sad looking state.

The chives are getting tall too, and the rosemary has a bunch of new sprigs. These plants were all difficult to see from the ground when they were planted; now they're all easily visible.

And of course the plants that I'm starting from seed are coming along.

The peas were the first to get too big for the seed starter (those are all pea plants in the above shot). Almost all of them are out now; so far only three haven't sprouted. I cleared off some room on one of our bookshelves for them; they like cool and shade, so I'm going to attempt to give it to 'em.

All of the okra sprouted and grew very quickly too; some of the melons, all the tomatillos, most of the eggplant, and a few of the beans are up. Still have some of the melons, most of the beans, and all of the ancho/poblano peppers to go. I'll be re-potting whatever is up this weekend.

Shipped this week were the seeds for soybeans, red peppers, and italian parsley. I really need more dirt and pots...

The garlic continues to grow, tho the pace has reduced since they're in the sun full time now.

The peppers continue to go crazy; The one plant now has 25 peppers and many more flowers on it. The other plant still has never produced a flower; I keep hoping as its greens are looking beautiful. But the producing plant is crazy. I can't even get close to getting a pic of all the peppers.