Monday, February 11, 2013

Sustainability

I've been diligently working away at planning that garden of ours. Mostly I've decided not to be very adventurous and have been researching easy-going plants that are almost guaranteed to thrive in our area. Growing anything at all is ambitious, right? I mean, I haven't done this before. I don't want to overdo it.

On the other hand, if I set up something super easy and still fail...how's that going to make me feel?

On the other, other hand, the poinsettia I adopted at the ward Christmas party is still alive (and thriving) two months later so I don't kill everything* I try to grow (see, Andrew?).

On the other, other, other hand, it's possible it's fake. I mean...it's still alive so obviously something fishy's going on here.

While I was researching difficult-to-kill plants the other day I came across a bulleted list of plants. I can't find the list I was looking at before (I'll have to re-research it...nuts) but it went something like this:

  • beans
  • zucchini
  • cilantro/coriander
  • sunflowers
My eye was immediately drawn to the cilantro/coriander bullet because that's two things, not one. Duh. Someone obviously missed hitting the 'enter' key. 

Besides, we'd already ordered a "Culinary Herb Set" that included cilantro in it. Andrew forbade me to plant it. He hates cilantro. But, I reasoned, we have the seeds...and they grow (the internet said so). We don't have to eat it. We can leave it to flower, further justifying my claim that it's a legitimate flower garden, not a flower garden disguised as a vegetable garden (or a vegetable garden disguised as a flower garden).

Andrew just bought coriander so that he could make falafel, so I looked that up and...

Coriander is cilantro!?

I told Andrew this and he had a major "Luke, I am your father"** moment.

Yep, it turns out "coriander" and "cilantro" come from the very same plant—Coriandrum sativum. But coriander is a spice (because it's the seed of the plant) and cilantro is an herb (because it's the leaves). I learned that this past fall, actually, at an herb garden class that I attended (which ignited enough ambition to order packets of seeds...which have yet to be planted). I didn't learn that coriander and cilantro were the same thing, necessarily, just that spices and herbs aren't interchangeable terms.

"Ugh! Why do people even plant the seeds then? I mean...you already have the seeds. Why not just use them and avoid cilantro altogether?" Andrew asked, repulsed at the very idea of cultivating such a vile plant.

"That's an idea," I said sympathetically. "But if everyone did that, then we'd run out of coriander pretty fast, wouldn't we?"

"Oh, yeah," Andrew conceded, lowering his emotional 'Down with Cilantro!' picket sign.

"It would be The Lorax all over again," I soothed. 

We need th-ilantro. 

We need its th-eeds, for cilantro seeds are a fine thing that all people need.

*I can't find a record of this...but I managed to kill that sago palm before Rachel was even born. That's...less than three months from the time we got the plant.

*Misquoted. Because Star Wars isn't my favourite (it's too pew-pew-pew).

10 comments:

  1. If you're going to do beans (I'm going to assume the green variety) I suggest doing a bush bean as opposed to a pole variety. They don't require that you build some elaborate structure for your beans to grow up.

    Sugar pumpkins are nice and easy too.

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    1. Good to know. We were actually thinking of scarlet runner beans...because those have very pretty flowers...but our climate might be too warm for them. My idea was to put them in a planter on top of our water barrel...so that they could cascade down. But that might be too big of a an idea...

      I will look into the sugar pumpkins, though I'm not sure we have the space for them this year (we're starting in a very small plot).

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  2. I would also suggest not planting the cilantro if you're not going to use it because the plant smells heavily of cilantro, strangely enough, when it flowers and it will permeate the yard, and Andrew's nose. :)

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  3. I would also suggest not planting the cilantro if you're not going to use it because the plant smells heavily of cilantro, strangely enough, when it flowers and it will permeate the yard, and Andrew's nose. :)

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  5. Cilantro is my favorite herb/spice. Just sayin'.

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  6. Cilantro is my favorite herb/spice. Just sayin'.

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  7. Haha Andrew! I love it. I don't know when I figured that out but it was a great day for me. Our best garden things last year were our carrots, our basil, and our potatoes. Our green beans didn't have a chance because rabbits kept eating them. Our watermelon kept splitting and our tomatoes just didn't get ripe before the frost. Every year is different though...although I have noticed in the midwest that it is exceptionally hard to grow squash without getting a fungus or mold. I blame the humidity. Turns out things grow better in dry climates where they can get water on a more scheduled watering. Go figure :) I still love my garden though.

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  8. Depending on the year and how much rain we get, my father in law has had good success with tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, watermelon, lettuce, potatoes, okra, bell pepper, green onions, beets. Probably more, but that's what comes to mind now. And we live two counties west of you for point of reference. :)

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  9. Butternut squash. You plant it, watch it grow all over everything (including weeds), and then pick 20 pounds of it in the fall.

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