Friday, July 20, 2007

Oh, the waiting!

Harry Potter: three hours and nine minutes!!!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

They're not just for breakfast anymore!

Ever decide that you're just plain bored with your usual salad? Can't think of a way to dress up the roast? Well, you might have to look into EDIBLE FLOWERS!

Disclaimer first!!!! Do not eat anything that you have not PERSONALLY RESEARCHED and determined to be safe for you and your particular dietary requirements. Not all flowers are edible and some people are allergic to various things, just like with any other foods. We bear no responsibility for what you may or may not try!!!

Recently, there have been articles and recipes using edible flowers in the news and in popular magazines. Flowers can add color and some complex tastes to what may be ordinary fare. Midwest Home magazine ran an an article in last month's issue called "Beauty and the Feast" in their Savvy Host section that not only had recipes with delicious looking pictures, but they listed various local restaurants that feature flowers in the dishes on their menu.

This is a photo taken from the Midwest Home magazine shot by photographer Maki Strunc.

I went out into the garden and found some of the edible flowers that I had. After I took their pictures, I ate them. I will have to admit (as an editorial comment) that some things seemed like I was I was tasting lawn clippings. But, to be fair, some of them were actually pretty good. I am going to try serving up some of the more tasty ones to the family in a salad.

Use web resources to find lists of different flowers and specific information on them that may be useful to know before you try them. Type in "edible flowers" in to a search engine like Google and you will get plenty of information.

The flowers pictured in the composite photographs are in order - #1 Bachelor Button, Borage, Celery, Cilantro. #2 Dandilion, Fuchsia, Hibiscus, Impatiens. #3 Monarda, Nasturtium, Pansy, Rose. #4 Snapdragon, Strawberry, Tulip, Viola.

Once again, this is meant for fun and interest. Do NOT eat anything that you are not SURE of! Be sure to look at Midwest Home's website (click on the link) and check out the recipes!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Hot, hot, hot!

So with this warmer weather, the violets should grow bigger and better, right? Well.... that all depends. The excellent site from the folks at Optimara say that the ideal temperature for violets is between 65 and 75 degrees F. Other authorities say that the range is up to 80 degrees F. Most homes are generally kept about this warm and comfortable throughout the year. But, what happens when the temperature is either much higher or much lower than that?. Do the violets stop growing? Do they wilt? What happens exactly?

When the temperature is too high, above 80 degrees F., growth and flowering are slowed down. Injury to the leaves may occur. There can be burnt edges, lightening or "yellowing", variegates may start to go all white causing a lethal reaction. Without the green chlorophyll the leaf can not produce any food for itself and it will eventually die. Soil bacteria which activate the plant's ability to produce more chlorophyll are affected at these high temperatures. High temps. also can cause petiole elongation.

Temperature has a great effect on the "time" it takes for a plant to come into flower. The "amount" of light affects the numbers of flowers. It is estimated that 25 degrees C. is the best temp. for violets. That is 77 degrees F. (Click on the photo to see it larger.)

What happens when the violets are subjected to cold conditions? Cold temperatures slow root growth and plant growth. Moisture can now start to be problematic, because even a little excess moisture can lead to root rot. Flower size is diminished and so is leaf size. Roots are 50% less active at 15 degrees C. or 59 degrees F.

Another extremely interesting site posted by the University of Michigan from Dr. Royal Heins and his research assistants has a 100-plus image Power Point presentation about temperatures and gases and how it affects plant growth and metabolism. Our focus is on slides 91 and 92. These two pictures show a very interesting correlation between the temperature and the growth and size of the violet leaves. For easier comparison here are the conversions.

14 deg. C. = 57.2 deg. F.
18 deg. C. = 64.4 deg. F.
22 deg. C. = 71.6 deg. F.
26 deg. C. = 78.8 deg. F.
30 deg. C. = 86 deg. F.

The graphs are using temperature and the "Daily Light Integral", or how much light the plant is getting. From this we can compare what more light and higher temperatures do in respect to a violet plant. Please look at the rest of the slides.... although we aren't getting the audio portion of the presentation, we can really get some good information out of it. Also, note slide 67. It shows the effects of a plant when it's in proximity to a vent or other cold source.