Saturday, July 19, 2014

Give a Flying Fig!

I'm considering a multi-trunk fig tree for my front yard whenever it gets re-landscaped; so I'm trying to learn the pros and cons of these trees.  Your fig comments are welcomed.  Fig trees grow easily here in Zone 8-9 of the southern San Joaquin Valley of California; but some people don't use the fruit.  In fact, when I made a fresh fig cake to take to work this week people were hesitant to sample the goody.  Once word spread, there were many converts.

A co-worker had brought the fig bounty that no one touched.  The entire treasure was brought to my kitchen for experimentation. It's a fig laced cake with fig jam as the topping. Next time, whipped cream will top off this desert.

1/4 c butter - softened
1 c white sugar
1 egg
2 c flour
1/2 t salt
2 t baking powder
1c evaporated milk
1 t vanilla
1/4 t lemon extract
1 c fresh figs, chopped.

1.  Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 13X9 pan. (Adjust for round pans or muffins.)
2.  In a medium bowl, sift together flour, salt, & baking powder.  Set aside.
3.  In a large mixing bowl, cream butter with sugar.  Add egg and beat well.  Add flour mixture alternately with the evaporated milk. Fold in vanilla & lemon extract along with chopped figs.
4.  Bake until toothpick comes out clean from the center. (About 30 minutes.)
5.  In a saucepan combine the ingredients for the jam.  Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened.  Spread over cake or between layers.

1/4 c brown sugar, packed
1/4 c water
2 c fresh figs, chopped
1 T lemon juice

This makes one batch. I doubled everything because it's delicious.  You can use the extra on toast or as a glaze for barbecued birds.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Solar Power Part II

Ajax Approved
Bed #2 was prepared for solarization today.  A deep soaking and 2 sacks of chicken fertilizer mixed into the soil before being covered.  The manure is supposed to release volatile compounds in the soil that kill pests and help stimulate the growth of beneficial soil organisms.  Note:  I believe the volatile compounds are released as soon as the bag is opened.  Pee EWE!  The 4ml plastic sheeting will be removed around September 6.  Bed #1 will be planted in lettuce for the winter.  Bed #2 will be the cabbage patch with broccoli and cauliflower.

Flying Saucer Morning Glories have been planted at the head of Bed #2.  Thyme and oregano frame the rest of the bed.  The morning glories should grow up to 15' and flower through the fall.  Pollinators should enjoy these purple and white flowers.  The plants enjoy dry heat.  Congratulations.  This is the place.
Ajax - December 2010
Bed #2 was last a successful cabbage patch in 2010.  Fingers crossed.  Let's hope for a healthy bed to be planted at the end of summer.  The soil solarization study by the University of California at Davis is fairly interesting and helpful if your garden is haunted with root knot nematodes.