#12 Practical Matters for Physically Challenged Gardeners

SE/Gulf Coast Plains, AL(Zone 8b)

ROFL. I just turned Nadiís brain upside-down to see what will fall out. I posed a question Jacqueline Keeler asked in her classic Thanksgiving article on why she, as a Native American, celebrates Thanksgiving. Many don't because they feel it commemorates the beginning of a disaster for Native Americans.
At one point in the article, Keeler ponders on what the Europeans ate before they came to this country. What did Italians put on their spaghetti before they had tomatoes? We say ĎIrish potatoĒ as though potatoes were indigenous to Ireland and not an adopted plant. (It might have been better for the Irish living in 1845 if they hadnít so completely embraced the potato.) This project appears to be expanding young minds as well as culinary talents. (Not to mention, stretching mental muscles I haven't used in a while.)I guess I can give up an hour or so of football. :-) k*

Ozone, AR(Zone 6a)

Kay, You have made the ultimate sacrifice for Thanksgiving. LOL
My guess for the Italians spegetti before tomatoes would be lots of garlic.I think it kinda flowed over to the french too.I always have some garlic around.
Tomatoes are truely wonderful. I think it was once thought that they were poisonous.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

The other parts of the plant were poisonous, why not the tomato itself? Kids think they're poisonous unless sterilized!!!

Kay, which article by who are you talking about? I've long wanted to an article about where we would be w/out the Columbian exchange.

(Debra) Garland, TX

http://www.alternet.org/story/4391/

SE/Gulf Coast Plains, AL(Zone 8b)

Thanks, Debra. I think I first saw the article in the Pure Water Gazette.

I remember when I was very small and my father had a craving for the Potato Soup of his own childhood. My mother made a disgusted face when he described what he wanted her to cook. Potatoes were on the table almost every day, but making a soup of them that included milk and celery was foreign to her. By the time I was a teenager, Sunday evening had become synonymous with Potato soup and being able to eat in the living room while watching ďLassieĒ on a B&W television. (I donít know that my mother ever became accustomed to potato soup, but it was an easy way to feed a large family.) The television is an LCD flat-screen with HD now, but my GCs take it for granted there will be Potato Soup Sunday evening and they can eat it in front of the television. Strange how food traditions get started and how quickly they become traditions.
Vickie, our native prickly pear is very small compared to what I remember from Texas and OK. The pads arenít much larger than a hand. The ones I remember seeing in the produce department of grocery stores in TX were huge in comparison. The ďpearsĒ of our native species are smaller and have more seeds, as well. No doubt, Nadi will try domesticating them also to see if they will grow larger when tended. Thatís find with me as long as I donít have to weed them. ;-) I donít remember eating the cactus pads except as a novelty on camping trips, but my grandmother made syrup from prickly pears and maypop fruits that was delicious. Iím hoping Nadi can rediscover that recipe. k*

Midland City, AL

I may do more than just domesticate our handful of native Opuntia. Iím considering turning one of each type into a houseplant where it will be safe from both cactus moths and the people who want to destroy them to keep cactus moths from spreading. Our native prickly pears are being systematically eradicated to prevent the spread of cactus moths. I guess I understand the reasoning, but it bites! We only have 5 or 6 types of native Opuntia whereas the SW has 80 vulnerable species. Our prickly pears arenít major players in the lives of animals or humans. In Mexico and the SW US, they are major parts of the ecosystem and they rank third as subsistence food among Mexicoís rural poor. They are hoping the Louisiana swamps will be a barrier to the cactus mothís westward spread. The moths have so far made about 75 miles a year in their westward trek, but if they get to prickly pear rich Texas the spread will probably be faster. What ticks me off is the moths were brought intentionally from South America to the Islands to avoid having to do manual removal of prickly pears there. That was back in the 60ís, I think.) What no one seems to have anticipated is that they would make the short hop to Florida. The Mexican government is proactive in helping to ďsterilizeĒ a boundary in Louisiana and I canít blame them for wanting to protect a major food source and a local agri-business, but, as I said, it still bites because it never should have happened in the first place. Okay, off my soapbox. ~Nadine, Prickly Guardian of the Eastern Prickly Pear~

SE/Gulf Coast Plains, AL(Zone 8b)

Ahhhhh, the passion of youth. Lol. Prickly pears in the house? I donít think so!!! Iím fairly sure Opuntia humifusa, the common eastern prickly pear, can hold its own against the cactus moth. It is only endangered in its northern range which is all the way into southern Massachusetts and into some parts of Canada. (The moth is making its way up the Atlantic coast also.) Individual stands will be taken out by both the moths and those battling the mothíS spread, but, as a species, I donít have much fear for the common prickly pear. More geographically limited species like Opuntia corallcola (the semaphore cactus) is a different matter. If she can get her hands on a semaphore prickly pear, she is welcome to bring it inside. :-)
Guard that yucca, Vickie. Curly yucca fries and venison steak are my favorite dishes from the pre-Columbian table. There will be pumpkin cheesecake on the drummerís table. My favorite Thanksgiving dessert. k*

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

There was cooked cactus at our hotel in Cancun -- tasted like canned green beans. Was that prickly pear? And what an interesting idea for an article--is it seasonal, or is it a year-round problem?

Midland City, AL


Sounds like napalitos to me, Carrie. My first MIL grew up in Mexico and used them often in her cooking. That is where I learned the easy way to get off the thorns and prickles.
I got a laugh one day watching a turtle picking and eating the fruit off our little eastern variety. Yeah, I know. Iím easily amused. But, I never knew turtles had such long necks. Prickly pears here may not play the role in nature they do out west, but the animals still use them.
If you want to check it for potential article fodder, I think the easiest way to get an overview of the cactus moth problem is the Wikipedia entry on the critter. Its official name is Cactoblastis cactorum. Wiki goes into the North American invasion. I think it is an ongoing problem in the south. Kay says the cold will protect the eastern prickly pear in more northern places. Hope she is right. I believe that is just her opinion though. (Jim)

Ozone, AR(Zone 6a)

Jim, Well I'm glad to hear you are a nature observer.I thinK it's sad how unobservent most of us are anymore.Course have to admit a good deal of my observing is just watching for snakes. UGH!!!!
Will keep an eye out for the cactus moth.
The rain has put a stop to my cooking out.Guess I'll have to concentrate on baking goodies.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Thanks, Jim!

Ozone, AR(Zone 6a)

I've been cleaning my kitchen, so I CAN cook. Should never have taken microbiology. LOL Also the living room so i can put my tree up. If it sounds like I'm a very clean person I definately am not.I just let things go and suddenly wake up and realize I'm in a pigpen.
Whats everyone doing for Thanksgiving? We'll go to DD,s and have turkey and venison and the trimmings. I wish we could go get my Texas DD. But Money is just too tight. We're also having dinner for group. I am decorating the tables. Love doing stuff like that.
Am also crocheting a lot. Which is good cause that is a sitting down job.

(Debra) Garland, TX

Three of my sister's four grandkids are going to be gone. She is thinking about coming to my house with the 15 year old (who wants to be a chef). We will make Cornish hens and such. Or she might decide to just stay home and play computer bingo. :-) I have yard work if weather is good.

SE/Gulf Coast Plains, AL(Zone 8b)

Open house on Thanksgiving. Nadine has been trying out potential dishes on Jim and I. We have been eating very well, but I'm certainly glad Jim hasn't replaced the batteries in the bathroom scale yet. :-) Today it was a different verson of Pink Fluffy Salad that used cottage cheese instead of the sweetened condensed milk we usually use. Jim and I loved it, but we have a cottage cheese hater among the guest. I think Nadi is setting her sites a bit high if she thinks she can please everyone with every dish, but she is sure trying. What kind of goodies have you been making, Vickie? I'm looking forward to the quieter Christmas Day dinner. When we don't have kids around, everything is make ahead and it is a total sofa spud day.
I started the new thread Nadine has been so occupied. Hope I got it right. k*
http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1230532/

Post a Reply to this Thread

Please or sign up to post.
BACK TO TOP