Tuesday, March 13, 2012
ROOTING AND STEWING
Noticing that there were little green buds starting to form on the rose canes, I decided to root some of them. I have had so-so success with this in the past, but since it costs nothing, it worth a try. Here's how:
Cut rose stems about eight inches long. The bottom should be cut at a fourty-five degree angle. Remove all the foliage from the cutting. Now you can dip in rooting hormone, but I use an old-fashioned method of making a tea from willow branches that I will explain after these directions. place the cuttings in a pot with good potting soil or directly in the garden in a place that doesn't get the direct sun and stays cool. Water well. Place a bell jar or if you don't have one, a quart sized mason jar will do, over the cuttings. In a bout a month roots will start to form and hopefully you will begin to see green beginning to sprout from the cuttings.
So there you have it. What have you got to lose? I read somewhere that a woman took the roses from her wedding bouquet and did this. Wouldn't that be nice? Well, here's how to make a "tea" from willow branches that helps plants root.
Willow Tea for Rooting
Gather up some thin pliable willow branches about the thickness of your little finger. Cut into small pieces about an inch long. You'll need about two cups to make a half gallon of tea. Just as tea, steep the cut up pieces in boiling water. Allow to steep overnight. Refrigerate. Will last for a few months. But it's easy to just make up a batch whenever needed, which ensure it's effectiveness.
Now that you have your rooting tea you can either steep the cutting directly in the tea or do as I do and use it to water the cuttings. If I'm gathering cuttings from afar, I'll take along a quart size mason jar of this and keep the cutting in it.
The other thing I wanted to share with you today, is my recipe for good olde Irish Stew as we are nearing St. Patrick's Day. It's so much fun to plan something special for these little holidays. Helps to make the time pass until we can get busy outside in earnest. This is a recipe I clipped from a magazine decades ago, supposedly it comes from a genuine Irish Inn:
Three Chimneys Inn Irish Stew
2 lbs. lamb, cubed
1 C. celery, diced
1 C. carrots diced
1 C. parsnips, diced
1 C. onions, diced
1/2 C. turnips, diced
1/2 C. potatoes, diced
1 C. tomato juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 C. brown sugar
rosemary to taste
thyme, to taste
salt and pepper , to taste
coriander, to taste (I skip it)
cardamon, to taste (only if I have some left over from Christmas baking)
1/4 C. oil
Lightly brown lamb in oil. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer over low heat until meat is tender and the vegetables are soft. For me that's about two hours, but the beauty of a stew is that there's no such thing as cooking it too long. Just add water if the liquids evaporate. Or you could experiment using the crockpot for it. It's better to err on cooking too long than not stewing long enough. No one wants to bite into tough meat!
I used to make this stew after Easter, when costly lamb would be in the reduced for quick sale at the grocery store.