Ginger, rollinia, and realizations from volunteering

Our trees are just starting to show blossoms from the three inches of rain we received on January 9th. That’s a fair amount of rain for what’s usually a pretty dry January. All of January 2023 we had 0.4 inches; January 2022 was 1.7 inches. A few days ago Hubby planted in the ground nine cacao seedlings and 11 pulapulas he had planted in bags last year. Pulapulas are volunteer coffee seedlings, pulled from the ground. Grandpa added new trees by using pulapulas. They would often sprout up near rock walls, where seeds and water would tend to accumulate.

Several weeks ago I pulled up some of the edible ginger we’ve been growing. One batch (on the right in the photo below) had been growing in the ground near coffee, received from Aunty and planted a few years ago, and harvested every now and again. The other (on the left) was from “seed” (a piece of ginger) we planted in a pot during our Master Gardener class. The seed was free of bacterial wilt. The instructions we received are available on the web, “A Simplified Method of Multiplying Bacterial Wilt-Free Edible Ginger in Pots.” It’s possible to produce up to 10 pounds of ginger rhizomes per pot after nine months. I use a lot of ginger when I make chai, so I can use that much. You can also make a great ginger concentrate to add to sparkling water.

Another exotic we can report on: our rollinia. This second attempt was planted in June 2021. We picked our first fruit just a few weeks ago, and that was a little late. We got distracted with the holidays and visitors. The tree can produce more fruit if we were to hand-pollinate, but we never bothered. The fruit was good, but not great. It was over-ripe, but that wasn’t the problem. We didn’t find it quite as flavorful as cherimoya, and the texture is a bit slimy. We’ll have to taste more. We took a chance planting it before we had tasted any rollinia at all. The photo gallery illustrates most of the recent story.

Good news! I reached the requirement for annual volunteer hours for Master Gardeners. I’ve mostly been putting my time in at Amy Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden and at Sadie Seymour Botanical Gardens (which very strangely does not have a website). It has been an interesting revelation that when I repetitiously do a task in a volunteer environment with others, it often makes it easier to do a similar task at home, something I might be inclined to procrastinate about. As an example, we might up-pot 50 native plants, make cuttings from 40 plants and propagate them, or spend two hours air-layering ‘ulu trees. At home, I might have a small plant in a 4-inch pot that I need to up-pot. It takes just minutes to do, but I might put it off for months. After a garden volunteer session, I might just do the deed. Boom. Done. So easy; why did I put it off?

My other conclusion is that I need to “volunteer” at our own garden/yard/farm. I honor my volunteer commitment for a certain place and time, and I get stuff done. As to our own place … I frequently push things off. I could benefit from blocking off a chunk of time for our own plants. I felt quite penitent when I weeded prickly “sensitive plant” weeds (mimosa pudica) that had spread like crazy AND were producing numerous big clusters of seeds. We have to stay on top of things, do what we can, and accept that the work will never be done.

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