Propagating the Pothos Plant

I’ve been outside in the garden so much I feel like my indoor plants, of which I have many, have suffered. This past week I gave them all a tune-up, adding compost to the soil and cutting back dead and straggly leaves.

It’s always hard cutting back the long trailing vines of the pothos plant but mine were leggy, thin on top, and unhealthy looking. Pruning the vines encourages new growth and my cuttings would not go to waste. I propagate from them and create new plants!  I’ve been doing this for almost a decade so I’ve learned the best practices which I will share with you.

But first some background on Epipremnum Aureum. There are several hybrids but only two cultivars: golden pothos and marble queen. The houseplant is resilient and easy to care for. It grows in very low light but will thrive in indirect light. Avoid direct sun. The general rule on watering is every 1-2 weeks. It’s best to let the soil dry out before watering again. If you wait until the leaves are wilted, no problem, they’ll pop back up after a drink. The plant can tolerate a temperature range as low as 55 and as high as  90℉. Pothos is tropical and loves humidity – perfect in the bathroom or you can mist once a week.

The attractive trailers of the pothos plant are ideal for hanging baskets or a top a shelf where the long vines can cascade down. When you notice the vines getting straggly, it’s time to snip and propagate!

Step 2. The correct way to clip the vine for propagation

How to:
1. Cut the strand at the top of the plant close to the base but leaving a leaf node. The leaf node area is ¼ inches before the leaf. You should see a bump or root under or near the leaf. This is the node.

2. Starting from one end, cut ¼ inch out, from the leaf node on either side. Continue until all healthy leaves are cut down from the vine. Each one of these cuttings will root and become a mini plant.

Step 5. This is ready to be planted!

3. Fill a clear glass with water to the top. Bundle all the cutting in your hand and place them in the cup. Many cuttings will help them stay firm at the top. Make sure the end node’s are touching the water.

4. Place the glass in an area without a draft and somewhat warm. On top of a radiator cover or the refrigerator are good locations.

5. Plants receive oxygen from water so its important that you change the water in the glass every 3 or 4 days. In one week you’ll see new white roots forming. Wait until they’re an inch long before potting.

6. When transferring the mini plants keep them tightly packed for a full appearance. Keep the pot moist the first 2 weeks until the plant establishes.

The new pothos plant

The Beach 91st St. Community Garden is hosting a plant sale on Oct. 14 from 12-4pm. I’m addicted to propagating plants but have know place to keep them all so many of my plants will be for sale at the event! 60% of the proceeds will be donated to the Beach 91st St. Community Garden. I hope to see you there!

tagged in plants

Cookie Vs. Biscuit

hobnob

Hobnob v 1. to mingle, usually with the upper class of society.

But more importantly, a Hobnob is the name of a cookie. Wait… I mean a biscuit. From the UK. They’re made from rolled oats, jumbo oats and often are sided with chocolate. They’re among the most popular of British biscuits.

But why do Brits refer to cookies as “biscuits”? What’s the difference? Here in the states we put poached eggs and bacon on biscuits, we don’t dunk them in our tea as our neighbors across the pond do. US biscuits are a variety of small baked goods with a firm browned crust and a soft interior. A biscuit in the UK is classified as a small hard baked product which can be savoury or sweet. The term “cookie” typically refers to only one type of biscuit –  a chocolate chip cookie.

I’m still confused.

I bring this up because my husband has become obsessed with Hobnobs ever since his co-worker and our good friend Or Zubalsky brought the biscuits to their office. Or’s  first encounter with hobnobs was when he was visiting his friend in London. He and his wife brought a bundle back from the UK. After running out of the addictive “cookie”,  Or tracked them down at the Park Slope Food Coop.

But Matt needed his own stash so he ordered boxes in bulk from England. Shipping wasn’t cheap and it took a while to arrive. Only a month after the deliver he ran out (sigh).  It happened to be our 9 year anniversary that week and — being the amazing wife that I am — I thought it would be “brilliant” to make homemade hobnobs for my husband as a gift!  I followed the recipe so carefully. I wanted them to be authentic. Matt said they tasted more like a cookie than an English biscuit but he loved them nonetheless. The hobnob is meant to be dunked so enjoy them with your morning coffee or evening tea!

Hobnobs before adding the chocolate

Ingredients:

1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ cups old-fashioned oats
1½ teaspoons baking soda
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons whole milk
2 teaspoons honey
150g of milk chocolate

Directions: Preheat oven to 300°. Whisk flour, oats, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl to combine. Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 min. Beat in milk and honey. Turn off mixer and add dry ingredients; mixing with a rubber spatula. Spoon tablespoonfuls of dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets, pressing down lightly to flatten and space 1½” apart.  Bake the biscuits until golden brown, 25–30 min.

When cooled, melt the 150g of milk chocolate in either the microwave or in a bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water.  Be very careful the chocolate doesn’t seize (the transformation of chocolate from a fluid state to a stiff, grainy one). This of course is what happened to me. Make sure the bowl and utensils are water free, keep stirring the chocolate and keep the temperature very low.  Once the chocolate is melted, paint the tops of your hobnobs our dip and leave on a drying rack.

Recipe from bonappetit.com/recipe/homemade-hobnob-cookies

#BAGELGATE

the-Nixon-Bagel

Did Cynthia Nixon lose the primary because of #BAGELGATE?

Bagels are SO New York and that’s why the controversial bagel order of celebrity-turned-gubernatorial-candidate Cynthia Nixon caused a frenzy on social media last Sunday, days before the primary election. At Zabar’s on the Upper West Side Nixon ordered, cream cheese, lox, tomato, red onions and capers on… a cinnamon raisin bagel??  New Yorkers and food critics were outraged and distraught over the native New Yorkers bizzare bagel. New York Magazine reporter Chris Crowley called the bagel “troubling”. Stephen Colbert commented “Now, I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say this is the worst Nixon scandal in the history of politics.”

Nixon’s own opinion on the matter. “I’m stunned. This is my bagel of choice for a few decades now. It’s never been public knowledge, and I really am fascinated that people are so emotional about it.”

As we all know our choices at the polls are influenced by our social identity, party affiliation,  and policy issues. Can our votes be influenced by obsessions with TV shows (ahem, Sex In The City) or due to another candidate’s Italian heritage and the fact that he’s the Godfather to your favorite Piano Man’s child?

Or by bagel preferences? I didn’t want to chance any influence, so last thursday I intentionally voted before I headed over to Surfside Bagel (95-11 Rockaway Beach Blvd.) to taste test the Nixon bagel.

People put pineapple on pizza for god’s sake, How bad can it be? I had to know.

Shfrana Alli enjoying the Nixon bagel with her co-workers (1)

I went up to the counter and asked for the Cynthia Nixon bagel. There was a look of confusion on the employees face. I explained and she recalled her daughter mentioning the bagel, but I  was the first person to order the controversial combo from Surfside.

I asked all three employees to take a bite, only Shfrana Alli was game. The others politely said they already had breakfast and were full (but were they really repulsed by the thought of eating it?). I also asked two customers to have a taste. The results:

“I would have been willing to try the bagel if it wasn’t for the capers, I’m not a fan of them.” said customer Melissa Mcloughlin.

Yasmin Bootwala visiting Rockaway from Phoenix said she would give it a try. “I usually like savory bagels but the sweet/salty combination here is nice. I like it.”

Surfside employee Shfrana Alli’s reaction to the unorthodox bagel, “It’s sooooo good. It’s a perfect combination and I’ve tasted lot of bagels working here!”

My first reaction was bipartisan. It wasn’t delicious but it wasn’t that bad. I ended up eating half of it. If the capers were omitted the bagel would’ve tasted better. There are too many competing flavors and anyway you try to spin it, the raisin /  caper combination tastes outright strange. On the way home I had a weird aftertaste in my mouth which made me think that, realistically, I’ll never order the Nixon bagel again.

I still would vote for her in the future though.

 

tagged in bagel

Discoveries in the Garden

Nature is bizarre and fascinating. Discovering new things in my small garden world is exciting and makes me think of all that’s still undiscovered in nature.

Yellow Garden Spider

I came across two unfamiliar garden creatures this week. The first was suspended between the milkweed and a daylily stalk from my daylily plant in the front yard. It was a huge spider – about 2 inches long!
In the past four years that I’ve been manicuring the garden, I never came across a spider like this. I plugged her description in google: large yellow and black body, orange/blackish legs, white head. My visitor was a yellow garden spider (argiope aurantia). These beautiful but fierce-looking arachnids can be found throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Central America. They spin their webs in sunny areas between plants and are said to be common. My garden sounds like the ideal summer resort, I wonder why this was my first encounter?

The yellow garden spider feasts on flies, bees and other insects. They will bite people if threatened but their venum only paralyzes smaller prey. I noticed the spider because of its distinct zigzagging web, which is called a stabilimentum. It’s unknown why the garden spider creates such a unique pattern. Some scientists theorize its to alert birds, so they don’t fly into the web and destroy it.

Male garden spiders are three times smaller than the female. They pluck the female’s web to entice her. The males are no longer needed after mating so they die. The females can live a long life up to 3
years in warmer climates.

Like the spider, I’m often weaving through the tall grass and giant hyssops to manage the weeds. I’m going to think twice next time, knowing that the enormous yellow garden spider can be nestled somewhere within.

The second more bizarre garden “creature” I found this week was an elegant stinkhorn. There is nothing elegant or graceful about this fungus. It looks like a… let’s just say nature really has a sense of humor! It’s orange in color with a slimy brown tip that’s covered in smelly spores. The odor attracts flies and other insects. Their presence distributes the spores as they fly away.

elegant stinkhorns

There are 22 different types of stinkhorns and they grow in damp areas, on forest floors and under leaves. In urban settings they will pop out from under mulched planting beds in late August and early fall. This is the first year I’ve mulched the yard so it makes sense that now they have appeared.

Want to eat an elegant stinkhorn?  Give it a try. It won’t poison you (or make you take a ride on the yellow submarine) but it will taste terrible. But file that info away for the next time you’re starving in the woods.

Want a good laugh? click here.

tagged in garden, gardening, spider