Category Archives: Sustainability

Growing and cooking with poblano Mexican chili peppers

Poblano peppers

My poblano peppers have been growing in my patio garden for ~ 6 and a half  months!  This tedious process started from seeds.   After I realized that mother nature wasn’t getting the job done,  I had to step in and pollinate the plants myself.   Soon after, the plant exploded with tiny peppers,  growing incredibly fast – right in my patio container garden.

Home grown poblano peppers.  This plant is hanging off the  balcony

As always, I wanted to grow something unique,   I had never grown before.   Well looks like I finally have a winner.    The first batch of poblano peppers were  harvested  today.  This bunch  averaged about  ~ 3 inches (7.5 cm) long.   They were  deep dark green and very shinny.   My peppers were organically grown and shorter than most poblanos you might have seen in Mexican markets and grocery stores.

The dried version are called “ancho.”   They  are used in many Mexican dishes, and sauces.   I was first introduced to these peppers through a Mexican friend who roasted them on both sides, covered them in plastic, waited a few minutes, then removed the skin and seeds and last chopped them into pieces to be served with rice.   I loved them!  If you are wondering about how they taste, they are similar to bell peppers.  In fact, these peppers are in the same family.

Harvested poblano chili peppers.  Notice the intense dark green color

Poblano chillies produce a  flavor that is remarkable when they are  roasted.  Let me tell you where my home grown variety ended up.  I placed one finely cut roasted poblano chili in a pot of black beans.  The other pieces landed up in my corm bread.   Both dishes were delicious.

Cornbread with roasted poblano peppers and onions

Thee are many ways to cook poblano peppers.  Please see the links to the recipes below.  I am very tempted to stuffed these the New Orleans way.    If I do,  I will add more photographs to this post.

It is an amazing feeling to practice sustainable living.   You can do it if you try.  It only takes the desire to do it, and then the will to see it through until the end.

See article


Rare Seeds

Seeds of Change
Organically certified

Magazine devoted to heirloom seeds


Chile Relleno


Turkey Mole Poblano recipe

Turkey-Poblano Tostadas

Martha Stuart

Mole Poblano from Pati’s Mexican Table

Stuffed Poblano peppers

Martha Stewart

Another recipe, stuffed with chicken


You can modify the cornbread recipe by reducing the flower by 1/4 cup and adding more corn meal.


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Easy composting–even for apartment dwellers

Easy composting–even for apartment dwellers

At one time I thought that living in an apartment would greatly limit my composting and growing capacity.  I now have enough decomposed kitchen waste mixed in soil to start an entirely new garden.    You might think, “how can do this if I live in an apartment.”  Believe me, you can.

Let me tell you my friends, I have not purchased one single bag of soil since I first started composting.   This equates to nearly 3 years of composting, recycling and growing flowers, plants and vegetables and two fruit trees in my patio garden without needing to spend an enormous amount of money on bags of soil.

I have made composting a part of my lifestyle and you can also.  If you are new to composting, it is advisable to place a compost container in your kitchen near your sink.    You will never forget to save your onion, orange and lemon peels, your apple skins, lettuces leaves, coffee grinds and tea leaves (and tea bags) if  a compost container  is located in a visible area where you might normally dispose your waste.

Once my kitchen compost container is full, I dig a hole in my outdoor compost bin, pour the compost waste,  and then cover it with soil.  Sometimes I pour the liquid right in the soil of plants instead of pouring all of the contents in the compost container.  This allows my plants to feed from organic waste–and they love it.

As soon as the compost is planted, Black soldier flies’ maggots get to work to break down the solid waste.  Do not fret, because they are actually beneficial.  They help speed up the decomposing process.  These are not regular house flies.  House flies will not  lay larvae unless they have easy access to stinky-rotten-waste.  Don’t let this happen!  You do not want fly maggots to infiltrate your garden.   Burying your compost is advantageous because the soil will absorb any liquids, adding nutrients to your mix, when it is covered,  potential odors will be eliminated.  You will need to have holes for aeration.   Last but not least, always keep dry soil nearby to cover your newly placed compost waste.

Notice the richness of the added soil compared to the soil already in the container. Fresh compost materials were also added to this pot. The direct decomposing will add nutrients to the Pomegranate tree.

You will not believe how rich your soil will be once the cycle has finished.  It will be very rich, dark any earthy.  Earth worms and night crawlers will flourish.  There is a sweetness to this soil .
Your friends who are interested in starting an organic garden will gladly appreciate  a huge bag of rich black soil made from your compost project.   If you really want to make this gift special and ready for planting, try filling a rice bags (or coffee bag) with compost and try adding layers of rocks.

These bags can be used to grow food in tight spaces.  Please see this video for step by step directions:

See the Youtube video listed about the “Phytopod Container Garden”

Composting is the way to go if you are a garden lover, or environmentally conscientious.  There are many benefits, and you will never have to purchase soil again for your small garden.


Extra info:
Rice bag – How to

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Posted by on October 13, 2012 in Gardening, nature and gardens, Sustainability


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