By Michelle Domocol
April is the perfect time to add dessert plants to your garden. These dessert plants are excellent flavors for ice creams, delicious smoothies, healing teas, favorite soups or other comforting dishes (Photo 2 and 3).
For April, I suggest a dessert garden planted with acerola, makrut lime, gumamela (hibiscus), luy-a (ginger), and turmeric. (Photo 1)
If you’d like to add some April savory ingredients, plant sayote, atsal (bell pepper), chili pepper, or repolyo (cabbage).
If you need more garden inspiration for April check out these past articles and my Cebu planting calendar:
Want some exciting dessert recipe ideas? Go to our Cookbook Store. We feature recipes for: Marang Acerola Ice Cream, Gingered Avocado Ice Cream Gingered, Pili Pineapple Ice Cream, Acerola Aloe Custard and sweet smoothies (Photo 2 and 3).
April Planting Advice
Here are some cultivation tips for turmeric, ginger, makrut lime, and acerola.
Acerola and Limes. Acerola and makrut limes are beautiful fruit shrubs that bloom almost year paths. They are both perfect in containers or planted directly well-draining, composted soil. They thrive in full sun exposure.
To produce more fruit, we like to prune the limes and acerolas so they remain short. Ideally, they stay 3 or 4 feet tall with lateral branches. Abundant fruit harvest on on the lower branches are easier to pick.
When I prune, I remove some upward growth tips near the top of the main stem. This ensures lower branches grow outward and horizontally. Pruning also trains the buds, flowers and fruit to grow on the lower portions of the shrub.
Ginger and Turmeric. These versatile gems thrive in partial sun exposure. The garden site should be well-draining, composted, and protected from strong winds. In the farm, they are shaded by fruit shrubs or fruit trees.
I like to get my ginger and turmeric root sections from other gardeners, official seed suppliers, or plant nurseries. Sometimes, if you use kitchen leftovers or roots from a grocery store, they may be sprayed with growth inhibitors. This affects its root growth when transfered to your garden.
If you still want to experiment with the common grocery store ginger or turmeric, soak them in water overnight. This may remove the commercial spray residue.
Ensure your ginger and turmeric roots are plump and healthy. Don’t plant any shriveled root sections. The root section should have well-developed buds (aka “eyes”). If you cut the ginger root section into smaller pieces, make sure the sliced area is calloused. To callous, dry the section for at least 24 hours. When I plant the root sections, the growth buds (or “eyes”) are pointed upwards. I cover them with 1-3 inches of soil.
Water well after planting. Regularly monitor your soil. The soil should be absorbing the water. Ginger and Turmeric roots rot easily in waterlogged, soggy soil with stagnant pools of moisture.