Pleasant and Fragrant, My Favorite Flowers ~ Malle Poolu
Category: Garden Log
Coriander Seeds (dhaniyaalu)
Pequin Peppers (in the cup)
Okra (benda kaaya)
to mothers and daughters who make Mahanandi a home
Happy Mother’s Day
Garden Harvest from My Vegetable Garden
Cucumbers, Yellow Zucchini, Brinjals, Green Beans, Banana Peppers,
Tabasco and Guntur Mirchi, Peas and Okra ~ Perfumed by Gardenia Flower
Fig in Spring
This will be my third year of vegetable gardening and I am very much looking forward to working and harvesting. Now, I feel more experienced with Houston seasons and I am also putting my experience to good use. I am working as a garden consultant to two first time home gardeners. I am advising them with design layout, plant selection etc, enjoying the role very much.:)
Last year, I employed succession planting to maximize the limited space I have and the growing period. During spring I started with cool season spring crop (peas, green beans, yellow and green zucchini, cucumbers, methi). Followed by a Houston-heat loving summer crop (turia-beerakaaya, papdi lilva-chikkudu, karela-kakara, okra-benda, gongura etc).
This strategy worked. I had a steady harvest throughout the growing season, from April till the end of November. During those months, my expenses on buying vegetables from stores was less than ten dollars a week, usually it would be around thirty dollars. During the past growing season I would only buy onions, carrots and fruits from the stores and all other vegetables that had cooked were from my garden. Not only my kitchen needs were met, I was also able to share the excess vegetable harvest with friends. Succession planting is a joy and I am planning to stick with this strategy this year as well. If weather permits and I could, I would also do a third fall crop.
Here are the list of plants I planted for this growing season:
Box 1: Okra, Peanuts, Fennel Bulbs, Kohlrabi, Tomatillo, Kerala Potatoes (Thanks, Usha!)
Box 2: Tomatoes (Celebrity, Cherry Tomatoes), Cantaloupe (from last year seeds)
Box 3: Vines – Green Beans, Peas, Cucumber (Persian and Pickle), Lemon-cuke (budamkaya), Malabar Spinach (bacchali)
Box 4: Vines – Zucchini (yellow), Mexican Squash, Grapes, Papdi-liva&Valor (chikkudu), Chinese and Indian Karela, Turia (beerakaaya) (for summer)
Box 5: Aaku Kuralu – Methi, Spinach, Swiss Chard, Coriander, Purslane (payala), Amaranth (thotakura), Gongura (for summer)
Box 6: Herbs – Mint, Rosemary, Marjoram (maruvam), Lemongrass, Turmeric, Dodda Patre (Coleus Aromaticus, Karpooravalli)
Box 7: Peppers – Pequin, Guntur, Habanero, Cayenne. Bell Peppers and Banana Peppers
Box 8: Brinjal – Fairy tale, Japanese, Indian and Italian
Box 9: Tomatoes – Better boy, Brandywine, Cherokee Purple
Planning to try out something new – Tuvar and Parval
Here are the boxes in long shot:
Boxes 1, 2, 3 and 4
Boxes 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9
Fruit Trees ~ Cherry of Rio Grande, Orange, Loquat, Mandarin, Fig, Guava (looks dead right now due to last winter frost), Pomegranate
What are you planning to grow this season? Any new ideas? I would love to hear from you fellow garden enthusiasts.
The First full moon of Spring 2011. A renewal of the growing season.
Here are some photos from my garden.
Peaceful and Pleasant ~ Spring Time Holi Moon
Perfume in the Air ~ Jasmine Flowers (Chambeli)
Beautiful Buds ~ A first for my Orange (mandarin) Plant
A Rose Under the Moonlight
December Tomato Harvest
Cold front, freezing temperatures and northern winds … winter is here in Houston. Due to frost warning, I had to harvest tomatoes from my September-planted tomato plants. From 8 tomato plants, the yield was about 8 pounds of cherry tomatoes and few Brandywines. They need some time to ripen, and what I have now would be enough to prepare some comforting soopas and sambars for this coming winter.
Garden dreams – When they come true, it’s a glorious feeling.
One of my lifelong garden dreams has been growing turai at home. This summer, beautiful turai vines smiled with pretty yellow flowers and it has been turai tanmayam ever since. Total number of turai harvested so far was around 60 from four turai vines. Garden goddess is in good mood, it’s the only reason I could think of for this blessing.
Turai is such a lovable vegetable with succulent, white flesh and delicate, sweet flavor. Tender turai doesn’t take much time to cook and digests easily, nourishing the spirit. We love our turai and we have been cooking many great turai recipes to our hearts content for the past one month.
The following turai recipe is Vijay’s creation. Tasty turai, little bit tomato and some chana dal, cooked together, it was a good meal and a simple solution to overwhelmed brain with excessive turai.
Turai with Chana Dal
(for 2 or 4, for 1 or 2 meals)
3 fresh and tender turai, arm length each
1/4 cup chana dal, soaked in water for about two hours
2 semi ripe tomatoes
4 green chillies, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon, turmeric
1/2 teaspoon, salt or to taste
For cumin tadka: 1 tablespoon peanut oil,
pinch each-cumin and mustard seeds and few fresh curry leaves
Peel turai ridges. Rinse the vegetable well. Cut into bite-sized pieces.
In a heavy pan, heat peanut oil. Add and toast cumin, mustard seeds and curry leaves to fragrance.
Add the rehydrated chana dal to the skillet. Saute the dal to pale red.
Add tomato and cook to soft.
Add turai pieces. Sprinkle turmeric. Mix well. Cover and cook the turai for about five minutes or until the pieces become soft.
Stir in salt. Sprinkle a tablespoon of grated coconut if you wish. Cook another couple of minutes and turn off the heat.
Serve the turai with chana dal warm with rice, chapati or bread for a light and tasty meal.
Turai with Chana Dal ~ for Meal Today
This is a video of the beerakaaya plant from my garden. Filled with pretty, yellow flowers and long, ribbed vegetables, beautiful beerakaaya vine is a sight to behold during peak summer time.
Beerakaaya Harvest for this Week
Scarlet Rose Mallow Flower
Texas Star Hibiscus (Hibiscus Coccineus), also known as Scarlet Rose Mallow or Swamp Hibiscus, is a one of a kind, native perennial plant. Hardy in warm areas, this hibiscus is known for its maple like 5-lobed leaves and star like 5-petal blooms. The big, bright red blossoms last a day, with new flowers quickly taking their place. This hardy perennial is a butterfly and hummingbird magnet.
I have this plant in my garden since last year and I am very pleased with its low maintenance and high blooms appearance. After seeing the flowers this year, many of my friends wanted to have this plant in their garden. I shared the seeds with them. I have some more seeds for sale for those of you interested in native plant gardening.
Seeds sprout easily in soil or in containers with enough sunlight and water exposure.
Once established, the plant does not need much care or water.
Dies down in winter and comes back again in late spring from seeds.
Profuse, pretty blooms from July to October.
Scarlet Rose Mallow (Hibiscus Coccineus): 20 seeds for $4
Scarlet Rose Mallow Seeds