Garden Log ~ March, 2011

Fig Plant ~ Spring 2011
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

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

Garden Log: April, 2010 ~ The Second Year
Garden Log: March, 2009 ~ The Beginning

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What are you planning to grow this season? Any new ideas? I would love to hear from you fellow garden enthusiasts.


55 Responses to “Garden Log ~ March, 2011”

  1. harini-jaya says:

    I am sure I will do my bit this summer .. need lot of inputs on gardening..wish us good luck!!

  2. Sumathi says:

    you have a very lovely lovely garden indira.You are one of the inspiration for me to do gardening. I live in NJ and just beginning to garden.Planning to do a full fledged one next year.Will post you the updates.


  3. First of all, you have a very nice big yard! Everything looks nice and organized. Also the raised beds look great. What are their dimensions? What kind of wood have you used? Lastly, where do you get the seeds for some of the indian veggies – gangura, papdi-lilva, tuvar etc.,

  4. Wooooooow. Just LOvely. I really would love to see more pics of your garden. thats an awesome job you’r doing. All the best!

  5. Katherine says:

    Loquat is for cough and lung in Chinese medicine. Sometimes i would take the Ninjiom Pei Pa Koa which is an extract of loquat when got sore throat.

    You can access info online @

  6. Abhilasha says:

    Lovely garden !

    Will definitely look forward to you as a garden consultant when I plan for one πŸ™‚

  7. Aruna says:

    Indira, Nice to see all garden pics. I just sowed Thotakura, Gongura, Karela, Okra, Spinach, and Sorakaya (Aanapakaya). Hope they’d grow to the fullest and give some output…

  8. Usha says:

    Lovely Indira. Your garden is sooo full of life. Everything is growing nicely. Fig looks gorgeous and I hope your guava comes back to life. I think you have your work cut-out. I’ll be one of those who will be needing your services for the garden-planning .:-)

  9. Reshma says:

    I love your garden logs along with the home as a hobby posts. They are simply straight to the heart. πŸ™‚ Not to mention, I love your unconventional healthy mix and match veg pairings.

    Regd. this about drumstick n seetha palam (custard apple)? Drumstick, I think we can plant from the seeds of ‘mudhuru’ drumsticks that we sometimes find in Indian stores. Seetha palam..may be seeds are available online. I live in an apt so haven’t tried these two. But they used to grow without any effort, back home.

  10. Anu says:

    Hey Indira,
    Thanks for the garden update. If you call your space limited, I don’t know what I should call mine! I have just 3 beds. I planted cucumber (indian variety), bhindi, green beans, cherry tomatoes, roma tomatoes, bell peppers, doodhi and tuvar. As you know, I also get veggies from a CSA farm. They usually have an abundance of zucchini so, I didn’t plant it this year. I’m also planning on growing green chillies and some herbs like basil and rosemary in containers. I like the idea of succession planting. I am planning on planting cover crops this fall. Reading a great book called “Talking dirt” and the author recommends this. Sorry for the long comment!

  11. Cilantro says:

    You have a mini grocery store in your yard, hope to see recipes from your homegrown veggies.

  12. Lakshmi says:

    Just beautiful! I live in NJ and have a big yard too. Im planning to atleast 10% gardening of yours. My kids are little grown up if they are playing by themselves I can do some gardening. But NJ weather is so fickle I dont know when to start. Planning to grow curry leaves, green chillies, tomatoes, peppers..just simple ones in pots.

  13. Gayatri says:

    We grow mint, green chillies, gongura, peas, beans, ponnaganti, lettuce, spinach, methi, cilantro and purslane.

    Adding this year: pumpkins, cantaloupe, okra, and dosakai.

    We are making additional 2 raised beds this year.
    We rotate crops.

    Flowers Dandelions, roses, mums, pansies, Hibiscus.

    We do FREE gardening cosulting too for friends.

  14. Aarthi says:

    You are so inspiring Indira!
    Pics are so pleasing to eyes as usual πŸ™‚

  15. Madhavi says:

    Dear Indira garu,
    I watch your blog daily and a big fan of your blog,cooking,gardening etc…
    I live in Dallas and started my quest this year and got my raised beds set up…Where do you find Purslane (ganga bayala kura – antamu memu) and Malabar spinach here?

    Thank you and happy blogging/gardening!!!

  16. bhavani says:

    nice going indira I love your garden blog I live in houston also I have not seen kerala potatoesin both honkong mall at bellair have tried as well as clearlake. I would love to grow them in my garden too.Looking forward to your garden blog and updates Pl do frequently

  17. Kay says:

    Ahaa! It’s the gardening season again! πŸ™‚ My new garden area is still filled with snow, but when it clears up and the gardening season begins in May, I’ll be joining you in this fun as well!

  18. Kay says:

    Ugh… I clicked enter too soon.

    Beautiful!! Your garden is so neat and tidy. πŸ™‚

    And for greens, I highly recommend adding kale. All 8 seeds that I sowed, grew into lush green plants and kept giving until the end of season. I remember seeing this in my neighboring community gardening plot – that a kale from previous year grew so lush!! and well, kale is high nutrient dense. So it is my this year list.

    I also saw a few of my neighbors (from the community garden) that put wood chips or cute stones for about a feet, around their raised beds to avoid weeds and it worked!

  19. Soumya says:

    Why dont you try Pulla Bacchali(aka chukka kura)? It is my favorite vegetable:-)

  20. preeti says:

    Entha bagunnayo! Nijamga entha bagundo ee planning and planting.

    God, I wish I could see you and your plants in person! In all honesty, I love the chance to meet you someday somehow! But I live so far in SC.

  21. bhavani says:

    hi Indira
    Isaw in your previous post about flowers Itoo have chambli plant still sitting in the potI have one question do they do well in full sun There is no planting instruction with the plant Pl reply

  22. Novice gardener says:

    Hi Indira, you are awesome. I have been following your blog without fail every few weeks. Last year, I really digged your gardening posts but now that we own a backyard, I cannot wait to follow in your foot steps. We have planted variety of tomatoes, capsicum, basil (italian and south american), capsicum, okra and green beans. I do have some questions though. We live in north Austin and I was wondering if I can still plant turia-beerakaaya, papdi lilva-chikkudu, karela-kakara? Which is a good place to get the seeds/seedlings? Thanks for your blog.

  23. vedha says:

    Namaskara Indira garu.
    First of all congrats for all your good work.I admire lot of your work, like gardening, eating fresh and healthy food. We live in houston. Me and myhusband both are interested in nature and eating simple, homemade healthy foods.This is our fourth year gardening. we do fall and winter crops too.Had winter greens(swiss chard,mustard greens,collards),turnips,cabbage and cauliflower from last winter.Now we have constructed 4 extra raised beds for this year (planning not to buy anything from outside).
    We have started okra(indian&american),brinjal(indian,japanese andfairy tale),cantaloupe, bitterguard(indian),snake gourd, beerakai, summer squash, zucchini, sweet peas, bell pepper, jalapeno, indian beans(avarakai,red beans), Indian chillie, watermelon, corn, cluster beans, ginger, strawberry, tomatoes(celebrity,early girl,betterboy)mint, basil, tulsi, swisschard, and lot of indian spinach .

    we do have fruit trees like sustuma orange,key lime,orange,apple,fig,guva(they are dead for winter and coming back)had good fruits one year before.
    It has been while since i checked ur blog (mine too). Now i got inspired by seeing a fellow gardeners update.Will send you my blogs link once updated .

    Thanks for reading my message with patience…waiting for more updates about your garden.


  24. Novice gardener says:

    Also is there a way for me to get all your garden posts in one place? Thanks

  25. Jaya says:

    lucky you! i hope to do that someday.

  26. Vidya says:

    Love your blog. You are so meticulous! I love gardening too. Although I get scant sunlight(south facing balcony) and have low temperatures prevailing here(NJ), my container garden has sprouted seeds . I used my car as a green house πŸ™‚

  27. prathima says:

    Hi Indira, Lucky You to have nice warm Houston weather and a big yard for gardening! Lucky us to have a great inspiration like you on garden and cooking! Please keep the garden log posted regularly(on flowers too). I love gardening too and I feel refreshed by planning and growing my plants. This season, I’m planning to grow tomato plants, gongura, tindora, green pepper, chikkudu, hot chilli, spinach, chukkakura and thotakura in my small backyard. What are those lovely red flowers beneath the fruit trees?

  28. Hi Indira
    What a pleasure the garden must give you, I have a very very small space in the East Coast and it has been bringing me smiles since my daphne had its first bud a month ago. Do you plant in the same soil from last year in your raised beds or do you amend the soil? Do yo practise plant rotation? Would love to hear your words of wisdom on these questions. Thanks.

  29. Aparna says:

    Hi Indira,

    Absolute fan of your site. Following it for ages.
    Can you please tell me where you got the Marjoram from?


  30. Gayatri says:

    To Madhavi,

    I got Purslane from Lowe’s.

  31. jyothi says:

    Hi Indira,

    Very well planned garden.Really nice.

    We live in NW Houston.This is our 6th year gardenining in Houston.We do raised bed gardening too as it is ideal for Houston soil conditions.

    This year we planted Tomatoes,chillies(cayane peppers and Guntur light green hot chillies),Brinjals(round gutti vankaya and long slender ones),okra,donda,dosa,kakara,chikkudu(thanks to my Aunt…This variety gives abundant crop even during hot june weather.Can you believe its ready to flower already.I can see buds now),gongura,thotakoora,pulla bachali,pala koora,key lime ,mulaga and Andhra bananas(koora arati and karpoora arati).I got babana plants from India.We also planted sugar cane and peanuts.

  32. jyothi says:

    What is kale?Is it related to any greens we have in India?Just wanted to know….

  33. sg says:

    To Indira, Jyothi & Others,
    Where do you get chikkudu, dosakai and potlakaya (snake gourd) seeds from?

  34. jyothi says:


    I got chikkudu seeds from my Aunt who lives here in Houston area.All other seeds I brought them from India.You can apply for permit to bring seeds.Thats how I got my babana plants.

  35. Narayan says:

    Oh, Indira. It is in moments like this that i really envy you! In a space starved Mumbai, I can do precious little – so if i tried to grow chillies and tomatoes, the pigeons spoilt the party by uprooting all saplings. Do keep updating us on the progress of the harvests. And now i know why the US economy is in the shape that it is… Some lady in Houston is buying only 1/3 of what she used to earlier… !!

  36. bhavani says:

    hello jyothi
    How and where u apply for permit My husband always throws seed and tells me its a hassel to deal with the agriculture dept inside the airport please let me know
    thanks in advance (i live in east tx)

  37. Vineela says:

    Hi Indira,
    You have such a beautiful garden. I wish I could do that.Whoever that is is so lucky to get your guidance
    for gardening.

  38. Anu says:

    Beautiful garden! I wish I could stroll through it!

  39. Sudha says:

    Hi Indira,
    Just like you I have a very green thumb so when we bought our house i was very enthu and planted lots of veggies in my backyard with no fence only to realize there are lots of rabbits around that enjpoyed a feast on my saplings leaving me heartbroken and nipping my greem thumb off. I wish oneday i will have a big backyard just like yours in a warm weather Someday!! Sigh!. Till then i will live on these pictures, so please do keep posting lots of garden pictures for people like me please.

  40. Mahes says:

    Lovely! Now that it’s warming up in our area, it’s time for planting.

  41. Alfi says:

    Does the Guntur chilli or its other name G4 have any other local names?

  42. What a fabulous veggie garden and how well organized it looks!! Congrats

  43. Manasa says:

    Hi Indira,

    As many of your site visitors commented, your garden is very beautiful. I have a question about the raised beds made out of lumber/wood. Do they get rotten over time? Is resin or plastic material better for making a raised bed? Thanks!

  44. sreevalli says:

    Hi Indira,
    I am a silent reader but i can’t stop now.Because it’s so awesome.You should do another blog dedicatde to gardening.

  45. Sree says:

    Hi Indira,

    I have loads of seeds for drumstick, Indian tomatoes, white eggplant and also most gourds…email me if you need any.
    Everyone likes the karela we grow..even my 5 year old son! πŸ™‚

  46. Tharini says:


    I am new gardener, just started, if anyone has excess seeds, banana plants let me know.


  47. Shubha says:


    It is amazing & inspiring to see passion in whatever you do!. I have a question – where do you find doddapatre seeds/plants

  48. Indira says:

    Thank you all for sharing your gardening experiences. I greatly appreciate all your comments!

    About the questions – there are so many, and it feels overwhelming to reply. I hope you would be able to find answers in my previous garden log posts or on Google search. I wish you all the best and great success with your garden efforts.

  49. Vijay Khanna says:

    Hi Indira and all gardeners in the blog,
    I have recently started growing BM. I have planted around six plants and two are really well growing on the trellis, it has many branches and the vines are covered with flowers. I can see a few pods about one to two cms but they turn yellow and are not growing bigger. I live in Sydney and right now the weather is quite hot and right for growing BM. Can anyone advise what may be wrong, why the fruit is not maturing?
    Thanks and regards,

  50. sumathy says:

    WOW, Indira, Lovely pictures and lovely garden. I have become a great fan of yours in just 5 mins. Reading your old posts one by one. Looks like I will have a great learning and you have a treasure of information. Your writing is really good. Keep the good work on. Garden Consultant? Wow, that is the job I am really looking forward to do:-), so far I did not have that profile name in my mind, got one now:-). Do write something about that experience too. Keep posting. Love your posts…Sumathy

  51. purnima says:

    dear Indira your garden is awsome. I am also inspired to grow some things in my house. I would like to start with Tulasi.Could you suggest when is the good time to plant tulasi in switzerland?Can I still plant tulasi?

  52. uma says:

    Hi, where can I get the Turia seeds from? Can you please post some if you have. Thank you.

  53. Priya says:

    Hello Indira

    I recently moved from bitter cold Maine to Houston and finally have a yard I am very much interested in growing asian vegetables , also new to gardening in US , where can we get curry leaf plant other seeds here, also does curry leaf plant survive the frost here . Your back yard garden aspires me create some good vegetable garden , I really dont know where to start, Any tips is much appreciated

  54. Sujatha says:

    Beautiful garden! My backyard just got ready for growing garden. I want to plant
    Indian vegetables. I am going to India this summer. Can somebody please tell me how to get seeds from India? I heard seeds are prohibited, how do I apply and get permission to get seeds from India to USA?

    Please, please…., please share info if anybody got seeds from india without problem

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