Archive for August, 2008

30
Aug
08

Farewell Hana-chan

During my one-month sojourn in the US, I lost my dog Hana-chan. When my wife wrote to me that Hana-chan had passed away peacefully, and was probably happily running around somewhere, I felt at first a heavy clamp on my heart and later a sense of relief because Hana-chan had become too old to stand on her feet and could not even get her jaws working to eat food. My wife had cared for her since the last six months, sleeping next to her, waking up in the middle of the night and tending to her, and feeding her day and night. Thanks to my wife, Hana-chan had a companion all the time till the end. Naturally, Hana-chan has found a permanent place in my heart as well as in my garden. Here’s a photo I took of her before I left for the US.

Hana-chan in peaceful slumber

 

Next, during my absence in Japan, my wife did water the plants and did the basic maintenance work. She reported that she had harvested plenty of tomatoes, green pepper and okura in my absence. Here are some photos of the harvest that she took with large and small tomatoes, okura and bell peppers:

Harvested end July

Eggplant

Here’s a snap of eggplants growing nice and healthy! This photo too was taken end July by my wife.

 

Tomatoes

Here’s one of juicy tomatoes! I love picking them, slicing them and eating them immediately with a dash of lemon juice and some fresh sea salt!

 

Veggie patch end July

This is how my veggie patch looked end July.

 

Now here are some more photos of daily harvests in mid August:

Daily harvest-01

 

And here’s another around the same time:

Daily harvest -02

 

I’m very pleased with the turn-out of Okura – they are delicious and have grown rapidly. The flower too is beautiful – here are some photos:

 

Okura flower 

Okuras in plenty 

Finally, I leave you with some beautiful flowers in bloom in my garden.

 

Flowers in full bloom

Have a great day and happy gardening!

26
Aug
08

From my niece’s garden in North Carolina, US

Like me, my niece in North Carolina, USA, is an avid amateur gardener; but unlike me, she has an enormous garden space waiting to be exploited! I was away for a month in the US, spending a major part of my stay at my niece’s place and am back in Japan now. The photos here are all from my niece’s garden; she has planted a wide assortment of vegetables and fruits.

During my visit to the US, I visited some nurseries in California and was astonished at the variety of fruit trees that were available. I planted some vegetables and a pomegranate tree in a small amount of space in a friend’s garden in Temecula; these included tomatoes, chilies (Cayenne), cucumber, bell pepper. I understand that tomatoes and bell pepper are ready for harvest. I sincerely hope that he takes to gardening as avidly as I have. 🙂

I also had the pleasure of devouring lots of blueberries and raspberries freshly picked from my niece’s garden, and lots of peaches sent by a friendly neighbor.  Here are the photos:

Blueberry Bush

This is one of the three blueberry trees covered by nets to prevent birds from getting at them.  Together they yielded nearly a pound of blueberries everyday – I think I got my share of antioxidants during my stay at my niece’s place!

Bluberries - close-up

Here is a close-up view of the blueberries in all their glory!

US Trip 045

The raspberries were good too,  but the insects generally had a go at them first. I would rather not use pesticides and let the insects eat them, and would prefer that my niece leave them as they are. According to a report, peaches take the pesticide prize, but 11 other fruits and vegetables are close behind to make up the dirty dozen cited by the Environmental Working Group. According to the EVG Pesticides in Produce issued in 2003, peaches, apples, bell peppers, celery, cherries, imported grapes, nectarines, pears, potatoes, red raspberries, spinach, and strawberries are the leading pesticide-laden produce items.

 

Yard-long beans and figs

Here is a densely-planted yard-long beans bush and next to it a fig tree that I think I planted when I visited her place two years ago.

 

Flower of the yard-long bean 

Here is the beautiful flower of the yard-long bean. Flowers of vegetables are beautiful in their own right and generally tend to be ignored! I love taking close-ups of flowers from which veggies are born.

 

Honeydew melon

Here is a honeydew melon that will hopefully grow bigger and be very sweet!

 

Bitter gourd

Some bitter gourds on climbers

Ridged gourd

Ridged gourd or also called angled loofah; has about 10 ridges that are generally removed before eating. This is a common vegetable in the Indian cuisine called “hirekai” in Kannada (the language spoken by people in the state of Karanataka, South India) and also known as torai or turai in Hindi. It is a mild flavored gourd.

Flower of hyacinth beans

Flowers of hyacinth beans (called “avrekai” in South India).  Also called Indian Bean and Egyptian bean. According to Wikipedia, it is a traditional food plant in Africa, and this little-known vegetable has potential to improve nutrition, boost food security, foster rural development and support sustainable land care.

Curry leaves

 

Finally, I leave you with the photo of a plant that I desperately wish to lay my grubby hands on in Japan – this is the curry leaves that every housewife in South India uses in her cuisine. Gives a delightful flavor to any of the curries you make – it can be propagated by planting a branch. I hesitated to bring a branch to the Japan because of its strict regulations, but when I talked to the Japanese person in charge of quarantine on my arrival in Japan, he told me that he would check it for presence of insects and if none were found, I would be allowed to take it to my home! Ahh! I should have cut off a branch and taken it back with me to Japan. Maybe next time. 😦

Have a great day and plenty of fresh veggies!




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