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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4 Responses to “From my niece’s garden in North Carolina, US”


  1. August 29, 2008 at 9:22 am

    WOW! Beautiful pictures! I hope you had a wonderful time. I’ve been trying to obtain a curry tree also, but I haven’t been willing to pay the expensive shipping for such a small tree. Those yard long bean flowers are beautiful. I’ve been waiting and waiting for my hyacinth beans to flower and when they finally did the rabbit ate the plant! GRR! I was able to harvest my first ridge gourds, It was very exciting, they made a wonderful kura and pachadi made from the peel.

  2. August 29, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    Thanks, Liz. Had a great time in the US. Sorry to hear about the rabbits on rampage. You do seem to know a lot about Indian cuisine. “Kura” was new to me (curry in telugu?) although I know Pacchadi. My mom used to make a dish called “touwe” pronounced “tow-way” a delicious dal with ridge gourd using lime. Have a great day!

  3. September 13, 2008 at 6:49 am

    I had a very close Indian friend growing up. I spent almost everyday after school at her house where I got to try and love many Indian foods, although I was a little shy about some of the foreign vegetables, like okra. 🙂 MMM! That touwe with lime sounds so good! I love dals. I will look for a recipe when I find more ridgegourds.

  4. September 15, 2008 at 12:17 am

    Hi,
    Was your friend from the north or southern part of India? The dishes are quite different – I cook quite a few south Indian dishes but don’t know much about North Indian dishes though I do like eating them 🙂


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