God made all creatures – even the slimy green crawlers that frequent my cabbage leaves – for some reason, I suppose. Every morning I start out with my trusty chopsticks and hunt out these slimy worms that make my cabbage leaves look like minefields. Today, I picked them up gently and deposited them on the ground at the diagonally opposite corner of my house. The average length of this green worm is 1 cm, assuming that the distance that it travels per step is half its body length of 0.5 cm, and I place them 25 meters or 2500 cm away, the number of steps each worm needs to take to re-reach my cabbages will be 2500/0.5 = 5000 paces. Considering the obstacles that that it has to overcome, including a compost box, a net, an outdoor storage cupboard and various objects – I thought to myself with glee: my dear worm, if you manage to make your way back to my cabbage patch, you have earned it! Go for it. I only hope that God has not given these worms the homing instinct as in pigeons!
My main veggie patch looks this now.
My main vegetable patch
In place of the harvested radish, I have planted “edamame” or soya beans. After harvesting “komatsuna” I have planted Okra, my favorite vegetable. The potatoes to the left are probably ready for harvest. The leaves are turning yellow and I tentatively scraped the ground around one of the plants to find some lovely potatoes peeping out. Since this is the first time, I’ll get my daughter Maya to pull out the first of the potatoes on a trial dig. The carrots too seem to be maturing, but I have no idea when to pull them out! Broccoli is probably ready ready for harvest.
In the meanwhile, I found that the best way to save time I use for removing weeds is to dig and create a flower bed! So I now have another flower bed that I have turned into a herb garden. Here are my beds:
|Beans – back; eggplant – front row||Sugar snap – back; okra – front row|
|My new herb garden||New flower bed – Balsam, aster, iris|
The creation of a new bed at a place that was infested with weeds and stones was back-breaking work; but the satisfaction upon completion was tremendous, knowing that maintenance henceforth would be minimal I wouldn’t have to waste as much time in disposing of weeds again.
I transplanted the following herbs from my planter to my small herb garden:
Fennel, sage, yarrow, oregano, rosemary, soapwort, thyme, lavender, lemon balm
In the other new flower bed, I planted Balsam and aster that I had grown from seeds purchased in India; and German iris that were presented to me by my good friend, Utiyama-san. I await with eager anticipation the aster and Balsam blooms. I have no idea what the flowers would like like!
I had my daughter do a trial dig of the potatoes since some of its leaves had turned yellow. We got about six decent-sized potatoes and about five to six small ones. At lunch, we cooked it and when steaming hot, cut each into four halves, placed a small dollop of butter at the center, and added some salt to taste. I tried out a little chat masala too, and the taste was “simbly incredibul” as some of my dearest friends down southern India would say! I’m looking forward to harvesting the rest of the potato plants (seven).
This year I have planted flowers at the corners of each row of vegetables – mainly so that the flowers would attract insects and they add color to the vegetable patch. Here are some of the flowering plants I placed at the corners:
|Salvia (sunflower behind)||Dahlia|
I was also delighted at seeing new leaves on some cuttings I had planted around March – I had almost given up hopes on the Daphne Odora, but several of them sprang up new leaves to my delight. Was also successful with my favorite plant, Hydrangea.
|Daphne Odora cuttings (front)
Japanese Photinia (back)
|Hydrangea (from cutting)|
Other flowers in bloom in my garden today are:
|Geraniums in profusion||Azalea|
I’m afraid I waited too long to harvest the broccoli; I harvested them up today. Well, you live and learn!
Broccoli – delayed harvest?
Finally, an update on my curry leaf plants. There’s still no change in the cuttings I planted in – hold your breath – February! Should I give up on them?
The photo (right below) is a quiz for you, dear reader? I found this plant with small white flowers growing out of a crack. I’m not sure what flower it is; I do hope some of the experts will assist me in this one.
|Curry leaf cuttings||Mystery plant – what is it?|
OK – here are two more closeups of the mystery plant. The flower has petals that are small at the top and large at the bottom.
|Mystery plant – 1||Mystery plant –2|
Finally, I leave you with a photo of the lovely roses that my friend Utiyama picked from his garden and presented to me. He’s already sold me on the rose idea – I’m planning to plant roses next year!