Archive for August, 2011

09
Aug
11

eggplant, edamame and easy pickings

The title just about sums up the present post. After a great harvest in June where the entire family had a fill of delicious, sweet, edamame (soya beans), I couldn’t resist not growing them anymore. Thanks to my friend Utiyama-san, who had surplus edamame plants, I planted two to three rows and they shot up with fresh green leaves.

Edmame in all its glory

Throughout the month of July, my office garden gave me a constant supply of eggplant, tomatoes, cucumber, and green pepper. The long and slender eggplants made their appearance quite early, and in late July, the almost perfectly round eggplants came up. Here are some typical daily pickings:

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Daily harvest of vegetables in July

I was fortunate to receive a fresh load of potatoes daily from friendly neighbors and have enjoyed fresh organic vegetables throughout the month in July. The tomatoes were especially delicious, and they are still going strong, as I write this blog on the plane heading for India. I hope my friends and neighbors will harvest the veggies from my office garden while I’m  away.

Meanwhile, the gladiolus that I planted at the corners of the plot, suddenly shot up and bloomed taking me by surprise. One of my friends had commented that since I had planted them in spring this year, I should expect flowers only next year. Here they are – don’t they look good?

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Gladiolus – three at corners of two plots

New additions to my plots this July include vegetables seeds that I brought from India and planted on an experimental basis. These include ridge gourd, bottle gourd, purslane, and beetroot.

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Ridge gourd plants at the corners

I planted only two from seed no knowing whether they could survive the weather conditions here in Japan at this time, but they are coming out very healthy! I quickly erected stakes to assist the vines to take a hold and pull up the plant vertically.

 

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Bottle gourd next to the ridge gourd plants

I planted two bottle gourds next to the ridge gourds. Their huge leave are likely to overshadow the smaller leaves of the ridge gourd as both varieties grow tall. It will be nice to surprise my Japanese friends with ridge and bottle gourds – they have probably never seen these vegetables.

Let’s go to an overall view of my office garden. This is how it looked at the end of July.

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Overall view of office garden

In general, tomatoes were easy pickings this season. Growing each plant by forking them low down and guiding the two branches on two stakes seems to be an efficient way to grow more. Another tactic I adopted was to pluck the reddest ones in each bunch of tomatoes every day – this gave a uniform harvest everyday with the unripe ones quickly ripening soon after the ripened ones are harvested.

I am anticipating a huge harvest in eggplant in August and September. They seem to come up with a second flush late in summer. The green peppers too are late growers in my plots. I’m a little disappointed with okra and am praying that they are just late starters. The growth seems to be very slow.

The home garden have had some new blooms – I was pleasantly surprised with soapwort. The pink flowers seem to be blooming incessantly. I thought of cutting off the stalks once the flowers dried, but new blooms seem to be coming up again.

Pink soapwort flowers

Soapwort – pink blooms in my herb garden

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White Monarda

It was the turn of the white Monarda after the pink ones bloomed and said goodbye in June. I love the elegance of this flower.

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Morning Glory (Asagao)

And who can resist the splendor of the Morning Glory? I had these running up on a vertical net positioned in front of the windows along with bitter gourd climbers. Each flower seems to have its own sun at the center!

 

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Dahlberg Daisy

My friend, Utiyama-san, first gave me this plant and then rooted out its name from the Internet. Cute yellow flowers that bloom immediately after you cut out the old flowers.

 

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Hostas – perking up!

The hostas too have started shooting off flowers from the center. Both flowers and leaves are attractive and these plants require minimal maintenance. They do spread and their roots need to be divided and moved to some other place from time to time. I love these hostas too.

 

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Grapes

I have grapes growing out of a planter in the balcony at home. This is the first year I’ll be seeing the ripe grapes and maybe tasting them (hopefully, if I’m in Japan at that time). The figure on the right shows an enlarged view.

 

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Wisteria

Meanwhile, one of the two wisterias in my home garden, started blooming in August! These trees had already bloomed in spring; none of my gardening friends had seen Wisteria blooming in the midst of summer. I’m saving this photo for posterity!

 

That’s all for this post, folks. I think I made good use of my time on the plane from Tokyo to Kuala Lumpur. Still a couple of hours to go, my neck is taking a beating! Have a great day!

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