After my last visit to India in September, I experimented with seeds (purchased from India) in my office garden. The results were encouraging for some varieties of gourds.
Successfully grown through seeds. I did not anticipate that the plant would travel all around my square foot plots clinging to every plant and support on its way!
Left: Ridge gourd; Right: Yellow flowers of the ridge gourd
The ridge gourd plant produced abundant yellow flowers all through September/October and the yield was high especially where the plant had climbed on the fence and trellis!
These two vegetables will become a permanent feature next summer in my office garden.
Ridge gourds and mini tomatoes
One of my Japanese friends, Utiyama-san, was happy with to make use of this vegetable after peeling off the skin and removing the seeds in miso soup! In my house, I was happy using these ridge gourds in sambar – my favorite South Indian dish.
In the meanwhile, a strong typhoon played havoc with my fence and flattened my vegetable plants.
After the typhoon
The damage however, was not severe as none of the plants were uprooted. I restored the fence and the plants and it was back to business as usual. The dense growth on the left side at the front consist of edamame (soya beans). These plants produced beans right up to autumn when the temperatures started dropping; I had two harvests of edamame – one around July/August and one around October. Needless to say, the beans were delicious (we boiled them for about 2-3 minutes; sprinkled a bit of salt and consumed them a little everyday).
We enjoyed a fairly good harvest of bitter gourds too – some turned out to be gigantic. See the ones on the left dwarfing the ridge gourd to the right.
Harvest of green pepper, bitter gourd, beans, persimmon and edamame
I also hand an incessant supply of green peppers and bitter gourd (the only vegetables I planted in my home garden) throughout summer. The soil in my home garden seems more conducive to growing green pepper and chili rather than the soil in my office garden. The edamame on the right is the amount that I picked everyday for consumption. The taste drops exponentially if you don’t eat them right away!
Dug up the beds and exposed them to the sun for several days
After the last harvest of edamame, I started preparing the soil for winter vegetables. I used some lime to offset the effects of acidity (from rain) and to retain a decent pH value. The yellow flowers of the ridge gourd can be seen in the photo above.
Compost and humus to enrich the soil
I used about 20 liters of compost and humus to enrich the soil in each bed, and mixed them up thoroughly digging down to about 40 cm.
Beds mixed, leveled and ready for receiving seeds and saplings of winter vegetables
I am rather pleased with the soil preparation this time – more compost and less fertilizer should give me healthy organic vegetables this spring.
Left: Bed with black sheet (to retain heat and moisture in soil in the cold winter)
Right: Planted cauliflower, cabbage, stick broccoli and broccoli (8 each in one row)
Under the tunnels
Erected tunnels over the cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli plants to ward off insects and worms.
The plan for the winter is:
1) one plot for cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli
2) One plot for spinach, green peas, and two local varieties of peas
3) One plot complete for growing four rows (8 in a row) of onions
4) One plot for fava beans, coriander, radish and spinach.
I end this post with a magnificent flower I picked up by the side of my office plot:
Until the next post, happy gardening!