Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Willow Branches

I got a bunch of willow branches with catkins on them from the CT Flower Show earlier this year. I didnt know that catkins are the willow flowers in full bloom till the farmer told me. I put these branches in a container of water. And now the branches have grown roots, catkins fallen and developed into leaves. I am told each of these branches is a potential tree and can be sown in the ground after they develop roots. In a year the tree would grow to about 10 feet and bear catkins early next spring. I plan to grow them in a container (I saw a container with weeping willow at the grocery store) for a year before planting them.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Forcing Hyacinths

I tried forcing 5 Hyacinth bulbs indoors in a pot with potting soil. After watering I stashed them away in a closet in the garage for about 2 months.

I brought them into the living room early this month. And now they have fragrant blooms on them. Had the internet been smelling friendly, these photographs would be hyacinth scented.
So forcing bulbs is not tough. The key is to mimic dark and cold days of winter for these plants. I am going to try forcing paperwhites and tulips next spring, and maybe even some forsythia.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Harvests over the past few weeks have been abundant. Tomatoes were all over my kitchen. I made chutney, pickle, sauce, jam, puree, soup and not to forget the everyday tomato salad. And still I more tomatoes left. But I am not complaining. Recently I am freezing whole tomatoes (cherry tomato size). I just wash the tomatoes, lay them out in a single layer on stainless steel plate in the freezer and after a few hours I bag them up in them freezer after a few hours. I know I will savor these summer home grown tomatoes during the winter months.

Then there has been the green and yellow bush beans, so tender and flavorful that we could eat them raw. The beets are sweet and I am storing them for future use. And obviously the beet greens in stew with rice is another tasty heaven. I got a decent amount of okra specially after the wet summer we've had.

The greens did pretty well this year. I grew mostly Asian greens with some lettuce in spring. I got a good harvest of fenugreek greens, amaranth greens, sour greens and Malabar spinach.

But one which is has become a favourite at our house is the red carrot (Gajar in India). They look, taste and smell really carroty. I am going to grow lots more next year.

All in all, nothing and truly nothing comes close to the taste and joy of growing your own food.

Amaranth Greens

Onions, Carrots, Kohlrabi and Beets

Bush Beans

Eggplants, Peppers, Bitter Gourds and Greens

Look at those red carrots

End of Summer

Fall is here. The temperatures are milder during the day and nights pose a threat for frost. Pumpkins and mums are on sale, tomatoes have been disposed due to the blight, summer vegetables are winding down and the sunflowers are throwing giant shadows with their drying up flower heads. Its sad how fall can bring an end to the summer garden in a matter of days.

The more colorful side of fall is definitely the beautiful fall foliage. Winter will be here before we know it and everything will be buried under the cover of snow. So now you know I am
really not a winter person. And there are 25 weeks before the next spring. On that note, few pictures from my garden these past weeks.

Bee enjoying the sunflowers. You can even see the pollen on the bee.

White Japanese eggplant

Last of the yellow bush beans

Okra blossom

Carrots peeking out of the soil. Ready for harvest.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Summer Senses

This week truly feels like summer in CT. After endless rains drenched part of June and the whole of July, hazy hot humid (hopefully dry) days and nights are finally here. The sunflowers have started to bloom. The tomatoes are ripening on the plants that have been spared by the late blight. I see more bees this year than I did last year. Hope they survived the CCD. Great relief and joy to have them back. My vegetable patch infact is thriving, I must say, with vegetables, flowers, bees, butterflies, insects and ofcourse the weeds. I hardly visit the grocery store except to buy milk and bread. But I was saddened by the appearence of mums for sale. Well mums, to me, signify that fall is not far away, cooler nights leading to decay in my garden. I pull through winter with images and thoughts of spring and summer. One look at my tomato plants and I can see the impending fall, the tomato foliage is ripe with septoria leaf spot. This is a fungal disease which slowly robs the plants of its foliage. But thankfully I am still able to harvest all the ripe tomatoes.

Anyway here I am enjoying the sweltering summer heat and ranting about fall. So to revel in the present, I have posted some fabulous summer shots from my garden. Truly these engage your all of your senses- sights, sounds, tastes, touch and smells of summer.

Okra-sign of Summer heat

Tomatoes and Basil-Summer in Bowl

Blueberries waiting to be picked

Tree-ripe peaches

Female Flower on a Cucumber plant

Bitter gourd

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Nature's Bounty

Gardening is a very humbling experience. With a little effort one is blessed with the precious bounty, nature can offer us. With a few days of heat and sunshine, my garden has reaped me so many vegetables.

I have been harvesting peas, radishes, spinach, lettuce (though the lettuce has now turned a tad bitter due to the summer days), fenugreek leaves, beets, dill and a few yellow wax beans. For the first time I ate radish pods after I saw this delicious recipe. Between admiring the bounty and the beauty of my garden, weeding therapy, dreading the appearence of late blight on my tomatoes , I am thoroughly enjoying eating off the land. Though now I wish I owned a tiny farm (BTW check out the link of tiny farm, one of my favourite virtual hangouts). So enjoy the photos below.

Dill, fenugreek leaves, a few yellow wax beans, beet, radish

Peas, lettuce

Radish pods

This week's harvest

How beautiful is my garden

Finally a red ripe tomato

The first cucumber

Bush Beans

Flat Beans on the way


Looks like the nasturtium flower is capturing the sun

Peas ready to be picked

Lush Beet greens