Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Kitchen garden update and harvesting

This year, I have encountered a great disappointment after I planted the kitchen garden. One fine morning in April, all of cucumber patch were vanished. On the next day, the same thing happened with kale; after that, it was Swiss chard and Indian ridge gourd. I couldn't tell what was happening and who was eating all my vegetables without a trace. First I blamed it on gophers, then I thought it was a possum. I couldn't tell who was the culprit who was relishing my tender plants. I planted again and this time I secured my plants with chicken wire. Well, the problem was not solved. Someone got in anyway and got all the tender plants. Whoever was eating the vegetables didn't like bitter melon, tomatoes, and chilies. Someone had a sweet tooth!
With great disappointment, I was wandering in the kitchen garden, not knowing how to deal with the problem. I can't imagine summer without a kitchen garden. Finally I had my aha moment right in front of my eyes...I saw a squirrel leaving the garden! Now I know who the thief is but how do I deal with it? One of my friends came to my rescue with the solution, trapping them. I decided to trap them and leave them in the empty fields. I caught five of them so far. I replanted my cucumbers, Swiss chard, ridge gourd and salad greens. Over the last couple weeks, my plants have been thriving and I am harvesting and enjoying fresh picked vegetables.

The harvest

This was the bed of kale, after the squirrels indulged in all the leaves

Swiss chard, beyond recognition

All the plants were eaten by squirrels, except the weed purslane. Although it is a weed, purslane is full of omega-3. It is very good to include in our diet.

I planted cucumbers in the bed and totally encased them with chicken wire. The squirrels still got them!

Luckily, squirrels didn't like bitter melon. This particular vegetable is very good for health, especially for people with diabetes

Newly planted  ridge-gourd and Swiss chard patch after catching the squirrels

Tomatoes are more than six feet tall. The success is because of homemade compost enriched with chicken manure.

Banana peppers

Newly planted cucumbers

Today's harvest:Bitter melon, tomatoes loki(opo squash),different varieties of eggplant, tindoora and Indian beans

While I was harvesting vegetables, I harvested some purslane to incorporate in some of my stir frys. Whenever I used to see this weed, I would to pull out. Now when I see this weed, I am watering it to make it grow.

For more memorable centerpieces, tablescapes, and recipes (including vegetarian, gluten free and vegan recipes),please check out my books, Entertaining From an Ethnic Indian Kitchen and Trader Joe's Simply Indian at my website komalinunna.com.

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