Late summer, early autumn harvests

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Part of my day job requires me to make quite a bit of overseas travel, some of which can be rather long…
Upon returning from one of those trips, I found the chestnuts had dropped onto the ground…
Many of them had rotted, or were eaten by bugs…
Collected some that looked ok, at least, visually…
But it was not to be… my sweeto-haato cut them open, and found out that each and every one of them turned out to be bad inside… sad…

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I did not get to harvest sweet potatoes for the last two seasons of 2014 and 2015…
As above, I had to go for business trips overseas, and each time for the past two years, the wild boars came and ransacked the sweet potatoes…
This year, I was determined to block their advance…
Thank god, we got to harvest the sweet potatoes this time…

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Garlic is a regular item at our potager…
Luckily, the wild animals have no interest in them…

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We got to enjoy bitter gourd throughout the summer, and well into early autumn as well…
I cannot imagine our summers without this vegetable…

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Now, this is another sad story… the navel oranges…
Was really happy to see so many fruits in early summer…
But as the fruits matured, they split, from the navel…
Apparently, the reason is that, the fruits cannot cope well with changes in the water content in the ground, especially if the changes are too much or too rapid…
I collected over 100 split navel oranges, and had to throw them away…
There are perhaps about 20 or so fruits left, and I hope we can get to taste them soon…

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Unripe strawberries = chutney

Due to the nature of my job, I sometimes have to go for business trips abroad…
Which means, my garden will be left somewhat unattended…

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Had been struggling for the past few seasons with how to ‘properly’ grow strawberries…
Think I finally got the hang of it…
Come summer 2016, fruits were aplenty…
But just then, that two-week long business trip came in the way…

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So what to do?
It would be a shame to have the fruits ripening only to be eaten by sow-bugs…
Decided to play around, processing the unripe fruits…

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And into the Dutch oven the fruits went in…
Dressed up with some experimental spices, and oh, what a beauty it turned out to be…

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Had them stored in glass jars, and into the refrigerator they went…
My ‘sweeto-haato’ and I took our sweet time to slowly relish the final product…

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Carrots, loads of it… and Chayote germinating…

Whoopeee… hope every one is enjoying the early spring winds and feeling excited about the upcoming growing season (for those living in the northern hemisphere, that is)…

A lot of things had been happening in my life… some happy and pleasant, some rather heart-breaking…

But life goes on… and yes, had disappeared literally from the blogging world, but still, am happy to know that the blog does get visitors once in a while…

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Anyway, the potager is fine and producing, as ever…
Had a bountiful harvest of carrots…
Sooo much of them… think I must have done something right?🙂

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I am of the opinion that carrots rank among the most tasty of all home-grown vegetables…
Of course, all home-grown vegetables are lovely to eat, but carrots… hmmm, they are in a class of their own…

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And potatoes… hmmm, another perennial member of the potager…
My ‘sweeto-haato’  uses them in curries, salads, Japanese ‘oden’, and sometimes, just plain pan-fried in light olive oil…
Anyhow, they taste superb…

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And yes, this year as well, the radish did extremely well…
There were just too much for us to catch up (eating)…
As in last year, had them dried up to preserve for future cooking…

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Am really excited with the prospect of growing this ‘chayote’…
I first got to know about this vegetable in Chiang Mai where the locals use the tender shoots as stir-fries…
I was really tempted  to smuggle one or two back to Japan…
But luckily, we have them in Japan too, and I just had to grab these two as soon as I saw them…

According to Wikipedia, they belong to the cucumber family and is native to ‘Meso-america’…
It is a climber, and apparently, all parts of the plant can be eaten… the leaves, the flowers, the fruit, the seed, and even the tuber…
I would like to use the tender shoots as the Thais do…

And isn’t it amazing that the roots and the shoot just sprout out from the fruit?
I can’t wait for the temperatures to rise…

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Harvests from late autumn 2015

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Obviously been goofing off again, for too long from blogging…🙂
Anyway, here’s yours truly, feeling good at the potager…

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If you eat loquats, keep the seeds…
Our loquat trees give us very good fruits, and seeds too…
Over the years of trial and error, I have learned to sun dry the seeds only up to a certain extent…
I then have my ‘sweeto-haato’ put them into the rice cooker and cooked them together with (the brown) rice…
They apparently have a lot of medicinal qualities but I eat them anyway because they taste great…

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I called these ‘peanut pumpkin’ because of its shape…
And I grow them because their leaves have very fine hairy spikes that protect themselves against those leaf-chewing pests…
And yes, they taste great too…
This season was a super-super bumper harvest…
I managed to harvest about 65 of these pumpkins…
The large ones weighed about a kilo and half, while the few smaller ones, about 300 to 400 grams…
It is pumpkin day-in and day-out for us, and shall be so for some time to come…

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This Ebisu pumpkin was from a self-seeded plant…
I only had to train it up for it to start climbing, and did not do anything else…
Weighed about 2 kilos…

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Limes… oooh, another bumper harvest this year…
My ‘sweeto haaato’ is making good use of them to spruce up her drinks, and of course, also for cooking…

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Gingers… ahh… finally, success this season after an initial not-so-successful attempt…
It feels marvelous, really, to be able to harvest the rhizome…

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This thing about the loofah…
Our two plants gave us lots of fruits to eat…
On top of that, some of the fruits even had flowers on them…
Was quite fascinated as I am not aware of any other fruit that can ‘bear’ flowers…

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And finally, some flowers to seal the post…
Zinnias are a perennial feature in our garden…
Every spring, they begin to make their appearance and stay on till late autumn…

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The same goes for cosmos… they self-seed too…
I particularly like this specie that has a distinct ‘boundary’ on the petals…

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The self-seeding process somehow results mainly in flowers having pink shades…
Not to say that I am complaining…  :-)

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Chestnuts, blueberries, chick peas, asparagus, among others…

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The chestnut tree gave us a bountiful harvest this year…

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All in all, there were over 50 chestnuts and we had a good time ‘gnawing’ on them…

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The corn did not do so well… too many pests… might give corn a pass next season…

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Cucumbers did pretty well… until the wild boars came to ransack our sweet potatoes, killing the cucumbers at the same time…

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Tomatoes did super well… love the tomato plants very much for their productivity… and taste, of course…

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Blueberries also did exceptionally well… must be the fertilizer and the pine leaves that I fed them prior to their flowering…

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Eggplants did so-so… could be better… next season, revenge on my mind…

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Malabar spinach… the red and the green… both did very well… and all of the plants were self-seeding… plus, no maintenance at all… we just munched and munched… and there is still more in the garden…

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Due to my carelessness, I killed the two asparagus plants I had… then, just for the fun of it, tried to grow new plants from seeds… took a long time to germinate… luckily, have several pots that did well… looking forward to seeing them grow…

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Chick peas… ooh… tried growing them for three seasons in a row… no cigar… somehow,  the plants were consistently fragile, sickly… and the harvests? Consistently miserable, to say the least… next season, am thinking to give this experiment a pass too…

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Looks pretty eh? Did not grow this fruit… think it is some sort of wild fig… this one is good for picture taking, but not good for the tongue… there are numerous such plants in our property… all wild… and some are really sweet and flavorful… but, they are more blackish in color, and not so good as photo subjects…

To end this post, I must note that the wild boars managed to sneak into our potager through a small opening in our neighbor’s garden… the boars made a clean sweep on our sweet potatoes… I planted the cucumbers alongside the sweet potatoes, so they were killed off too…

Two days after that tragedy, it was the turn of the raccoons… they came for the peanuts… again, it was a clean sweep…

I slapped my forehead… but I should be happy to know that I had made two contributions to the animal kingdom…  and that the animals must have found our produce ‘tasty’ enough for their taste buds… quite a ‘compliment’, don’t you think?

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