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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Radish: the fresh and the preserved…

What can you do in the garden when the temperature shoots up to 36 degrees?
Under this condition, it does not take five minutes to have my body bathing in sweat… not to mention the risk of being overtaken by over-heating and fainting spells…

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Ok, this story should have been posted many moons ago, but what do you do when you have to harvest all your radish crop in one go?

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First, you would probably select the most good looking one for immediate cooking…

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Then, for the rest, you clean them, slice them up, and hang them up to sun-dry…

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A Japanese elderly lady had advised me to cut them up ‘octopus-style’…

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Basically, I just cut the radish into four parts, while leaving the top part untouched to facilitate easy hanging…

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After a few iterations of drying them under the sun, this is how they look like… my ‘sweeto-haato’ can then take her time to cook them (normally boiled with tofu) for me…

And just like the fresh/dried shiitake mushroom (which I do not grow), the dried ones give a really very concentrated ‘radish’ flavor…

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Loquats, wineberries, strawberries, fava beans…

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June is the season for loquat-harvesting…
The fruits were so juicy and sweet… hmmmm…
Normally, I need to reduce (in other words, ‘sacrifice’) the number of fruits, from up to about twenty fruits in a bunch to just two fruits…
Otherwise, the fruits will not be able to become big…
I then have to wrap them up with paper bags so as to prevent fruit flies from coming at them…
All was fine, except that the crows started harvesting them earlier than the farmer did…
The bounty taken by the crows was substantial… grrrr…
Next season for sure, I am going to put a net over the fruits…

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The strawberries did pretty well but I made the mistake of crowding too many plants in the patch…
Result of the over-crowding? Fewer fruits… grrrr…
Next season, I promise not to be too greedy… in fact, I have already thinned out the plants…
Anyway, the taste of our strawberries is, I’d say, ‘concentrated’… and the flesh, firm…

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Our Japanese wine berries provided a good harvest this season…
Was so happy to be able to enjoy these fruits with minimum maintenance…
Eaten frozen, with yogurt, is simply heavenly…

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And finally, the fava beans turned out very well too…
We had a lot to eat, and the crows did not come for them… yippee…
I have quite a bit of them sun-dried too, and am wondering how we should cook them…

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Doesn’t this bean look lovely?

Oh yes, as the fava bean plants were growing, we ate the young leaves too…
They tasted good, quite a bit like spinach…

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