Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fall Gardening in the Land of Ever Growth


I told you about the Indian peppers already.

But they are not the only thing growing while we slack off on our tending. You see, gardening in the
"fall" here is a little different than gardening in Wisconsin in the fall.
Our pumpkins and other squashes were planted relatively recently, as were the root vegetables, because 
the weather was just too hot for them earlier. However, the exotics we chose are still growing with delight.


Beautiful, no?
We planted a row of these plants by the name of Thai Roselle for their flowers, and each plant turned into
a gigantic bush taller than us in all directions. The dried flowers are often known in tea as hibiscus (not the
same as the ornamental hibiscus) and turn herbal teas--like Tazo Passion, and Celestial Seasonings
Raspberry Zinger--purple and tangy. Well, all summer the flowers fell off, and we figured we would never
have a use for the giant bushes. But one day, a friend of ours from India noticed the plant and told us how
excited she was to see that we were growing gongura. 
And now that we have been taught to concoct Indian chutneys out of these tangy leaves we are pretty excited too.
However, with the cold nights we have been having, the flowers are finally persisting to maturity.


And these leaves?


Okra. A local favorite.
These were our first five, and we fried them up for a crunchy cornmeal dinner. But, I do have a very good
 recipe for something more interesting (and spicier) to do with okra that I will be sharing shortly.


Yes, our vegetables are in that pecan tree.
Getting them out was a group effort, as you can see, but getting them in was the work of one man...
I'll let you guess who.
This particular handsome fellow trained our Sweet Honey Sponge Gourds to grow up this particular tree
 because we like to do fun things with our gardening. And having edible gourds hanging higher than a pruner
or fruit picker could reach really was entertaining. 


If you think you're not familiar with sponge gourds you are probably right and wrong. Because, while you
may not have eaten them as a vegetable (like a looser, sweeter echo of a zucchini), you probably have seen
them sold in the bath section by their other name, loofahs. If we let them grow past the young tender eating
stage, they gradually grow more fibrous until they are ready to decompose, and then everything except the
fibers falls away, leaving a spoungey gourd skeleton (which usually needs to be washed, and sometimes left
 to sun bleach).
I have been using one of our grown loofahs instead of a plastic "poofah" lately and I have been quite happy
 with it. Though mine is smaller and has finer fibers than the ones at most stores.


Also in a tree, I found this spider.
I have never seen anything like it before!
I would assume he is well defended from birds.


Out of the trees and into the yard, we have also found crawfish, who like to wander especially after a rain.
And don't worry, we didn't take this one's portrait and then eat him.
He is another creature we set into the wild.
And isn't he just perfect at posing? He didn't even need to be told to look at the camera.


  1. We have those spiders around here - they always remind me of creatures off of Mario Brothers!

  2. Glad to see you are still harvesting--and such interesting things! We're all done here. The garden has been cleared and we may even get a little snow!


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