Monthly Archives: May 2010

Garden Chronicles

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Every year we try to plant one new vegetable just to see how far we can stretch the “greenness” of our thumb. The 2 by 4 patch of earth outside our patio is what we proudly call our garden. Every inch of that space is judiciously used. Seasonal favorites like tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and cucumbers are the staples having had some good experience with these non- fussy and fairly-tolerant-to-some-neglect veggies. Last year during a visit to our local nursery S got all excited about a watermelon seedling. I was apprehensive about letting a giant fruit take up space in the 2by4, but seeing S’s enthusiasm I did not voice any protest. So sugar baby, the watermelon became the “new” veggie last season. It was given a good spot away from the crowd, plenty of sunlight and the best organic bovine waste that we could find. Sugar baby “crawled and creeped” and mingled with the ivy by the window. We waited patiently for any sign of flowers. And then one day the patience paid off, we spotted a flower and a tiny swelling below, the would-be watermelon. Within days the bump had grown to resemble a miniature melon…o what joy!! That joy was however short lived. The melon was feasted on by some night prowler…darn!! There were no more flowers or fruits since then. We lost our interest and soon stopped checking the plant for any crop. Then about a month or two later to our utter surprise we discovered a nice sized watermelon tucked beneath the ivy and the melon leaves, hidden completely from view.
Sweet!! So our watermelon growing exercise was fruitful at last. Can’t say that we now have the expertise to grow watermelons but hey we can say proudly that we did grow something unusal that no one usually thinks of planting outside their apartment.
This year we tried our hands at growing cauliflowers. The seedlings came in bunches of six, we got a bunch. These frost tolerant Cole crops were put in the dirt in early April. We were already planning of how we would cook or with whom we would share the six caulis. Talk about counting your chickens before they are hatched. Apart from the cauli, I am also interested in the cauli greens. Ma makes a wonderfully delicious chorchori with the kophi leaves in winter. Chorchori is a medley of veggies and greens cooked with minimal usage of spices. This is a very typical bengali dish where the emphasis is on the flavour of the veggies. In this country the caulis come sans the leaves unless may be you chance to get them from a farm. So the idea of having kophi pata r chorchori was more tantalizing than the kophi itself. But guess what..the caulis were soon dying and so was my khayali pulao or more appropriately my khayali chorchori. Boo hoo hoo…of the six now just two remain standing. Of them only one seems promising. So we might be able to harvest a lone cauli and my wish for the chorchori might come true… I have my green thumbs crossed.

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