Category Archives: Gardening

Zucchini, Yes!

Patio Garden 2016

I haven’t really had too much time to focus on my patio garden this year, all though I did buy some plants back in May. While some died even before I had a chance to plant them, my best plant this year is Zucchini! Yes! Right now I see three growing …

I have a tomato plant with four growing tomatoes, although either birds or squirrels are biting into them 😦

And herbs are great!

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Patio Garden 2016

I normally get very excited with growing my vegetables in my small patio garden. But lately I have been too busy with work and classes, and frustrated with the squirrels, but not so much that I would give up entirely!


I didn’t try my organic seeds this Spring, but I did finally plant a tomato, zucchini, red bell pepper, fresh herbs: basil, parsley and mint and blueberries!


I still have my curry leaf plant, safely indoors tucked away from the elements!

So far so good…

My Patio Garden this year is not to its usual standard. But I still hope to plant some greens, once there is a breather…

Will keep you posted.


Patio Garden 2015
Patio Garden 2014
Patio Garden 2013


Tomato and Bean Plant of to a Good Start

It’s been a little over a week since I first planted the seeds for my Patio Garden. Each evening on returning home, I have eagerly checked them for signs of life. Tonight I wasn’t disappointed!


I saw tiny sprouts for tomatoes and beans. In fact, I noticed signs of growth in the bean plant the last 2-3 days.


While I wait for the other 6-7 plants to show signs of growth, I am excited to see two plants off to a good start!

Patio Garden 2015

After dragging my feet the last 2-3 weeks, I finally planted some seeds last weekend. Last year, I had some success with peppers, beans and tomato.  Zucchini gave me a lot of blossoms but no fruit.

Right on cue, come spring, my orchid bloomed. Although my Amarayllis  for the first time failed to bloom 😦


My herbs from last year are still intact — basil, curry leaf, rosemary and parsley.

This year I added cilantro and mint. I haven’t had too much luck with planting cilantro from seed so far. Last year, I got seedlings, but they never quite grew into full-fledged plants. And the moment I moved them outdoors, they became food for squirrels and birds 🙂

This year I am trying to grow mint from seeds. Fingers crossed on that!


In addition, I have planted two bean varieties – Valor papdi and Gawar  (cluster beans), two eggplant varieties – green and purple, two tomato – yellow pear and red, sweet pepper and bottle gourd.

Once it warms up, I plan to plant some fresh greens: Spinach, Amaranth and Red Sorrel with a possibility of Lettuce varieties in the fall. I am tempted to plant Zucchini and cucumber as well. I plan to definitely pick up a jalapeno pepper and another tomato plant.

My Brussels sprouts plant appears to be still alive, although it hasn’t produced any Brussels Sprouts so far. My blueberry plant too is still alive, although it didn’t produce any fruit last year and unfortunately was infested with some pest.


I hope to learn some new organic techniques this year, to preserve my plants.  Let see how many will survive and make it through!


This week’s harvest

I harvested some beans (Italian and Indian Broad bean), tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, zucchini blossoms and Red Sorrel Leaves. I still have some mustard greens, basil and parsley. Growing jalapenos and at least one growing Bell Pepper.


Fall is almost upon us and I expect this is almost the last of the summer produce. At least my tomato is done. While I planned and prepared for squirrels and birds, utimately it was the Virginia Stink Bug that invaded my tomato plant. I harvested, the still green and untouched tomatoes and left the rest alone. Next year I definetly need to plan for the Stink Bug!

Likewise, I harvested, the ready to eat Red Sorrel leaves, so I could chop, blanch and freeze them for later use.

My Indian Broad bean remained latent most of the summer, but finally produced some beans. Not enough to cook stand alone, but I am sure with the white eggplant, tomatoes, Italian beans and herbs, I am bound to come up with something fresh!

It has been a fun summer of learning and planting from seeds… I am looking forward to next Spring/Summer already!



Travails of Patio Gardening

I have been crazy about gardening, as long as I have been crazy about cooking: since a teenager! I loved to cook new recipes, bake and take care of the garden in my home. I trimmed, watered and cherished the plants we grew in our garden back home.

I struggled (and continue to struggle ) with squirrels and birds wanting to peck and bite into my tomatoes, jalapenos and finally my bell pepper. Jalapeno really?


Those pesky Squirrels!

This year, I wrapped my tomato plan in some mesh. It was all good until my plant reached the top of the mesh. Unfortunately, the squirrels can reach my tomatoes again, peck into them and bite, pluck or eat them 😦

Next year, I hope to be better prepared and wrap my netting sooner and much better than I did this year.

Go here for tips and tricks for protecting your plants from the marauding squirrels….


Green Peach Aphid?

Jet of water to the rescue…

vermin1Cabbage Worms?

One evening I found my blueberry plant covered in maybe cabbage-worms? While I didn’t get a single blueberry this year,  I was loath to have my other plants invaded!

Snip…snip…. snip! I trimmed the blueberry plant to bare minimum to rid it of the vermin and prevent proliferation of it…

This year, so far , I have tried:

Water blaster
Bubble Blaster and even
Sergeant Pepper’s Spray.

Here is the recipe for Sergeant Pepper’s Spray. I used Natural Dish-washing liquid.


6 garlic cloves
1-2 hot peppers
1 tsp dish wash soap
1 cup water

Blend and sift in a coffee/tea filter. Cool. And spray on leaves both over and below.

After lying dormant for a few months, i.e. since late April/May, my Indian broad bean is showing action.


Yeah… I am excited!

Each year I learn something new, and improve my gardening skills. Although rampant with challenges, it has been a great year for organic gardening, as well as semi organic gardening. More so, since I had myriads of seeds from around the world to experiment. While not all seeds are of organic origin, I continue to use organic soil, organic vegetable food and gentle organic practices to rid my plants of unwanted vermin!

The pleasure of, from garden to plate, is beyond doubt incredible!


My go 2 site for Organic Gardening!
More Garden to Plate
From Garden to Plate

More Garden to Plate

This week I harvested a couple of tomatoes, a couple of bell peppers, some jalapenos, a few zucchini blossoms and some Italian beans!


Of course I still have some fresh rosemary, basil and parsley. And some mustard and Red Sorrel leaves 🙂

Last week, I harvested some Italian beans and did a repeat Quinoa Biryani!

I  used my white eggplant to make some delicious Sicilian White Eggplant Caponata.

BTW, I can see some new white eggplant growing… as well as some purple eggplant. All growing from my organic seed and farming. Exciting!  Can’t wait for more fresh produce!

My tomatoes are in full force, if only the squirrels and birds would leave them alone 😦

Zucchini plant has been disappointing this year. Too many blossoms and no fruit. So I finally decided to harvest the blossoms. I have come across some stuffed zucchini blossom recipes as well as pizza recipes. Which should I try?

I had thought, I had a red bell pepper plant, but my peppers continue to remain green, Maybe an error in labeling?

So I can make salsa, pullao, or pizza… What do you recommend?



Patio Garden Update: Slow & Steady

I have had some success, but mostly failure, with planting from seeds this year.

Over the last year I have collected several varieties of Organic seeds. I planted 12-15 different varieties, but only a handful succeeded: Spinach, Mustard Greens, Red Sorrel Leaves, Indian Broad Bean (Chikudukaya), Tomato, Brussels Sprouts and Indian beans. Several of them that sprouted, but didn’t thrive much, once I transplanted 😦

The most interesting part was ordering seeds some Indian vegetables such as: Amaranth Leaves(Thotakura), Red Sorrel Leaves(Gongura), Mustard Greens, Baby Eggplant, Indian beans (Goru Chickudikaya), Indian Broad Bean(Chickudi Kaya), and Jujube (Raigi Pandu). Most of these were a big FAIL!

The ones that survived include: Spinach, Mustard Greens, Red Sorrel Leaves, Indian Broad Bean (Chikudukaya), Tomato, Brussels Sprouts. I’ve had the curry leaf plant for a year, and it is still miniscule. But, it lives 🙂

Some have thrived better than others, such as Red Sorrel Leaves and Indian Broad Bean. Others struggle to grow. I’ve already picked some Jalapeno peppers and Spinach. I count at least 6 tomatoes and several peppers.

In the meantime, I relented and picked up saplings for the plants I usually grow: Basil, Parsley, Zucchini, Peppers and Tomato. My blueberry plant from last year while green, promises no fruit. The recent excess rains killed my strawberry plant from last year.

Birds continue to eat my flowers. And maybe my tomato plant. Really?

I’ve been plagued with cats, squirrels and birds. Progress is slow, but still looks promising! I am not ready to give up gardening 🙂

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Patio Garden 2014