Category Archives: Patio Garden

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!

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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!

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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.

See:

Patio Garden 2015
Patio Garden 2014
Patio Garden 2013
Gardening

 

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!

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

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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 😦

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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!

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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.

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

 

Last of the Summer Vine: Wild Rice Pilaf

Slowly, but steadily the temperatures are dipping down into the 60’s and 50’s and the lows into 40’s and 30’s. Most of my summer plants, while still alive have stopped producing. Almost.

wrp1My late blooming yellow pepper plant has abundant peppers growing, but some menace appears to be attacking them. So this week, I decided to harvest some well grown peppers even if they are still green and haven’t changed color.  I also harvested some Italian flat beans and some red sorrel greens. Eggplant, tomato and zucchini are still alive and flowering but rarely producing fruit. Herbs are still doing great.

I used the beans and peppers to make some Wild Rice Pilaf that turned out pretty good.

Ingredients:

1/2 wild rice
2 small bell peppers
4-5 Italian flat beans
1  shallot chopped
1-2 garlic cloves chopped or minced
a small piece of ginger chopped
3-4 cloves
1/2 stick cinnamon
1 tsp cumin seeds
a few mint leaves chopped
1 sliced jalapeno
a few bay leaves
pinch of turmeric
1 tbsp oil
dash of garam masala
dash of cayenne pepper

wrp3Bring a cup of water to boil in a bowl and add the wild rice. Reduce flame and let cook for 10-15 minutes till the water evaporates and the wild rice is almost cooked.

In a separate bowl, add oil, cloves, turmeric, and cinnamon. Lightly fry for a few seconds till golden. Add chopped shallot, garlic, ginger, bay leaves, mint and jalapeno and lightly fry until golden. Add cut beans and peppers and continue to fry for 5-6 minutes. Add garam masala, and cayenne pepper and semi cooked rice and mix well. Add salt to taste. Add a little water, reduce flame to low and cover and continue cooking for 5-10 minutes until the beans and pepper soften.

Remove from flame and serve warm with some raita (yogurt and cucumber sauce).

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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?

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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….

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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.

Ingredients:

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.

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

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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!

Resources:

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

Red Sorrel and Zucchini Blossom Pizza

This one was an inspiration 🙂

The moment I decided I would do something with the Zucchini blossoms, my mind leaped to the Red Sorrel leaves I had growing in my patio garden, in abundance. And I was very happy with the final result!

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I wanted a quick to make pizza dough and this time my recipe is based on the one here. I planned to make white flour dough, but at the last minute chickened out and made part whole wheat as usual 🙂 Use 3 1/4 cups white flour if you prefer white dough.

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups white whole purpose or bread flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp salt
1 packet quick rising yeast
1 1/3 cups warm water
1/4 cup olive oil

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Toppings:

1 tomato chopped
1 jalapeno sliced
a few zucchini blossoms
a handful of red sorrel leaves chopped
Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese
red pepper flakes
Tomato Sauce (Use your favorite or make some fresh)

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Add yeast to warm water and set aside. In a large bowl mix the flours and salt. Transfer flour and yeast mix to Kitchen aid mixer and beat on high for 5 minutes. Add olive oil and continue mixing. Toss lightly with more oil if necessary and return to bowl. Cover with wash cloth for an hour or more till the dough doubles in size about an hour or two.

When ready to make the pizza, divide into 2-3 portions and roll out with rolling pin. Dough makes 2 large or 4 personal pizza.

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Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.

Top with cheese, and your favorite toppings. Sprinkle some crushed red pepper and bake for 12-14 minutes. Switch to broil and broil on high for 1-2 minutes.

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Enjoy warm!

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