Saturday, 26 February 2011


I guess just a couple of more days and these should be ready to go in to make some of the following dishes: South Indian Sambar, Drumstick Soup,  Drumstick Sabzi with Gram Flour.

Hmmmm... enjoy.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Trigger Finger - pretty disturbing.

It's very frustrating and at times a real downer when one experiences a situation that threatens the progress of a new found activity which promises a sense of satisfaction and joy.
In this particular case i refer to what may turn out to be a major setback to my hands on involvement in gardening.
It's been more than a month now that i noticed an affliction to the "pinky" fingers on both my hands. Having shown the condition to my doctor i was informed that the same is known as "Trigger finger".
This evening i decided to look it up on the web and as usual came across an avalanche of information.
The bottom line being "they" don't really know what causes it for sure.
Suggestions range from: Diabetes, Gout, Rheumatoid Arthritis to occupational hazards involving excessive and extensive gripping (of tools) actions such as, farming, driving, power tools and the like.
Ok.. so that's a real bummer since my so very deeply entrenched love for driving cars and riding bikes involves a good bit of "keep your eyes on the road, your hands upon the wheel".
And now gardening, holding on to the hose for the complete watering process takes a good 2 to 3 hours and add to that the weeding that i have now started attending to since there is no sign of Krishna and the weeds have really gone to town.
One of the sites suggests discontinuing all "gripping" activities for 3 to 4 weeks!
Oh Shoot.... just don't know anything anymore.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Tulasi a.k.a. Holy Basil

Each morning as i reach the Tulasi plant in order to water it as well as pluck a bunch of it's tender leaves to eat the same, i am reminded to take a picture of the plant so that i may post it out here. Unfortunately by the time i complete my rounds of tending to the garden the thought has slipped my mind until the next morning when i once again reach the Tulasi for my morning fix.
However there is a nice picture and more on the Tulasi Plant in the following link 
as also more information in

I have been chewing about 8 to 10 tender Tulasi leaves every morning since about two months now, in fact ever since my good doctor Adam suggested it would help control a very nasty cough as well as bolster my immune system in general.
I must add that in addition to this i am also taking a highly recommended Ayurvedic medication from the city of Kanpur, India - also to bolster an ageing immune system.
So, in all fairness, i really am not in a position to claim which of the two is being beneficial to my health, if at all.
Since the friend who recommends the Ayurvedic capsule swears by it's efficacy i shall carry on with my faith in the same.
In support of the Tulasi leaves all i can say is that i had once forgotten to eat them for two or three days and when i restarted eating them, i noticed this very distinct sense of warmth surge through my veins within a few minutes of ingesting the same. I guess something is going on out there after all!
The fact remains that apart from being considered very holy and much adored by Lord krishna, the medicinal properties of the Tulasi have been documented in some of the oldest revered scriptures of India.
References may be found at the following links

Time now for my siesta...

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

A Real Start!

This guy gave me a real start yesterday morning.
I must have been some 10 inches away from him and looking down at the base of the mangosteen plant as i stood watering the same. when i happened to just look up and to the right, there he was, doing this bizaare "cobra" stance. and what with the wing like pair of leaves, he really did startle me for a second!
but isn't it amazing how nature has equipped it with an in built sense creating a pretty effective stance to ward of predators/
basically it's just a soft slug, and a very attractive one i must say.
i wanted to brush him off from the precious mangosteen plant and then i saw that some of the branches higher up were giving off fresh shoots of leaves so i said to myself why harm the slug if it really wasn't harming the tree.
but only did morning when i saw the slug on another branch did i realise that the fresh shoots actually were on the "twin" jamun tree (ref my "2 in 1" blog) and that the mangosteen actually had no new shoots left on it whatsoever.
The attractive little slug was merrily chomping away and sucking out all the life sap from the branches!
now that indeed got my sap - or is that goat?
whoooaa, i just couldn't let that happen.
directed one good spray and he was off the plant and down on the ground. did not feel like killing him so just picked up a dead branch , let him climb on it and hurled the two far away from the tree.
must check tomorrow morning to see if he hasn't returned by any chance.
but he is quite beautifull isn't he?
i have another close up shot but i found the above picture with the spread of the leaves to be more dramatic.
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Sunday, 13 February 2011

The previous week

The previous week was a bit of a letdown as far as my new found hobby of toodling around with gardening is concerned.
First, over the last week end and then some, the phone lines in our village went dead due to someone from the local Public Works Dept, merrily went and penetrated a major telephone cable while drilling into a nearby road.
That took care of telecommunications for almost 5 days.
Well then, in the absence of time spent over the internet, what better occupation could there be than to take my gardening experience up to the next level - Weeding!
I had watched Krishna, weed away on his haunches and knowing that there was no way I would be able to mimic the same dexterity, found myself a nice small wooden stool and began applying gloved hands to mother nature.
Unfortunately I do not have the spikey weeding  gizmo like the one Krishna has so I had to rummage through my tool box until I came across a rusty old screw driver that I thought would do the needful.
Fifteen minutes down into tugging, scraping, even scrapping, with some real stubborn well entrenched weeds I quickly realized the difference between a seasoned young man who does gardening as an occupation / vocation and a much seasoned older person who is giving a shot at a new found hobby.
Quite soon, my index fingers and thumbs were getting sore with all the plucking, tugging and digging in spite of the gloves – in fact I should think the gloves actually made the going that much more difficult and clumsy. Well in a way I was glad that Krishna from the hardy gene pool was not around to witness the bumbling of the delicate saab ji. But what could I do? It was either the sloppy groping with gloved fingers or the efficiency of using bare hands. Due to my preference of eating food with my fingers, I was wary that no matter how well I may scrub my hands, the thought of getting some dirt and what have you from under the finger nails, find a way in to my digestive system  deterred me from adopting the latter method over a clumsy yet prophylactic toil.
About an hour or so later, it occurred to me that there was a very real possibility that my chest had happily fused with my thighs. I began entertaining images of, my neatly folded into a frog like postured body, being gently carried to be tucked away into bed to thaw out with a nice hot water bottle. But such indulging grace was not to come my way. Very slowly I creaked myself back to erect homo sapiens form so that I may review the results of my high noon toil. I saw, I had managed to clear out a patch of about 3 square feet in size. Not much, yes, but enough to make me do the “YESS!” thing with a smile.
Meanwhile, yesterday after watering the peripheral plants and the fruit trees at the back, I took time off to visit a couple of nurseries and the internet, to check out the hand tools on offer. Oh there were all sorts of stuff that one could buy, strap around the waist and strut around the garden like a male version of Lara Croft. But I decided to stay calm and only buy according to the need of the hour. After a brief formality of exchanging paper for metal, I walked out of the nursery equipped with a proper weeding tool, a small pick axe to get in amongst the flower beds and a netted ring to attach to a long bamboo stick in order to scoop some of the perus that have begun showing up on some of the higher up branches of the guava tree.
I look forward to a brand new day tomorrow with some brand new tools.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Knee high into Weeds!!

Okay, I don't think i should wait any longer for Krishna's stand - in to come and address the weed situation. It's been a month now and there's been no sign / news from the man.
As you can see if i wait any longer the weeds will start flowering and that will cause another lot of seeds to be sprayed all over the lawn. As it is the weeds are like mid way to me knees. Any longer and i may just have to start walking in the lawn with a hunting gun in my hands instead of a watering hose.
I guess Ramana wants me to start getting a real hands on experience with gardening now.
So... come tomorrow I shall quickly water the plants on the periphery, grab that low stool and get down to some serious weeding. Which will also take me a few steps closer to starting the compost pit as i can make use of the weeds for the same.
As they say, there is a lesson hidden in everything in life.. one need only be prepared to heed and learn.
I hope i have the old song 'Turn Turn Turn' by The Mamas And The Papas on the i-pod to listen to in the morning.
The lyrics are interesting so i shall post the same here just to clear away some of ye ole cobwebs:
Turn Turn Turn
To everything - turn, turn, turn
There is a season - turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose under heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

To everything - turn, turn, turn
There is a season - turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose under heaven

A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones
A time to gather stones together

To everything - turn, turn, turn
There is a season - turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose under heaven

A time of war, a time of peace
A time of love, a time of hate
A time you may embrace
A time to refrain from embracing

To everything - turn, turn, turn
There is a season - turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose under heaven

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time to love, a time to hate
A time of peace, I swear it´s not too late!
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Thursday, 3 February 2011

The Broken Papaya & The Barren Patch of Lawn

The papaya (from Carib via Spanish), papaw or pawpaw is the fruit of the plant Carica papaya, in the genus Carica. It is native to the tropics of the Americas, and was first cultivated in Mexico several centuries before the emergence of the Mesoamerican classic cultures.

One had this accidental growth all by itself near the well and right through the iron bars of the gate as seen in the adjacent second picture.
Obviously a discarded seed ingested by some bird, but boy, did this tree give some of the sweetest papayas we have eaten.
Unfortunately there was nothing we could do to try and save this specimen by transplanting it to another location as you can see it would not have been easy to extricate it from the gate. i admit that one could have taken the trouble of sawing off some of the bars and given the tree some more space to grow, but this was all in the days prior to my taking the kind of interest in gardening as i do so now.
Sadly one fine morning the tree trunk could not bear the weight of the fruits any more on it's sloping trunk and it simply gave way and broke off from the spot as seen in the first picture.
However, during my daily routine of watering the plants i could not simply give a "pass" to the tree that gave us such sweetness without stopping and letting it have it's share of water till as such time that it would clearly indicate that it's spirit had left the body.
As miracles will continue to happen, a couple of days ago i was very pleased to see some fresh green growth occurring once again!
I shall now ensure that i provide the tree with a good support so that the same misfortune does not repeat itself.
needless to say one eagerly awaits it's sweet gifts to appear once again.

Pictures three and four are of the front lawn.
Picture four is taken from the east and shows the weeds are in full growth all over again.
New found help Krishna, had promised a substitute would come and attend to the weeding in his absence but sadly no one has turned up since the past three weeks.
Now why am i not surprised..... hmm.
However, it gives me cheer to note that underneath and amongst all the weed there has begun a healthy growth to the dormant Mexican grass that was initially laid sometime in 2002. At the time i had paid Rs.140/- a sq meter, these days i have received quotes of around Rs.400/- a sq mtr.
A young attendant girl at the nursery from where i had bought this grass had put some of my anxieties to rest by assuring me that i needn't worry too much about its maintainance adding that it bounces right back even from an almost dry dormant state. i must admit that my present experience with the same tells me that the girl knew what she was talking about.
That is why my hopes have redoubled in my determined fight against the barren patch in the north east corner of the lawn.
Thanks to our pets Lucky and Sasha, this is their favourite corner to charge to in their show of bravado against any deemed threats to the house from that direction.
Meanwhile, i googled a search for "mexican grass" and its interesting to see what i came up with. The grass that is most commonly referd to as "mexican", seems to be the following:

St. Augustine Grass
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

St. Augustine Grass or Buffalo Grass (Stenotaphrum secundatum) (also known as Charleston Grass in South Carolina) is a warm season lawn grass that is popular for use in tropical and subtropical regions. It is a low to medium maintenance grass that forms a thick, carpetlike lawn, crowding out most weeds and other grasses.


St. Augustine is a dark green grass with broad, flat blades. It spreads by above ground stolons, commonly known as "runners" and forms a dense layer of grass.
The grass originated in South Africa,[1] and it occurs on both sides of the Atlantic ocean,[2] including much of the southeastern United States,[3][4] Mexico,[2] and Central and South America.[2] It has escaped cultivation in California,[5] many Pacific islands,[2] and New Zealand.[2]
St. Augustine grass is one type of grass that commonly exists in most Caribbean and Mediterranean areas. It breeds best in tropical climates. It is often seen in lagoons, marshes, shorelines and wherever there is a good amount of moisture.

If you go to the page in wickipedia, you will find a photograph of  the same.

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Tuesday, 1 February 2011

A 2 in 1 ?

I have these 2 plants growing together.
I know that the one on the right is a Mangosteen
(Garcinia mangostana) - same genus such as the button mangosteen (G. prainiana) or the charichuelo (G. madruno).
whereas from the aroma i get after crushing one of it's leaves, the one on the left appears to be a Jambul 
(Syzygium cumini) - flowering plant family Myrtaceae.

At the time of procuring the mangosteen sapling some years ago, i do not recall whether the same was grafted onto this Jambul.
I am aware that in the case of grafts one is supposed to sever the "mother" plant off from the piggy back riding plant so that the former may not "overcome" the latter.
I realise i should have taken the picture from another angle clearly showing both the plants at the base. However, when viewed from another angle both the trunks of the plant appear to separately go into the earth but i suppose i should dig into the earth somewhat deeper to see if in fact this is a graft or simply 2 plants growing very close to each other.
Both the plants are almost 6 feet tall now and regularly giving out fresh leaves, individually
My concern is the Mangosteen.
I would very much like to nurture the Mangosteen into a full grown tree but everyone at home also loves the Jambul berry.
I suppose the best course for me to follow would be to excavate around the base and see whats going on down there and proceed on to take further remedial steps accordingly.
Whatever the findings, my fervent hope is that i shall be able to save/have both these beautiful trees.

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Found It!

Since the pumpkin seddlings have started growing I've been working upon getting material together to make a support trellis for the same to climb on to.
Walking around the backyard, i came across this abandoned grill from window that was modified of the house.
I think with a few supports this should be perfect to train the pumpkin and some other veggie creepers to cling on to.
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