Thursday, October 29, 2009

The brinjals have arrived

After a break, the garden gave birth to another variety - the brinjal(or egg-plant). The plant grew rapidly once the seeds were sown. There were many flowers - beautiful saffron flower-like, but none of them turned into a vegetable. yesterday, I spotted the first flower which has just started to turn into a brinjal.

Another interesting thing is that the leaves have little thorns all over them. Am awaiting the Brinjal's birth very keenly.

What should I do next with the Potato?

Dear reader,
One of the potatoes I had bought recently had a small cut, as a result of which I just threw it out into the garden instead of using it for making a dish. Yesterday, I discovered that a long green shoot has sprouted from it. I was thrilled. However, I do not know the next steps. Should I sow the potato underground or just allow it to remain on the surface? Please advise.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Diet and diabetes

I found this nice site on a guide to your diet and diabetes at , dealing specifically about food and diabetes. The website is a University of Illinois Extension programme

The elusive Pumpkins

For once, I am going to express my disappointment.
It was an accidental beginning. One fine day, i saw a creeper climbing our wall. I discovered that it was a pumpkin creeper. Since I had not planted it neither had i sown any seeds, I am sure it must have found its way from the kitchen waste. To my utter excitement, it kept growing longer and longer. It flowered everyday, giving more than 10 flowers per day. However, its been more than 2.5 months now and it has not yielded even a single pumpkin. Its thick growth started hampering the other plants, and i was forced to remove the creeper yesterday! I am still wondering why it never bore a pumpkin.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

My other blog -

Hello readers, if you have an interest in technology, and information technology in particular, I maintain another blog at . You will find latest tech trends, news and events, loads of free downloads of books and software, useful links and lots more.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Growing Mint is easy

Mint is a very nice spice to have in the garden. And i discovered that its very easy to grow them. All I did was buy mint from the market, which is sold as a bunch of stems containing the leaves, some of the stems having roots. I planted the stems in a pot. Within a week's time, small mint leaves have sprung out of the barren stem.

Mint Leaves have the Botanical name of Mentha Sativa and in Tamil, they are known as Pudina, as in most other Indian languages. In addition to its property of spicing up food, Mint is widely known as a medicinal herb.

Medicinal properties
Ayurveda, traditional Indian medicinal system, makes extensive use of the Mint leaves as a medicine. Some of the effects of Mint on the human body are:
  • It is a good appetizer
  • Causes contraction on skin application and reduces swelling
  • It is cooling - refrigerant
  • Strengthens the stomach
  • It is a diuretic
  • It is a stimulant
  • Relieves flatulence - carminative
  • Relieves spasms
  • It is an aphrodisiac
  • Restores the normal tone of tissues - tonic
  • Promotes the oral ejection of mucus by spitting (Expectorant)
  • Found to be effective in the treatment of - Digestive disorders
    - Liver disorders
    - Gall bladder disorders
    - Anorexia
    - Vomiting
    - Poor digestion
    - Bleeding diseases
    - Diarrhea

    Preparing mint chutney:


    Mint leaves – 2 bunches
    Black gram (urud dal) – 3 spoons full
    Ginger – 1 small piece
    Ghee – 10 ml
    Pepper – 1
    Rock salt – according to taste

    It is usually prepared as chutney. Separate the leaves. Wash and saute them in ghee for two minutes. Along with sauteed black gram, ginger, rock salt, and pepper, put it into a mixer and grind it into a smooth paste. The chutney is ready.

    More information is available at:

Friday, October 9, 2009

Bitter Gourds - Another quick result with little effort

Looks like the Gods favor the Gourds. Like my experience with the Ridge Gourd, it has been a little effort - quick and good results with the Bitter Gourds (Scientific Name : Momordica Charantia L.) . The Bitter Gourd is known as Karela in most parts of India and as Paavakkai in Tamil.

I bought a handful of seeds for 5 Rs. (Indian Rupees). Planted it in a part of the kitchen garden. The vines started growing. This vine has a slender hairy stem with numerous branches and dense foliage. The plant grows up to 6 feet tall and develops small, yellow flowers both male and female, on the same plant. The fruits are green usually oblong, has an irregular surface with warts and 8-10 vertical ridges. When ripe, the fruits turn yellowish orange in colour.
The bitter gourd thrives in hot and humid climates

Regular watering with plenty of water is essential for its growth. Flowers will start appearing in 5-6 weeks and fruition will occur between two to four months. Mature fruits are ready to be picked within3 months from planting and they will be light green and juicy with white flesh but bitter. Pick the fruits every 2-3 days when they are still at the tender stage. Regular picking is important as fruits will become more bitter as they mature and it can also hamper the growth of new fruits.
Leave some fruits to reach full maturity if they have to be reserved for subsequent crops. When fully mature, the fruits will break open on its own and release brown or white seeds which can be collected.

Nutritional Value :
44 kcal, 5.6 g protein, 290 mg calcium, 5 mg iron, 5.1 mg vitamin A, 170 mg vitamin C per 100 g serving. Its a miralce cure for diabetes.
Its nutrient content surpasses all other vegetables. Bitter gourd contains Vitamin A, B1, B2, and C. It also contains minerals like calcium, phosphorus, iron, copper and potassium. It purifies blood, enhances digestion, and stimulates the liver. It is an excellent natural source of insulin. The skin, seeds and the vegetable on the whole can be consumed in many forms. Diabetics are recommended to drink the juice of tender bitter gourds to keep their sugar levels in check. It can be stuffed with potato masala and shallow fried. You can even grill it. It can be cut into thin slices and fried like chips with salt and chilly powder. The skin can be washed, fried well and ground with coconut, green chilly and tamarind to make chutney. In whole, bitter gourd plays a vital role in keeping the sugar under control for a diabetic.

Multilingual List of Indian Vegetables, Spices and grains

One thing which troubles me most is that I am in a State different from my home State, resulting in a language spoken at home very alien to the language used in the markets. Worse still, English - the lingua franca of the Internet, is foreign to both these languages. While managing simple conversation in any of these three languages is not a difficult task, what is painful is deciphering the names of vegetables, spices and grains.

Bhinda is Lady's Finger in Gujarati. It is Vendakkai in Tamil.
Thanks to Wikipedia, I discovered,_spices_%26_grains which contains a very nice and well-presented reference for the names of Vegetables in Indian languages.

Growing Ridge Gourd - My experience!


Wondered why I was out of action for quite a while? No marks for guessing. I was at the garden, trying to experiment. I am amazed at Nature. So disciplined, so perfect (Unlike us).

I bought ridged gourd seeds (a handful of them for 5 Rupees [Indian]) and sowed them in my backyard. Lo and behold, the creeper started growing real fast. It has stretched all across my compound wall(with timely interventions by me to keep it on the wall). In less than a month, it has given me four nice, long and ready to cook. No fertilizers, no compost. Just water it and it keeps growing.
The Ridge Gourd is called Gisoda or turiya in Gujarati , Beera kaya (బీర కాయ) in Telugu, Heeray kayi in Kannada and Peerkankai in Tamil.
Nutrition Value:Ridge gourd is low in saturated fat and cholesterol, high in dietary fibre, vitamin C, riboflavin, zinc, thiamin, iron, magnesium and manganese. The nutritional value of gourd makes it suitable for maintaining optimum health, weight lose. It has excellent cooling properties.
How to cook Ridge Gourd:
Ridge gourd can be cut into slices and fired in batter like our chilli bajjies. A healthier option would be to make gravy out of it. Fry some onions, tomatoes, garlic with some salt and chilli powder. Add some cubed ridge gourd and let it cook on a simmering flame. Add half a cup of milk and let the gravy thicken. After removing from flame, season and serve hot.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Indian Borage

The Indian Borage is a very useful plant which works like a miracle on common cold and sore throat. Take a leaf and munch it raw. Its very pungent but powerful too.

Growing the Indian Borage

The easiest way to propagate the Indian Borage is to use stem cuttings (Seeds can also be used, where available).Cut a length of the central stem. Each segment should be approximately 5-8 inches and have several nodes. Remove the leaves from the bottom two to three nodes and insert into the soil.It's important to make sure your pot has good drainage. Ideally, the soil should be moist. Take care not to overwater as this plant does not like wet conditions.If you live in the tropical or subtropical areas, place the plant in semi-shade. If the amount of sun is right, the leaves should be a nice jade-green. If it is getting too much sun, the leaves turn yellow and start curling; not enough sun, and the leaves turn a dark shade of green.In cooler regions, the plant can be placed in full sun. As it is susceptible to frost, you may want to grow it in a pot which can be moved indoors or to more sheltered areas during winter.

Welcome to India Gardening

Hello visitors,
I am an amateur gardener, trying to set up my own little but nice garden (home garden/ kitchen garden) in down South India. I have been collecting lot of information on setting up a garden, buying plants, maintaining them etc. I will move this entire collection to this blog slowly but surely to share the info. will all those who love to garden.

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