Friday, August 21, 2015

Ridged Luffa Gourd (Petola)

I'm sharing today, my experiences in growing Ridged Luffa Gourd, known as Petola (in Malay). This common veggie can be found in the market whole year round. A popular veggie that is great in stir-fries, soups and the skin can be mashed and cooked in a sambal dish, as I was told by an Indian friend.

 This is the female flower. It is distinguished from the male flower by the little gourd that is attached to the flower.

 These are the male flowers, which grow in clusters. Unlike the flowers of the bitter gourds which bloom in the morning, these luffa flowers, both the female and male flowers, bloom in the evening. 

I pollinated the above female gourd manually, and it has grown in size, in just two days after the pollination. Notice the drying male flower still attached at the end of the female gourd. I've left it there when I pollinated the flowers, but the petals of the female flower has dried and fallen off.

If it is a successful pollination, the gourd would remain green and it will grow in size in a day or two. On the other hand, if the gourd starts to turn yellow, than the pollination is not successful or no pollination has occur. And I did have a few unsuccessful ones!

The first gourd, rather odd-shaped!

The second one, this looks much better! Length 15inches at time of harvest.

I harvested both the luffa gourds yesterday, the one on top, at 14 days from date of pollination. The odd-shaped one, 20 days from date of pollination, as I was unsure whether to harvest this earlier because of its shape and size, a good thing it was still tender.

When to harvest the gourds? This is the question that I have been asking myself. Should I harvest now or should I wait? This is not the first time I've grown these gourds. The first time was a few months ago. I was pretty excited when there are two lovely long gourds growing really well. My mistake was, I allow them to grow for about 3 weeks, thinking that they would be bigger and juicier! They did grow bigger, but not any juicier, only drier! And when I harvested the gourds, they have turned fibrous and hard. I did not expect the gourds to be old and hard after only three weeks! So now, I know that the best time to harvest the gourds would be at about 12-14 days from date of pollination. I would not go beyond 14 days! The best time would be about 12 days when they are young and tender, which is what you are looking for. 

Look at the tender luffa, simply lovely!  I'm pretty happy with this round of harvest, though it is only two gourds. From garden to table, what a good feeling!


Harvest of Bayam (Chinese Spinach,on the left), and Pak Choy (on the right), more than a week ago.

Happy Gardening !

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Okra (Ladies Fingers) & Belimbing : From garden to table

Okra plant is very easy to grow. I have grown them a number of times before. The okra can be harvested in less than 3 months from date of sowing. I sowed six okra seeds on 13th March, and now I have six plants growing in my potted garden, all the seeds germinated and now are producing okras daily. I harvested the first okra about a week ago, and have been harvesting about 2 okra everyday. 

The flower is really lovely, hard to imagine that okras are from these flowers! 

 The growing okra, see the drying petal of the flower still on the tip.

Lovely healthy okra, homegrown with no pesticide whatsoever. The plants are really hardy and so far I have no problem of any bugs or plant pests.

Harvested 5 okras from this plant alone! Note : Okras are best harvested at 3-4 days. Yup, 3-4 days old. Once the flowers start to produce the okra, they grow really quick, in a matter of a few days! So it is advisable to harvest them when they are 3 to 4 days old. This is the time when they are at their best, tender and delicious. They turned hard and old really quickly, and this could happen overnight!

 More okras, this will be perfect to be harvested in two days time.

 My okra harvest.

I have been harvesting about 2 okras daily and I kept them in a zip lock bag, store them in the fridge for about a week, until I have enough to make a dish.

 Harvested some belimbings too! 

What's for dinner tonight?

Sambal Belimbing Chicken and Stir-Fry Okra with Dried Prawns. 

The okras are young and tender, and tasted delicious!

Happy Gardening !

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Nai Pak Choy harvest

I sowed some nai pak choy seeds and the veggies was harvested about 65-70 days later.

A basketful of Nai Pak.

The seedlings.

Harvesting day!

Some close-up shots before I pulled them out!

I stir-fry them with lots of garlic, stems are crispy and fresh, leaves are tender!

Now, let's take a look at my Kai Lan harvest.

The last of my Kai Lan harvest. I have harvested 5 times from my two containers of Kai Lan since I sowed the seeds six months ago. Very happy with the harvests! The main stems are very hardy and seems to grow in awkward directions, so  I have decided to use the containers to grow other veggies. 

Happy Gardening !