Tag Archives: urban gardening

Bitter Melon in My Yard Garden

Bitter Melon/ Ampalaya Plant
Bitter melon

Bitter Melon/ Ampalaya Plant

Bitter Melon/ Ampalaya Plant
Bitter melon flower

Bitter melon or popularly known as ampalaya in the Philippines tasted bitter. Hehe ūüôā Seriously now… ¬†I love it, it’s one of my favorite vegetable and it’s really good with omelette . Others, especially the kids don’t like the bitter taste of it, so after chopping, the mother ¬†will squeezed it with salt to extract and remove the bitterness. I like it ¬†bitter where nutrients are not drained out. I tried it eaten raw, chopped with a dash of salt.¬†This would also make a perfect blend for sinuglaw, a recipe of mixed grilled meat and fresh raw fish cured in vinegar, lemon and spices. The young shoots were also good for cooking, even the leaves, I can add it with any dishes, but not too much because it will overpower the taste of your recipe.

Bitter Melon/ Ampalaya Plant
Flower turning to fruit
Bitter Melon/ Ampalaya
Sliced bitter melon

Planting this tropical climbing vine them does not need any major preparations. I just used the seeds taken out from the bitter melon which I bought from the local supermarket. I sow the seeds on the spot where I wanted them to grow. The ones that grow at the back of our house turned yellowish in color and not looking healthy maybe because the area was too hot for them. 

My bitter melon plant keep on producing ¬†fruit and my neighbors were also enjoying it. In just one seed there’s a lot of fruit to harvest. It’s worth to be planted in the yard.

Growing Mung Beans

I decided to plant mung beans or commonly known in my country as Mongo beans out of curiosity. I wanted to see what and how they will turned out as they mature as plants. I only see them as seeds and sprouts. I was thinking that maybe planting mung beans will be just an easy task because I remember myself sprouting these seeds when I was still in grade school but I really never get the chance to see them full-grown.

Mung beans are nutritious and rich in protein. We can have them  at a low price and a cup of these beans can feed the family. Both the seeds and sprouts are commonly served in a variety of  Filipino dishes. Makes a good dessert too, like Halo-halo.

I remember when I still lived with my parents, before my mother will add the cooked beans to her recipe, she will saved some for me in a bowl. When it cooled down, I will add crushed ice, powdered milk and brown sugar or sweetened milk if there’s no powdered milk available, but I liked it more with powdered milk. ūüôā

Flowers turning to seed pods.
Flowers turning to seed pods.

Okay, back to my plant. I soaked the seeds in water until it germinated before sowing it out in the prepared bed at the backyard, where it can get a full sun. And I was right with the thought that they were easy to take care of.

Mung Bean Plant
Some pods changed to color black first

The seed pods were hairy and becomes hardy and brittle as it matures.

Mung Bean Plant
I think they’re healthy.
Mung Bean Plant
Vigna sp. Member of legume family (Fabaceae)

They changed in color from green, turned to darker color,¬†then to complete black.¬†I had to tie them for support as they tend stoop down. ¬†The black ones can be harvested and the shell ¬†gets drier and brittle as it matures. You don’t want the seeds to explode and shattered on the ground. I placed the pods in a metal pan, and had it sun-dried, to remove the excess moisture.

Mung Bean Plant
The mature seed pods.

After drying I stored the beans in the jar, I was so happy with the experience, seeing this plants grow and being able to harvest them.

Green Onions in Containers

Green Onions
Green onions in used plastic bags.
Green onions in hanging plastic pots
Green onions in hanging plastic pots.

I wanted to show you my green onion plants. It’s one of the “must have spices” in our kitchen. And always an important spice for my noodle recipes. So, I planted just enough that will satisfy our needs. ¬†I started out by planting ¬†just a small part of the white stalk with roots which I bought from the supermarket. From then on, I am ¬†no longer ¬†spending money for green onions with the benefit of getting fresh produce.

When I needed some, I just cut  a part using scissors or knife, leaving the roots to grow back again.

Green onions in a plastic pot
Green onions in a plastic pot

I don’t ¬†have a big space for gardening, We only have a small place. So most of my plants were planted in containers. I planted in used plastic bags, plastic pots, clay pots, or recycled containers. ¬†I put strings on some of the light weight pots so I could hang them to keep them free from hoppers, slugs and snails.

These are my green onion plants. ¬†ūüôā

Tomatoes: A Gift from Nature

Tomatoes
Tomatoes

I was really having a hard time growing tomatoes in my garden. I sowed the seeds, eventually, it sprouted and developed into a young plant. I felt happy and satisfied seeing that it did well. I watched over it everyday. ¬†But when its flowers were starting to bloom, That’s ¬†the time when ¬† the real challenge took place. Aphids were attacking my plant. I tried searching for solutions in Google and followed the suggestions. I tried the water and soap solution, garlic solution, chili solution, and oil solution. I planted marigold as a companion plant for my tomatoes and tried it with mint and basil. I kept planting over and over again. I planted them in containers and even made ¬†a raised bed for my precious tomatoes. ¬†I was able to plant on the four sides of our yard. But all my attempts ¬†ended with failure.

Then at long last I got tired and stopped…. hehe ūüôā

I came to a point of accepting that planting tomatoes was really not for me.

After a long while, I started planting again hoping that ¬†I will make it. ¬†And I gained same result. It’s a hands up for me.

Tomatoes

One day, I noticed a tomato plant growing in our yard, but I just ignored it, thinking that it will not survive. It keeps on growing and its ¬†flowers bloom. So, I inspected it and was amazed that it’s clean. No aphids! ¬†I cultivated the soil around it and ¬†installed a support for the plant. It continually grow and bear fruits. Lots of tomatoes in just one plant that I was able to share with my neighbors. This is a gift from nature. Thank you for letting me experience the joy of having this plant.