Wake Up!!!

I am retired so most of the times there is no strong motivation to wake up early and prepare for the day but one reason that encourages me to get up early is gardening, specially these days when it gets so hot by 10 am. Thanks for the rain last night, it’s a bit cooler this morning but I can already feel the humidity.

My small garden is thriving well! The birds are singing, serenading me while I sit on our back porch drinking coffee. They sing louder when I put their morning seeds in their feeder, so it seems. I noticed that there are actually Chipmonks that share with the birds. I saw the other one coming from our neighbor’s yard run toward the feeder while the other one that lives in our backyard was already feeding.

One of these days I will buy a bird Cam so that I can get a good photograph of birds/Chipmonks that come to our yard. I can’t take good photos of them up close because they are wild and skittish. As long as I sit still they continue to feed but any slight movement will cause them to go away.

I have harvested fruits twice already from my Roma and Red Beefsteak tomatoes. The Roma tomatoes are doing excellent despite the fact that they are planted in a flower pot and only getting 4-5 hours of direct sunlight.

Roma Tomato
Two Roma tomatoes planted next to the wall.
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How Time has Change

Actually, I am the one that has changed a lot this past few years. As an example, I used to garden all around our 2000 square ft + home. Now, I just have a few feet of gardening space and it’s just enough space for me to manage.

Although we live in the city, we are lucky enough to have wooded surroundings and with store bought seeds I’m able to attract wild birds to my yard and even Chipmonks, I never know if I have more than one of them coming to our bird feeder since I cannot tell one from another.

I enjoy watching the birds come and feed while sipping my morning coffee. Yes lots of things has changed for me but my love of nature, trees, birds and other creatures will never change.

How To Clean Bitter Melon Seeds

The Video shows how to remove the gelatinous coating of Bitter Melon 
seeds.  

Part of Fall season gardening activities is gathering seeds for next planting 
season.  Some seeds are easier to collect than others as they come out dry but most
of them are coated with some gooey substance that has to be removed from the seeds.  One
of these seeds is the Bitter Melon seed.  Each seed is coated with a brightly red 
gelatinous substance.  I surmise that this substance attracts ants which eat the sweet,
mushy substance but leave the seeds alone and usually some of the seeds will sprout in the 
the coming year but very late in the season so it is best to collect the seeds instead of 
leaving them in the ground.  The seeds need to be cleaned and air dried at room temperature so
so that mildew or fungus will not harm it.  When they are very dry they can be wrapped 
in dry paper towel then placed in a plastic bag.



Gardening In The City – I

It is good to know that even if we live in a condo facility I can still garden.  However most of my plants are in containers.  The Condo facility where we live allow an individual homeowner to garden in a limited space behind the home, as long as it’s taken care of by the homeowner.   Home owners are also allowed to use flower pots placed in entry way only so that it does not get in the way of maintaining/landscaping the front yard.  Below are photos of my garden this year.

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The plant climbing on a trellis is a Bittermelon (Ampalaya, in Tagalog; Amargoso, in Bicol dialect).  As the name implies, the fruit is bitter but it has lots of medicinal value such as to fight or prevent diabetes and cancer.  The leaves are lacy and beautiful.  It is easy to control and train to stay only in areas where you want the vine to stay.  You simply guide the plant towards the area where you want it to cling.  If it clings to forbidden area, just pinch the tendril or clinger and move the vine away.  It will cling to anything on its path but the good thing is that it is easy to redirect the errant branch.

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The Bittermelon bears both male and female flowers in the same plant.  Above photo shows the front view of male yellow flower.  It has yellow orange anther which holds the pollens.

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The above photo shows the side view of the male flower.  It does not have a fruit nodule at the base of the flower as compared to the female flower.

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The above photo shows the female flower which has closed, I assume, after having been pollinated and ready to develop the fruit at its base.

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The above photo shows the immature fruit.

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The above photo shows the mature fruit.

It is good to note that there are several varieties of this plant that bears fruit in varying sizes depending on the variety.  The above plant bears a medium size fruit ranging from 4-inch to 6-inch in length.  The size is also affected by how rich the soil that the plant is planted in.

My favorite seed source for Asian Vegetable seeds: Kitazawa Seeds Company