MLK Quote

MLK Quote

Nature's Inspiration Movie -- Nature's Inspiration Movie: The photographs in this short video are from award-winning photographer, Ken Jenkins, and they are breathtaking. However, this video is much more than beautiful photographs! Peggy Anderson has compiled beautiful quotations from the likes of Emerson, Thoreau, and many others that truly capture the beauty of nature and solitude. Absolute must watch for nature lovers.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Heartbreak and A Dilemma

All my Broccoli, Cabbage and Cauliflower seedlings have died. There were four or five of them each. I will blame it on the funky weather. They were thriving and growing inside. The weather was fantastic with temperatures reaching 50's and 60's; so, I planted them outside and the temperature dropped to 26 degree F. GRRRRRRRRREAT!!! I became so depressed, as you can see, that I even stopped blogging. But every cloud has a silver lining. In midst of all these tragedies, I found that silver lining inside my green-house which at once lifted me out of my misery. Swiss-Chard, Broccoli, Garlic, Beet, Spinach, Celery, Fenugreek, Mustard, Lettuce and Radish are thriving, almost becoming a mini-jungle. And, there lies my dilemma. They are growing so beautifully with full of life and vigor and glossy green leaves that I don't have the heart to eat them. What to do?

Red globular radish on the left; icicle (the big white carrot-looking type) radish on the right. Can you see a red globe of radish poking her head from the ground?

Spinach, Celery and Beet from left to right respectively. I read everywhere that certain plants cannot be transplanted; spinach, radish and beet apparently are those types of plants. But I have had no problems, so far, in transplanting them. I grew them in small plastic growing-pots and then transplanted them.

A bed of Swiss-Chard with some lettuce thrown in the middle on the left; a small bed of garlic on the right. The garlic bed has lots of weeds as you can see. I do not know what they are. They look very pretty and dainty. I let them grow. I have read that these types of ground-hugging weeds can be beneficial; they are acting as live mulch; their roots are protecting the soil and soil structure; also their roots can harbor good microbes and the plants can also add important chemical elements to the ground.

Now, I have to tell you a story, a story that teaches us to give everything a second chance and never give up. I bought two broccoli plants last spring (2011). As they started putting up broccoli head, someone came and ate them. That "someone" not only ate the tiny broccoli heads but also the plants, stems and leaves included. Nothing of the two plants were left except a shriveled leaf-less, brownish mid-stem. You can see that brownish (or off-white) stem in the third picture. I left them those stems in the ground as I do not follow the Bible of most gardeners - picking everything up and cleaning, tidying up the ground. One of those stems rot and died; the other one slowly has become the plant that you are seeing in the picture. It has not only become lush and green but it is even producing lots of heads. A picture of a head is as above, but many more developing on the sides. It is a wonder how that almost dead stem has become this plant. Gardening is not only filling me with awe but it is teaching me all sorts of valuable lessons: patience, without it one simply cannot do gardening - sow a seed and wait for two months for it to emerge out of the ground; discipline to note everything, write down all details and visit the garden every day; dedication - water and feed the plants, take care of the seedlings as you would take care of your babies and old parents; never give up - not only the broccoli plant but many plants, that I have, never gave up; they came back from the verge of death; give everything/everybody a second chance - those plants that were dying or looked like as if they were dying, I didn't pull them out of the ground; I left them there (not because I at that time decided to give them a second chance but as I mentioned before I don't clean up my garden) and they came back from death to amaze me, and I learned my lesson.

Fenugreek...fenugreek...everywhere...and I can't pull them and eat. The dilemma I was talking about. Fenugreek plants are extremely beneficial to health. It is one of the medicinal herb, that was used not only by the ancient Indian and Greek civilization, but it is being still used today by Pharmaceutical companies (to make medicine) and Ayurvedics. Fenugreek-seeds are used as spices; they are available in any Indian Grocery Stores here in the US; they are also available in many supermarkets. The seeds seem to retain potency to germinate even after 5-6 years. I had some old seeds; I scattered them around and they grew. They have an extremely fast germination and growing rate; they germinate overnight and start growing like wild fire. The baby-leaves can be eaten raw in salad; the matured plants can be sauteed lightly with some garlic; the leaves can be dried and used as herb/spice (kasuri-meethi, an important ingredient in many Indian cooking is created by drying the leaves). Can you locate the lettuce plants :-)?

Mustard greens. Mustard seeds are readily available in any Indian stores as they are an important spice in Indian cooking. Again, they are also available in many of the US Supermarkets. Another extremely easy plant to grow. Scatter the seeds (as if you are feeding pigeons); you do not have to cover them up or water them; they will germinate within couple of days. I have read somewhere that mustard plants are used to do environmental cleaning as these plants can absorb all the poisonous chemicals from the ground, like mercury, lead, arsenic, poisonous pesticide, insecticide, etc, and still survive. In that case, the whole plant, stem and leaf included, will be saturated with these chemicals. Thus, it is better to grow your own organic mustard-greens; also, it is better idea not to eat them grown in a field/pot and you do not know if the soil in the field/pot has had any chemical exposure.

And all these plants - broccoli, lettuce, celery, radish, etc, etc - are growing in a small tiny plot as seen in the picture below


  1. Pleased to know that after the initial frustration of some of your veg dying that the ones left inside the greenhouse have done well. Definitely something worth smiling about :)

    Interesting story, a lesson in being patient and giving some plants a chance. Lovely looking veggies btw :)

  2. Your fenugreek looks a lot like rue. :o) As beautiful as your veggies are, I'd eat them and then replace them with something else beautiful and fun to grow. Gardening is the best teacher I've ever had. You just have to stay open to the lessons your garden is teaching you. We're all wiser for it.

  3. Your veggies look great. I give all my plants a second chance. Sometimes they come back. I have several dead sticks out there now! :) And I've lost lots of veggie seedlings, just a part of gardening. Interesting information about the mustard greens!

  4. Don't be discouraged. It's a learning process. This week's lesson: importance of hardening off.

    Keep it up.


  5. They are growing very robust! Its been a long time that I have not grown icicle radish. You made me miss them;-). Need to find some seeds now.

  6. So sorry that your lovingly nurtured seedlings died. Things like this happen in a garden and we just have to accept that and move on, even though it is not easy. To me it is totally amazing how many vegetables and herbs your get out of your garden. The fenugreek looks fantastic! Each time, when I visit your blog I think I should grow more herbs and start with vegetables, too. Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. Eat them, Eat them, Eat them! More will grow! I had a broccoli plant that had the top nibbled out of it - I think by mice and it rewarded me with 3 big heads and then when I ate them I got lots of side shoots after that. (there's a lesson there somewhere) If you don't eat them they just go to seed and die anyway (I'm thinking particularly about the fenugreek)and then think how bad you'll feel then - you'll have neither the plant or the satisfaction of a home grown meal.

  8. Wow... your fenugreek look wild. Your garden must look like a feast with so many plants thriving beautiful. Sorry couldn't read sooner. My internet and phone connections were on hold as we shifted to a new place of residence.

  9. Everything in your outdoor garen looks very healthy and productive so don't worry about disasters...we all have them.

  10. Ah gardening can bring such pleasure and pain all at once. I've never had fenugreek and am interested in natural medicines, what does it do?
    Your plants are quite beautiful, a success for sure.
    I'm going to plant a few things soon but will be using floating row cover to protect them from the cool weather we have every other day.

  11. Hi Bakingbarb: you are right - it is full of pleasure and heart-break; fenugreek, or Indian clover, is really good for health - it detoxifies your body, helps against blood-sugar, cancer, arthritis, etc, etc. I eat it for its beautiful taste as greens; fenugreek seed used in cooking give a kind of sweet smell and also bitter taste.

    Hi Bridget - thank you. :-).

    Hi Sri - hehehe...actually it does not as I don't follow any aesthetic plan to plan my garden. Here and there are things popping up.

    Hi Liz - I agree. Thanks for that inspiration. I read your comment and that inspired me to go out, pull out the plants and eat them. You are right - I lose many plants by not eating them and they dying out eventually!!!

    Hi Christina - we all are inspiring each other. Isn't this blogging great :-)? Thank You. I would love to see your veggies and herbs.

    Hi Malay - thanks for dropping by. Icicle radish is a big Indian veggie. Strange that I don't grow them that much.

    Hi Ian -- thanks for dropping by; you are right. But, I am still learning and my salute to farmers who work so hard but many times get so many set-backs.

    Hi Holley - waiting to see your veggie seedlings :-).

    Hi Casa - you are right. Garden and nature is indeed the greatest teacher. Unfortunately, we are losing such great teachers.

    HI Mark and Gaz - thank you.

  12. Oh my gosh your garden is amazing. I agree with Liz, you must eat all those lovely vegetables, and then they'll regenerate. I think the little setback you had is nothing compared to the success you've enjoyed. I do agree with you that you have to have a lot of patience in a garden, I used to pull things out if they even drooped for a minute, but now like you I let them go through their complete cycle.

  13. Hey KL,

    How come there are no posts on your blog lately? I miss reading your thought on gardening. I do hope everything is alright.