A common backyard staple in our region is the Teasle gourd. In the rainy season, all kinds of gourds flood the markets-- ridge, snake, bottle, ash, and bitter gourd, but the teasle is my favourite! Even the bloom (pictured above) is beautiful! This plant also grows in the wild. On a recent trip, I saw the climber on roadsides, at the edge of the jungle.
Here's the climber on the guava tree. Last year the growth wasn't worth a trellis and I forgot all about it. But recently, I noticed it even had some of the fruit ready for the picking! A bonus really, because while looking for the gourd I invariably find a ripe guava behind a leaf!
The Teasle gourd/Momordica dioica originated in the Indian sub- continent and is cultivated in our neighbouring countries too. The vegetable has a mild taste and according to Wiki, is rich in calcium, phosphorus, iron, and carotene. Edible parts are the fruit and the tender leaves. The vegetable is known as Kakrol. In Assam we call it Bhat kerela.
Propagation is through the tuberous roots. With the first rains in March, tender shoots sprout from the tubers. Then I loosen up the soil, add manure and leave it to Mother Nature.I have dug up one tuber and planted it in another spot. It's doing well but no blooms so far. Roadside flower shops generally sell the tubers before the rainy season.
Harvest! Need I add that everything I grow tends to be much smaller than what's available in the market?
Fried on their own or stuffed with spicy potatoes and then fried in a batter, the taste is great! I also boil them (in very little water), mash them, add chopped onions, pepper, salt and fresh herb. Goes well with rice/dal.
And the one that I missed!! Too ripe to be consumed. The contrast of colours is striking, don't you think?
Glory be to God for dappled things- For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow; For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim; Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings; Landscape plotted and pieced--fold, fallow, and plough; And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim. All things counter, original, spare, strange; Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?) With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim; He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: Praise him. Gerard Manley Hopkins
The first flowering shrub I planted on our land
Every flower is a soul blooming in Nature.-Gerard De Nerval
Shall I not have intelligence with the earth? Am I not partly leaves and vegetable mould myself? -Henry David Thoreau