If these Gourds could speak, I wonder what they would tell me.
Summer is over but Fall is warmer than usual, so the Bittergourds must have decided that this is a more comfortable time to ‘bear fruit’. They’re late but as the cliché goes: Late is Better than Never.
When I mentioned this in a gardening forum, I was asked “How do you tell if the flowers will bear fruit?” So here are some photos in answer to that question.
A female flower awaiting pollination ~ look at her stem.
A male flower with a different stem
Yeah, I feel like a biology teacher revealing a specimen’s gender properties. 😆 Upon pollination, you will see a “baby gourd” forthcoming.
A new gourd in formation. Watch it and ensure it has trellis support.
Then you will be rewarded with the fruit of your labor and love.
Beautiful Bittergourd ~ yes, Beauty is in the Eyes of the Beholder.
These gourds are delicious simply stir-fried with sesame oil, garlic, salted beans and an egg.
Update: Dec 6/15 ~ Gourd in the above pic has been harvested, cooked & served for dinner.
hanging from a branch “trellis”
Could it be attributed to what everyone seems to be talking about? Global Warming? Bittergourd grows well in the Tropics but this year’s summer came like a sudden heatwave. Could that have upset its growth pattern?
We’ve only harvested a dozen this summer with perhaps another 5 more to go. Compared to last year and year before, when we got 4 times more, it makes seed saving more urgent so I sacrificed the largest to ripen for its seeds (not for consumption) and not wait till the end of the season.
Bittergourd seeds are just beautiful to look at when the gourd is ripe and the seeds are ready to be saved for the next year’s sowing.
Fresh out of the gourd.
Some with pulp removed.
Laid out for drying, to be saved for next year’s sowing.
I never knew that trying to start a Food Forest would entail such a wacky gamble but I will (try to) stick to my motto: Sow, then eat those that grow. Yes, Mother Nature never promised me a harvest quota from each seed during each season.
I waited, I monitored, I even spoke to the vines … but in vain (or so I thought).
Then suddenly this morning, it just hung there, small & green, but hung there it did, showing me that patience pays and more are forthcoming. Some say that the Bittergourd is Ugly, ah yes, but Beauty is in the Eyes of the Beholder.
So for 2015, the April warming proved fruitless but the Summer cooling to Fall is bearing fruit. *sigh* Perennials in the Tropics are Tricksters in Warm Temperate zones (very unpredictable!) but as long as growable, I’ll keep trying. So, how do I know there’s more ‘in store’?
Bitter as you may be; delicious you are to me.
Gourd, I held back the urge to harvest while you were still green, now I hope your seeds are matured enough for me to save and re-sow.
Like that old movie, *sigh* I guess not all Gourds are Created Equal. But unlike the Yellow Gourd (as posted earlier) I’m harvesting these while still green.
Might as well get my bitter kick.