Friday, July 27, 2012

Watermelon Radish Life-Cycle

 Watermelon Radish looks like a fruit when you cut it into half as the bright reddish colour under the skin show itself. I would like to express my gratitude to Mr. H at Subsistence Pattern for introducing us to this gorgeous radish and the precious seeds we received. I miss Subsistence Pattern posting as their passion of growing their own food and saving seeds is always so inspiring. Surprisingly, this radish variety does not have the pungent radish smell like the other varieties in the radish group. Watermelon radish resemble turnip at a glance. But it can grow much bigger at the size of  my palm remaining juicy without becoming woody. Compared with other radish variety that we have grown in our garden, watermelon radish root growth is rather slow. However, we are very fond of this radish flavour compare with other radish. This is one of our favourite radish to grow in the garden list after the heat waves has gone and the weather turns milder.

 But in our climate, sowing watermelon radish in spring just make the plants bolt early without producing much root. This is similar case with daikon (Japanese radish) and some other varieties as well. I am not sure the reason why but I was thinking that some radish varieties might be sensitive to the longer-daylight hours.  The best season in our garden for sowing watermelon radish or daikon will be end of summer or early fall for producing nice size of roots. We also extend the sowing season up till June/July (early~mid winter) for succession sowing just to replace other veggies that have been harvested.
 Watermelon radish can be grown well in container. Just make sure the soil does not dry out, keep moist. If the part top of the root or shoulder is well-exposed to the sunlight, this part will turn green but still edible. I frequently make mistake with the watermelon radish spacing and sowed to closely with each other. I forgot that watermelon radish does seems to have larger size of leaves compared with the other radish that we grow. So more space in between is required to harvest bigger roots. 
Unintentionally, some watermelon radish starts to flower and it was nice timing at that time since no other brassica veggies were producing flower so it was a chance to collect seeds. I never can catch up in each spring with harvesting before the plants starts to flower. Letting one plant flower for collecting seeds is more than enough supply for a few years. The watermelon radish flower resembles daikon and kailan (chinese broccoli) closely. The watermelon radish seed pod is roundish at the bottom and with a long pointy end. Last end summer, we sowed some of this fresh seeds just to confirm whether the seeds is pure or not. We were happy that no cross-pollination occurred and we managed to harvest pure seeds.

Sorry, I have not been a good blogger friend this few months.
Since last Sunday Rayyan has not feeling well maybe caught some bug.
He transferred it to me, so I started not feeling well today.
Getting rounder and 37 weeks pregnant already, waiting for baby to decide her date of birth.
Its getting harder to fall asleep, feel like a zombie.
Hope to catch up.

Sesiapa yang berminat untuk cuba tanam watermelon radish lawatilah laman ini (klik ayat ini).

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Da Cheong Chae Harvest Week

Most of the harvest last week were from our backyard container garden.
Last week, we harvested our last batch of parsnip harvest for this year after growing them for almost 10 months with the leeks. Not much parsnip this year due to heat wave earlier this year the ones growing on the soil all perished and had to be harvested earlier. Only the ones growing in container survive, although some of the leaves got burned. However, it revived. The first purple vienna kohlrabi harvest for this year for us.
Main harvest of this weeks which is almost on every harvest photos is Asian greens Da Cheong Chae from only one small polystyrene container. Da Cheong Chae has very dark green and big leaves. Since only 3 of us now, harvesting 3 da cheong chae plants each time is more than enough for one meal.
 Afghanistan carrots that were harvested this week were from our home-saved seeds collection.
Parsnip and sweet potatoes.
Parsnip for the chicken korma.
Sweet potato fritters for Sunday breakfast.
Both dishes prepared by dear hubby.
Some chillies and Italian Sprouting broccoli sprouts for fish curry. Hubby the temporary chef (I am on leave from the kitchen until not sure when) asked for eggplants or okra which not going to fruit in this cold winter. So broccoli were use as substitute for his fish curry menu. We eat what is in season and learn how to improvise. We harvested some baby kailan (chinese broccoli) because we need to thin them as they were sowed really closely to each other. Finally, for 2 years now we don't have the need to buy kailan seeds anymore as kailan seeds collected from our own garden has been sufficient enough up till now. Germination rate of these seeds is also very good so I am very happy with it. The benefit of growing non-hybrid plants. So, I can allocate my seeds shopping budget for new plants each year.
This is the dish my husband cook for us last Saturday, fresh from our garden.
This is his version of Stir-fry kailan with salted mackeral fish.
I have to show my appreciation to my husband since I rarely cook these days (I only cook once a week due to my health state at the moment)...hehehe...Last week went for an ultrasound because I was a bit anxious wanting to confirm again our baby I am carrying is in good health. I am 34 weeks pregnant and baby doing good about 2.1kg now. Rayyan was born at 37 weeks with 2.3kg which was more than a kilogram lighter than Ilhan was. To be honest, I am a little bit scared and alone without other family to lean on except hubby. Hubby really happy at the moment as we might have a girl this time and I am getting more extra pampering. Baby birth estimation date is the same day as my PhD completion date (18th August 2012) in total of 4 years. Very ironic and unlucky with date I am. However, realistically I don't think I can finish before that date. In actual, I have taken more than 3 months of  leave of absence due to Rayyan medical reason. So, I should get another 3 months extra for it to be 4 years. Sigh...worry...but see how much I can do this month. Don't want to dwell too much on it yet of the uncertain things.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Welcome Back Home Harvest

It has been almost a week since we have been back from Melbourne. The recently discharged patient is recovering well. He starts to climb and making mischief which shows he is feeling better and is his usual self again. I am breathless to catch up with him. We were surprised when we reached home how much growth the plants in the garden had. The next day after back from home, me and Rayyan spent time in the morning in the garden harvesting while dear papa cleaned the house and let the air in after a long time away from home.
Our more than one year old an Italian sprouting broccoli plant made Rayyan happy with so many sprouts to pick. He is spoil rotten, he does not want to eat any broccoli or any other veggies in the hospital or Japanese bento take out, although it looks prettier than the one we pick in our garden. He prefers home-grown vegetables so mama has to make sure there is a supply of veggies for him. His older brother Ilhan who is now living in Malaysia at the moment has been reported to be very fussy and refusing to eat vegetables as well since its not mama veggies maybe. I have pampered my children with organic goodies, lucky boys. Rayyan was happy with the broccoli harvest as he keep asking for more in his meal.
We had one small snowball cauliflower and green dragon broccoli harvested.
Some alpine strawberry fruits treat for Rayyan.
Cut some Rainbow chard stems and some Pak choi for our kind neighbours looking after our home and keeping our mails.
We had some capsicums and chillies ready to be harvested. Carrots that was left after Rayyan kept on shouting in my ears he wanted some carrots to munch while following me around the garden. I think he ate at least 5 medium size carrots freshly harvested in the garden.
Red Choi needed to be pick quickly before it flowers.
Pak choi, tatsoi and lettuce.
I did not realised that some pink radish was ready to be pick in one of the containers as it was covered with weeds. Some turn woody or split.

I have not been a good blogger friend these past few weeks, hopefully I will be able to catch up soon. Thank you so much for all your support and good wishes.