WHAT else is harvested in summer when we do not water most of our plants? Oh well, we are trying not to water our squash patch, testing our theory that this does not need any watering because our patch has been heavily mulched and we did not pull any weeds that used to grow in the area.
Everything wilted under the decaying tree twigs and leaves dumped last year by the General Services Office of the provincial government. This was supposed to provide humus, a moist layer of decaying matter on top of the soil. It has been almost two months since the last rains here. Only the early morning dew did us a favor of keeping the surfaces moist until the sun would turn real hot and dries the dew on the leaves.
Our daily harvest has begun to dwindle. Unlike in November when there were more flowers and were larger, burak in the past few days appeared small and lesser. Squash harvest has been steady at around 10 per week, taken off the vines every other day. We have to harvest them young and small lest we risk losing the fruits either to astray cows or passers-by.
Besides squash and its flowers, we are getting many malunggay leaves. Some of our trees have been flowering and we have pods maturing up the trees. We often neglect harvesting green malunggay pods. The trees have grown too high and I am often torn between pruning and leaving it alone. By the way most have flowers and it feels like aborting the fruits before they have taken off from the flowers.
All four papayas are bearing fruits. Most however are only as big as a fist. Nevertheless, we also harvest them green and these are good in tinola. Free-range chicken is an easy match. In the past three months we have been harvesting four to five green papayas almost weekly.
Wild ampalaya leaves also come handy. Harvest young tops daily and more come up the next day. There are times when I gather small fruits for pinakbet or simply sauteed with a beaten egg. My favorite though is adding the tiny fruits in soupy sotanghon with spare ribs.
I almost forgot that we steadily harvest cassava. Be it cooked in coconut milk, grated to make bibingka-like delicacy my Nanay call pigar-pigar, or simply cooked with a little water and a pinch of salt, cassava has become a staple at The Happy Scion. Sometimes we forget to offer visitors our harvest of cassava. It has become a gift item and it gives me a feeling of guilt whenever I forget to offer. My favorite is grated cassava placed on top of a rice while its cooking. It also makes the rice tastier and the cassava is so moist and soft this way.
Three samsamping vines provide us both young pods for dinengdeng and blue flowers for our healthy drinks. These vines like the soil moist so we water from time to time.
Blue ternate flowers make interesting drinks for children. After the hot water has turned blue, I call their attention as I squeeze a calamansi and ask them to observe as colors change. Some prefer it cold so we add ice cubes and a little brown sugar to taste.
I prefer blue tea in hot milk, especially at bedtime.
Adults in the garden drink green tea everyday. At least when I am around to do the steeping of either mulberry, calabash or Indian green tea leaves. I usually boil lemon grass in a takure, then add the other leaves after the water has boiled and the pot taken out of the wood-fed stove.
We have ample supply of these green tea leaves so we can afford to have fresh leaves everyday. Thus we find no need for drying the leaves.
Oregano proves not needing much watering, too. Until now, we have not been watering our herbs and we still have them when needed.
Holy basil wilts with very dry soil, so we tried to rescue it by keeping the soil moist.
We will surely lose many of our plants if we do not water. At least we know now which will thrive in which weather and which to keep on hot sunny days.