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V is for Vegetable Garden


My earliest memory of the Daddy's vegetable garden was floating a pea pod in the water rushing down one of the narrow vegetable ditches. I was about four years old. I remember the garden being tall, green, and wild-like.

Every year, the Daddy put up a vegetable garden for the family, growing many Filipino vegetables that we couldn't buy in the grocery store. We ate a lot of long beans, bitter melon, Japanese eggplants, tabongaw (a type of gourd), Kabocha squash, saloyat (okra leaves), parda (a hairy, bigger, and thicker pea), and kabatiti (a kind of squash with ridges) during the summers. Also into the winters, after the parents bought a big freezer.

When the Daddy came home from a long day of irrigating vegetable fields, he went straight to the garden to see what needed tending. The Mama went into the garden to harvest vegetables for the evening's meal.  The Daddy was always getting after the Mama for picking the bitter melon leaves from the top rather than the bottom. Guess who tells me not to pick the bitter melon leaves from the top?

The Mama continued growing vegetables after the Daddy died. It was tough, as she was still working. I suppose being in the garden helped her deal with being a widow.

Today, as some of you know, the Mama works a few hours hours nearly every day in her vegetable garden. Along with the Filipino vegetables, the Mama plants green beans, peppers, tomatoes, chives, and Filipino green onions.  Her garden doesn't yield as much as it used to, which is fine with me. There's only so much bitter melon I can eat. The Husband won't eat it and the Mama eats only a bit of it.

Growing vegetables is a fun challenge for the Mama. Her satisfaction comes from seeing other people eat the fruits of her labor.



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Comments

  1. Growing vegetables can be so rewarding, but something I'm not very good at. My wife is the gardener at the house, and does flowers and cooking herbs. Blessings!

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    Replies
    1. You and your wife complement each other well then. :-)

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  2. it is difficult to just leave a comment Susiee, I miss the Mama

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    Replies
    1. hope to be able to visit again

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    2. Sweet Lisa, I have a feeling that we will meet in person again. :-)

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  3. Such nice memories of your parents, and so wonderful that your mama continues to garden. Gardening is good therapy as well as good eating. We are avid vegetable and flower gardeners, too. However, in the last few years the water shortage in Texas has hindered our gardening efforts. We still most always have tomatoes and squash.
    Congratulations for making it through the fourth week. I am visiting from Co-Host AJ Lauer’s Team.
    Sue at CollectInTexas Gal
    AtoZ 2015 Challenge
    Minion for AJ's wHooligans

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Sue, for the encouraging words. This will be a tough year, waterwise, for the Mama's garden. The drought here is now so bad that restrictions are being imposed.

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  4. The Dad was such a handsome dude. They both are because I recall seeing picture of them together.
    Wouldn't it be neat if I were your neighbor b/c I could eat your left-over bitter mellon. I told you that mine won't even come up and they never have it in the markets.
    Tell the Mama I'm going to try to grow it one more year and I'll think of her. Maybe it will be some good energy for the plants. lol

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    1. It surely would, Manzi, to be your next door neighbor. Lots of vegetable and fruit trading would be going on. And, if you let her, the Mama would come and have fun in your garden, too.

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  5. Wonderful photos of Dad and Mama ~ special people ~ Great post for U !

    Happy Weekend to you,
    artmusedog and carol

    ps. Internet server down yesterday ~ rerouting lines and some got broken ~ back ~ playing catch up ^_^

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  6. That's quite the gorgeous garden! I wish I was diligent enough to raise fresh vegetables, but as much as I love the end product, I never manage to keep on top of the weeds. Plus Michigan has a super short growing season, so there is the enormous hassle of starting any of the good stuff inside.

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    1. The photo of the Mama in her garden was from 2013. Last year wasn't as luscious because of the drought. We'll see how this year goes.

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  7. That's quite the gorgeous garden! I wish I was diligent enough to raise fresh vegetables, but as much as I love the end product, I never manage to keep on top of the weeds. Plus Michigan has a super short growing season, so there is the enormous hassle of starting any of the good stuff inside.

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  8. Great photos of your parents. A garden gives so much, exercise, food, community and peace. How wonderful for your mom to have that connection to her husband and you.

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    1. Both the Mama and the Daddy come from a family of farmers. It's in their soul and genes. I was surprised to find that it's in me, too.

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  9. Great photos of your parents. A garden gives so much, exercise, food, community and peace. How wonderful for your mom to have that connection to her husband and you.

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  10. I have never tried bitter melon, but I am sure I would like it. I like almost every vegetable and fruit I have ever tried, but I am a bit of an anomaly I guess. Now I need to go purchase some bitter melon and try it.

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    1. It's truly bitter, Sweetbearies. Please tell me what you thought after you taste it.

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  11. Nothing tastes better than vegetable from one's own garden. I find that you are quite lucky

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    1. I certainly am, Birgit. When I went off to college in the big city, long ago, I was surprised at how high the vegetables cost. I couldn't bring myself to buy them.

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  12. Sounds like a great variety of vegetables!

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  13. There are so many Filipinos involved in the farmers markets in Hawaii. I would love to pick your brain about some of the vegetables and fruits I see. Sometimes I will ask the seller what it is, and how to use it. Sometimes they can explain it in English, but it's hard for them. I'm always fascinated w/ exotic foods. On Maui, we also grow kabocha squash (it grows well here and can tolerate the bugs). I'm still acquiring a taste for bitter melon, but I've heard it's anti-cancerous and super good for you. Figures. Your dad would probably be at home in my wild-like garden plot. I always get a big shock when I'm away from it too long!

    Maui Jungalow

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    1. Try mixing the bitter melon with a bit of sesame oil. I like bittermelon leaves even more than the fruit, especially in chicken soup. Droooooool.

      The Mama would be in heaven at a farmers market in Hawaii. Once I almost got her to want to visit Hawaii.

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  14. Thanks for dropping in to my blog via the A-Z Challenge. I love growing my own food, too, but water shortages are affecting us here in Western Australia as well. We're allowed to hand water but can use sprinklers only twice a week for ten minutes. I still managed to grow enough to provide more than half of our needs though. www.imaginemeatclarion.blogspot.com

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    1. Water restrictions have just come out for us. We're allowed to water landscaping twice a week. Nothing about vegetable gardens. It's going to be tough on the Mama to decide where she's going to have to cutback her watering on.

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  15. i enjoy your stories, art and photos . . I am super grateful you are willing to share from your heart . . visiting your blog is a healing vacation . .

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    1. Maggid, thank you. I'm touched by your words. :-)

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  16. Love those memories. My grandparents gardened but not for vegetables. They were into flowers--mainly roses. I remember going about with my granddad pruning those and tending them. It's not easy going on after they pass but like your mama I find some comfort in attempting to garden now even though I'm terrible at it. lol

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    1. The few houseplants that I have left would probably like to thump me on the head now and then because I tend to forget to water them. I'm like that little girl with the curl. When I'm good, I'm good. And, when I'm not, I'm terrible.

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  17. Gardener since I was old enough to walk. Helped my mother and grandmother and I definitely remember making plenty of complaints. ha Now I am proud of my own yearly garden and inwardly chuckle everytime my daughters 'complain'. Can't wait to see theirs someday. I am confident they will grow something. lol

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  18. Replies
    1. Yes, there's nothing like eating the food that we grow. :-)

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  19. There's something viscerally satisfying about eating what you grow.

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    1. Yes, I find working with soil very centering to my soul.

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  20. Vegetable garden! Great V-word! Thanks for visiting my V-word, Våffla-Waffles.
    Best wishes,
    Anna

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    1. Thanks, Anna. Mention waffles and I think of the Mama's electric waffle maker from my kid days. :-)

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  21. This year I doubt we will be able to have a nice veggie garden going due to our drought problems and oh yes our new water rules which has already put a damper on many of the plants here, our fruit trees are surely suffering this year and we may still lose them yet due to not enough watering..

    I never heard of people eating Orka leaves, that is a new one on me.

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    1. Do you live in California,too? We told the Mama she has to choose between her front lawn and her veggies. So far, she hasn't complain about how brown the lawn has turned.

      The okra leaves (saluyot) plant is not the same as the okra fruit plant.

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Thanks for the good cheer. :-)

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