One of the good things about living here in KAUST is that we never have to think about watering our plants or trees because the sprinklers come on automatically twice a day. Front yard and back yard. You can literally throw seeds in the dirt and see a fruit tree sprout a week later. We’ve grown two mango trees, three avocado trees and a papaya tree (that’s already two meters high and bearing fruit) this way.
We’ve also successfully planted basil, parsley, celery, corn, carrot and radish from seeds we bought from the store. When I say “successfully” though I mean they grew and we harvested them. However, I must say that they are TINY. It could be because of the variety, or we harvested too early or that they are completely organic. Who knows.
When the corn stalks began snapping I decided it was time to harvest them. I thought they would still be immature and would be tossed in the compost pile.
But I discovered that the kernels were actually regular sized. I guess they are mini corn.
Last year we bought a banana plant from the greenhouse. After all the bananas appeared I chopped off the red flower and cooked it for lunch (it was bitter). Then we waited for the fruit to get bigger. When the stem began to snap I had to chop the bananas off and ask my more knowledgeable friends about what to do with a bunch of green bananas.
Someone told me to cover them up in a shaded place so I wrapped them in newspapers and plastic bags and put them in a shaded part of our balcony.
And voila–a few days later we had yellow bananas ready to be eaten. Turns out that in some countries the stem of the banana plant is also eaten. I peeled off the layers until I saw the white edible part of the stem and gave it to an Indian friend who then cooked it up and shared the amazing dish with us! Yum!
That single banana plant has since then grown about ten other plants that we have replanted elsewhere or given to friends. It is the gift that just keeps on giving.
Our fruit and vegetable garden is actually pretty modest. I have seen yards that have been turned into mini farms complete with irrigation systems. I have seen one yard that was completely filled with bananas. 40 plants, the owner told me. She ended up planting a bunch of them along her street, some of which are ready to be harvested now!