Planting Turmeric and Pigeon Peas
Our perennial row, planted alongside our Farm Club plots, received two new additions this past week: turmeric and pigeon peas. Turmeric is a perennial herbaceous plant in the ginger family that produces the brilliantly colored rhizomes you might be familiar with. Since turmeric thrives in warm and humid conditions, it can handle our summer heat and all of this rain we’ve been getting. Pigeon peas are a perennial legume that can be grown as both a food crop and cover crop. Like turmeric, pigeon peas thrive in both tropical and semitropical regions.
After anxiously checking over the last few weeks, we finally noticed the first flowers and fruits on the Comprido Verde Claro eggplant variety we’re growing! Comprido Verde Claro is a later-maturing variety that yields ribbed, light green eggplants that are smaller in stature. Unlike our other eggplant varieties, it has serrated leaves and white flowers. It is a popular vegetable in Brazil where it is called “Jiló”. Though it’s often referred to as a Brazilian eggplant, this variety made its way to Brazil from West Africa during the slave trade.
The rain subsided just long enough to allow us to transplant two new crops on the farm: bitter melon and Torpedo melon. Both of these crops are members of the Cucurbitaceae family along with cucumbers, watermelons, squash, and pumpkins. Bitter melon (sometimes referred to as bitter gourd) has a distinct warty looking exterior and an oblong shape. It is most often eaten when it is green at which point the flesh is similar in texture to a cucumber. The Torpedo melon is a type of Korean melon that produces cylindrical fruits that are bright yellow with white sutures. The flesh is white and has a moderately sweet taste.