Itty Bitty Baby Star Fruits! Thanks, bees!

Can I get a huzzah for gardens and how much psychic gravity they bring to an abode?

Recently I was watering the star fruit trees (yes, we actually have two! Surprise) and realized that I wasn’t really very happy with the rooftop. I mean, I’m going to be here until at least the beginning of November, and to be honest, I’ll probably re-sign my lease. I like the neighborhood. I know the streets and am getting to know my neighbors. I like the house. But right now, it’s just that: a house. It’s not a home. Yet.

Obviously, step one is to replace that bangin’ patio garden I had in Chicago… this time with fewer spider plants (although I did find some for sale at a nursery not far away, so perhaps… for nostalgia’s sake…).

First I needed to find that nursery, however, and that’s where Tâm came in to help me out. One rainy morning at 8am we walked over to a stretch of streets that was home to many nurseries. I was hoping for some baby plants that had already been started, but ended up having to settle for seeds.

They came in these giant packets you see to the left (each is about 5″ x 9″, for some reason). Tâm didn’t know what they were, so I picked the ones that I sort of recognized, along with two new interesting non-veggie plants to repot at home, just because.

These were, counter-clockwise from top left: High-yield Chives, bean sprouts, red jute, tomatoes, and basil. I’m planning to go back for carrots, daikon, cilantro, and mint… if I can identify them.

Basil, just starting to come up!

I honestly thought the red jute was more basil – I was really excited about basil. I have no idea what to do with jute besides turn it into rope and make macrame plant-hangers (actually appropriate, now that I stop to consider it. I have been meaning to hang more plants). Since it was about $.40 USD, I’ll probably just tuck it away until I find a spare planter and I feel the urge to plant something new. Google says it’s good for digestion, and there are several Indian recipes for fried Jute leaves. We’ll see what happens.

The rest is coming along. I’ve planted the basil and the tomatoes, as you can see to the left. The basil is excited to sprout, still waiting on the bean sprouts.

Tomatoes, not workin’ it yet.

Because of The Gout, I’ve modified my diet to include more veggies and fruits than I did before. I already like vegetables, but I HATE going to the co-op near me because it is a genuine, honest-to-god mob scene every damn time I go, no matter the time of day, as well as making me nervous about what I’m actually buying (still not good at recognizing vegetable names in Vietnamese).

Other co-ops around the city are not like this! I don’t know what makes mine so very, very special, but it’s a hectic, awful place. I’m hoping that with some planning, I’ll be able to maintain vegetables year-round on the rooftop – especially the tomatoes, for I’ve become especially fond of fresh tomatoes, cheese, and soy and chili sauce on toasted baguette!

Someone planted this pot full of
concrete.  To what end, I’m unsure.

Other things are coming along nicely. We’ve got many more flowering plants than I realized initially (they may have been hiding until the rainy season got REALLY underway).

As I mentioned before, we’ve got some serious star fruit action underway up there. I’ve decided I’m going to try and make a star fruit/hot pepper jam out of the ones that mature. I’ve never made a jam before, but it doesn’t seem like it would be that hard, right? Now CANNING and PRESERVING actually sounds difficult, but if I pledge to devour it all right away… should be ok? Right??

And that’s basically all I’ve got to write about the garden. Here are some pictures of plants in action:

A little branch full of tiny star fruits, rapidly maturing!
Almost ready to Jam Out.
I just realized how useless all these captions are. I need to find some way of cataloguing what I’ve got up here. This flower is yellow.
A new whatever-it-is! It’s reddish on the bottoms.
This has thorns… rose of some kind?
Pretty sure this is a flowering jade of some sort.
There are four of these up here.

And that’s what’s happening up on the roof for the moment. We’re in the middle of the rainy season and it rains fairly reliably most afternoons, which is great. I’ve had to spend less time up there giving them the moisture that blooms require. Come March and April, when Vietnam gets very little rain, if any, I’m sure this will be more of a challenge. But for now, drink up!

This house (and Saigon) is slowly becoming a home to me. Step 1: well underway.

Step 2? Stay tuned. Needless to say, I’m tired of living in a coral-pink concrete box. Also, I want a hammock! And white christmas lights!