|I’m back from teaching in Mangrove Mountain. I’ll publish a photo essay on that next week. I’m unpacking and then re-packing for a weekend of classes in Melbourne and Canberra.
No time to serve up a full-meal posting. So here’s a two-minute blog I had waiting in the cupboard for a quick snack.
Pramod from South India writes:
“Hello Kurma. Regarding growing curry leaves: I live in the western coast of southern India. Typical to any humid tropical region we get plenty of rains during monsoon and bright Sun round the year. The soil is mostly sublaterate which is not very good for gowing anything except Coconuts and Banana.
And the humus does not develop very well leading to the leaching of manure or any other input. In spite of this adverse condition we have a lot of Curry leaf plants (you call them trees!). In my parents’ backyard they used to come up on their own (I mean wherever the roots of other curry leaf plants are exposed above the mud). In my front yard there are a few plants. They need a lot of Sun and moist soil.
As you have mentioned it is better to snip off the berries so that the plant does not dry up. In my case I start snipping the flowers themselves (take caution – do not cut all the flowers in the plant at the same time. I did that once and the plant went into “coma”; then it took quite sometime for the plant to recuperate).
As one of your readers mentioned, it is useful to give rice water to the plants; along with it, my mother says, feeding very thin buttermilk to enhances the aroma in the leaves. In my observation, the plant becomes bare during our winter, then with the onset of summer it turn lush again.
Also, during winter the plant is attacked by a mite that leaves tiny cottony deposits on the leaves. Which is again harmful for the growth of the plant (we don’t do anything, it disappears after sometime on its own). For the trunk to gain bulk and leaves/branches to increase in number – break the tip of the branch now and then; breaking the branch just at the point where leaves start growing also helps.
The plant can also be grown in pots or polythene bags (As Bangaloreans do, due to lack of good soil or land). But when the root gets suffocated you may have to repot or transplant in a moist piece of land.
We have two varieties of Curry Leaf plants. One is wild variety with thick, darkish green leaves available in markets; but these lack in fragrance. The ones which we grow at home gardens have thin, light green leaves and these are really fragrant. Kurma, the picture of a single frond of leaves in your page looks like that of a wild variety.”
Posted by Kurma on 22/5/08; 4:35:41 PM