I had a great chance to visit a Thai garden this week.
“I don’t have much right now,” she told me as we stepped out back. “The lizard got a lot of my plants.”
South Florida suffers from an invasion of vegetarian iguanas, yet what they left behind was still impressive. Katuk… moringa… pineapples… papaya… kang kong… kaffir lime… three different basil varieties and a whole mess of Asian herbs and vegetables foreign to me were spread out in containers.
|Kang Kong: one of the most productive leaf vegetables you can grow.|
Kiddie pools housed some of the bounty, and everything from coolers to pots were stuffed to overflowing.
We stood in the rain as it was getting dark. Our hostess was my wife Rachel’s aunt. We were there for dinner (which, incidentally, was an amazing spread of Thai food… I’ve rarely eaten so well in my entire life) and had to take the garden tour.
|Amazingly aromatic Thai basil.|
She told me that she grew some plants as food coloring for various confections. A pea vine provided blue… another plant gave up a golden dye and so on. “I don’t buy any food coloring. All natural,” she said, waving a hand at her garden.
Beyond the pots and containers, she had a stand of pineapples, plus mangoes, jackfruit, sugar apple, bananas and other great perennials.
|Pineapples packed tightly into the back corner of the yard.|
If you live in a tropical place like South Florida, what are you doing with your life? You could be eating fresh all year.
This Thai garden isn’t fancy – and it’s definitely been chewed up by a now-mysteriously-missing iguana – but it keeps the house supplied with plenty of fresh greens, spices and fruit.
Gardening doesn’t have to be a big affair with cedar beds and perfect spacing. Get out back and get planting. If you need help, make friends with someone from Southeast Asia.
Unlike Americans, they know what to do with a back yard.