Queentulip First Bitter Gourd or Bitter Melon Plant
One of my childhood's memory plants in our backyard garden was Ampalaya or Bitter Gourd (Goya). My dad used to make a canopy or fence climber for some varieties of Bitter Gourd. Some of the fruits let it ripened for church members to get for free when the red seeds popping up, as we live in the pastoral house just one meter away from the church building. Our front yard often planted with either Bitter Gourd or climbing Tomatoes besides my mum's flowering plants.
Long, at last, Queentulip's first Bitter Gourd plant (Bitter Melon or Ampalaya or Goya Plant) in the colder part of Down Under here in Ballarat, Victoria. Successfully the Ampalaya fruits I bought from the supermarket were matured enough and let it ripened a bit more before slicing out its seeds and planted it for experiment and ta-dah - very generous leaves and flowers for the first time in early Summer 2012 throughout mid-Autumn! Just before cold Autumn or pre-winter season in 2012, it's dying off :( so sad to let it go. Bitter Melon thrives in cold Ballarat during the warmer months in a year but will die when it's too cold and frosty. If it were not too cold, this plant would have thrived for more years and expanded robustly as it should!
When I first arrived in Ballarat, I never saw Bitter Gourd in the supermarket at all until 2009 when it appears in the local supermarket. After a year, I decided to have it a go and plant from its seeds. Since no seeds or seedlings available from Bunnings Warehouse and I doubt that they will since no one would eat such stuff except Filipinos, Africans and other Asians or nationalities like me. Yet I have watched in some tropical gardening TV show of Australia that some Australians plant the Bitter Gourd that's why it's available at the local supermarket after all. Ironically what is cheaper in our native land is expensive in the west like the bitter gourd, the cost is not encouraging for westerners to try the bitterness of it, right? I'd say.
Next season, try to plant this yourself and make a climber for itself as it climbs profusely like no tomorrow!
First fruit ever and lots of flowering buds after that. Unfortunately, the last fruit I wanted to leave its seeds for next season planting was harvested by black birds who love my garden veggies, they ate most of the seeds and just left me two seeds. Besides the Bitter Gourd plant was a prolific squash from my organic home gardening with love! I feed most of my veggie plants with organic seaweeds tea that can be bought from Bunnings Warehouse all-year round.
For some recipes go here Bitter Gourd's Recipe and enjoy cooking your bitter gourd or share us yours.
You can use the leaves or fruits as your Bitter Gourd Tea as Vietnamese calls it Goya Tea.