Gardening for me is a learning process. I have learn't soooo much in these last few years in the garden. I've added heaps of new plants to my list of 'Plant it and have a go'.
I've two new plants in the garden which I have been excited to watch grow....Rosella and Chinese Water Chestnuts. My Rosella hasn't exactly been what you would call a success...but I have learnt lots while attempting to grow it....But the Chestnuts are going great!
Annette Mcfarlane has an informative PDF on Rosella; and according to her notes...I think my plants fell to 'root rot'. I couldn't understand why after all the rain we had a while back caused my plants to become sad looking....I was sure they had gotten plenty of water....but they began looking like they were dying of thirst just the same....
|Rosella with Rootrot|
|Rosella with their calyx|
inside the calyx are the seeds
The Chestnut reeds are beginning to dye off....which is natural....I will be saving the reeds for weaving...Once they are all dried, they can be soaked to make a good medium for weaving.
|Long thin Reeds of the Chinese Water Chestnuts|
are beginning to die off
almost ready for harvest
(The other leaf is Water Celery)
Their taste is unique, but sweet, crispy and fresh. I would describe the flavour as a blend of coconut, apple and maybe sugarcane.......I do have a hard time explaining flavors, so if you can help here...please feel free to leave a comment.
We have been enjoying them fresh from the water garden, or simply sliced thinly into salads. The boys aren't too keen on them whole as a snack, but their salads are still being eaten.....lol. Mum struggles with the skin if left on.....so I peel them roughly when I add them to a salad...but me...I eat them straight from the pond.
|Chinese Water Chestnuts|
I believe they hold their crispness after cooking too which also improves their flavour and texture. They can be added to all sorts of meals including stews, curries, soups and stir fries. Many Asian recipes include Water Chestnuts. There is also an Asian drink made by blending raw chestnuts in water or boiling them or their skins in water for 15 to 30 minutes...adding a little palm sugar to enhance the flavour. The drink tastes like water that has sweet corn added to it.....and it is believed the drink has cooling properties; great for hot days is Asia or even Australia maybe...lol....... I'm yet to try these other recipes, but they sound interesting.
As I dig around the bottom of the sandy soil, beneath the water...I'm also finding chestnuts with new shoots...the ones with the most shoots....I will be keeping to follow on the next planting...but they must be kept in water while you prepare your next water garden or finish your harvest in your existing water garden.
|Chinese Water Chestnuts|
chosen for replanting the next crop
Have you ever tried Chinese Water Chestnuts? Would they be something you would consider growing in a water garden? What about the Rosella? Have you had success? What conditions did you have?