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January 31, 2022

WINTER VEGETABLES

Winter vegetables include:

  • cauliflower
  • cabbage
  • sugar beet
  • big onion
  • tomato
  • brinjal (eggplant, begun). There are two types:
    • thorny
    • non-thorny.

The varieties include:

  • makdo begun,
  • snake brinjal (coolee begun),
  • winter brinjal (Benarasi begun)
  • lettuce
  • broccoli
  • carrot
  • greens (shák)

Research should be done on winter vegetable such as cauliflower, cabbage, sugar beet and carrot to see if they can be grown all year round. Several types of vegetables, such as pumpkin and drumstick, have winter varieties.

Cauliflower

Cauliflower is very popular in India. It can be eaten fried, boiled, steamed, raw, deep fired with batter (pakora), etc. It can can also be dehydrated and preserved.

Cauliflower needs direct sunlight to grow properly.

It should not be planted with creeping vegetables such as sweet potato because they will cover the cauliflower and hide it from the sunlight.

The early variety of cauliflower, the aghani variety, which is grown on the plains of Bengal, should be grown all over Ánanda Nagar throughout the year.

Cabbage

Cabbage can be produced cheaply and is usually sold at a low price, which is one reason why it is popular.

It is served fried, boiled, steamed, raw, etc. It can be dehydrated or pickled and preserved, thus it is common in cold countries during winter.

In Germany, sauerkraut is make from cabbage. The early variety of cabbage, the early December variety, which is grown on the plains of Bengal, should be grown at Anandanagar throughout the year. The karamakala variety of cabbage does not require much direct light, and can be planted with creeping tubers like sweet potatoes.

Sugar Beet

Sugar beet is a 3-year winter crop.

Research should be done to develop varieties which can be grown three time a year. Sugar beet produces large amounts of sugar, so if three crops can be grown in a year, sugar production will be greatly increased.

Seeds can be easily grown from sugar beet where the temperature is zero to ten degrees Celsius. The best sugar beet seeds are cultivated in Europe, but effort should also be made to develop them in the coldest part of Ánanda Nagar.

Big Onion

The stalk of the onion plant should be twisted down to enable the onion to grow to its maximum size.

If the stalks of the onions are allowed to grow freely, the seeds that are produced can be used to grow small sweet onions (sachi piaz) which can only be used as seeds. The same applies to ginger.

Tomato

Tomatoes are very nutritious.

When tomatoes are cooked the skin should be removed because it is indigestible. It may cause problems if it is not expelled from the body and lodges in the intestines.

The skin can be removed by dropping the tomato into boiling water and then quickly removing it. The skin will then peel off easily.

Brinjal (Eggplant, Begun)

The most common varieties are violet with a thin skin and a spongy white inner pulp.

Eggplant has little nutritional value.

But it stimulates the digestive juices.

It can be fried, boiled, steamed, roasted and even raw, with or without the skin.

There are 2 types and many varieties:

  1. Thorny: This has thorns on the leaves and is very resistant to disease
  2. Non-thorny: This is prone to dasa roga, a disease which can be prevented with the smoke of burning cow dung cakes

Some varieties of non-thorny brinjal are:

  • makdo begun: this is good fried as bhaja or puda, or fried with neem as neem brinjal, and is eaten during the month of Caetra
  • snake brinjal (coolee begun): this is used to be eaten by coolies in Howrah, and also has a thorny variety
  • winter brinjal (Benarasi begun), which is a large variety and is also good for making bhaja.

Thorny brinjal is of medium size.

Non-thorny brinjal is harvested in small, medium and large sizes.

Eggplant is a 3-year crop.

  • Year 1 will produce a good yield
  • Year 2 will produce a medium yield
  • Year 3 will produce a very low yield
    • It is better to remove the old plants after the first or second year and grow new plants.

Brinjal takes 3 months to mature and has 3 growing seasons:

  • summer: to be sown in the month of Phálguna (for example, gol brinjal, which is non-thorny);
  • autumn: to be sown in summer (non-thorny); and
  • winter: to be sown in the rainy season (non-thorny).

Summer eggplant usually has a violet colour and a round shape.

  • It is known as “mahada begum” in Bengali, “bhote” in Bhojpuri and as “adi” in Maethilii.
  • The fruit is quite palatable when fried.
  • Seedlings of summer eggplant should be transplanted in the month of Phálguna, just after winter. The fruits appear after 2 months in the month of Vaeshákha.

Winter brinjal is very big and is called “Benaras brinjal”. It is to be sown in the rainy season.

White brinjal is a summer crop, but it is a static food.

Thorny brinjal is more palatable.

Long brinjal is called “brhati”.

Small, round brinjal is called “varttaki”.

Lettuce

Lettuce is popular in occidental countries, but is relatively new to India, where only early and late lettuce are grown.

Broccoli

Broccoli is a winter season vegetable which has some similarity with cabbage.

However, while only one cabbage will grow from one plant, two or three broccolis will grow from one plant. European broccoli is the best quality.

Though it is a winter season vegetable, it can still grow in the Calcutta climate, but will not produce seeds. So seeds should be brought from Europe and cultivated in the coldest part of Ánanda Nagar.

The procedure for growing broccoli is as follows. In the first week of Kárttika the field should be ploughed four times by tractor.

Dried cow dung which is at least 3 months and up to one year old or organic compost should be applied to the field as fertilizer.

Then, the field should be ploughed three more time by tractor. The broccoli seeds should be planted in rows which are 20 inches apart, while the space between each seed in a row should be 10 inches.

After the seeds have been planted they should be watered, and thereafter, they should be watered regularly at 10 day intervals. In the last week of December, in the month of Paoś, the crop will be ready for harvesting.

Healthy broccoli plants 5-6 feet tall can be grown in Calcutta. But they will not produce seeds.

Research should be done to develop varieties which will produce seeds in the warm climate of Bengal.

Carrot

Carrot is a very rich food.

It grows very well in the fertile land on either side of the Ganges.

To cultivate carrot, the field should be ploughed four times by tractor in the month of Áshvina. Dried cow dung or organic compost should be used as fertilizer.

The seeds should be soaked in water for 12 hours and then properly dried before they are sown in the field.

The crop can be harvested in the last week of Paoś or the first week of Mágha.

Carrot is like broccoli in that it will grow in the warm weather of Calcutta, but will not produce seeds.

So research should be done to develop varieties which will produce seeds in warm climates.

Greens (Shák)

There are various green leafy vegetables called shák in Bengali, including:

  • lal shák (tampala or Amaranthus tricolor, L.)
  • pui (spinach)
  • palak shák or palang shák (beetroot, Beta vulgaris)
  • summer shák (known as “Gandhari tandularak” in Saḿskrta)
  • etc.

Green leafy vegetables contain many vitamins and minerals, but are most important as a rich source of chlorophyll.

Summer shák grows very well wherever rice water is thrown onto the soil.

Other varieties of shák should be sown wherever there is enough water, such as beside water pumps, to utilize the water and every inch of land.

Summer Vegetables

Some common summer vegetables include:

  • pumpkin
  • cucumber
  • brinjal
  • drumstick
  • gourd

Pumpkin, cucumber and gourd are creeping vegetables. Gourd and pumpkin are also all-season vegetables with summer season varieties.

These three vegetables are discussed in the section on creeping vegetables.

Brinjal is primarily a winter vegetable although it has a summer season variety and is discussed in the section on winter vegetables.

Drumstick is an all-season vegetable which has both summer season and winter season varieties, and it is discussed in the section on all- season vegetables.

ALL-SEASON VEGETABLES

All-season vegetables include:

  • wax gourd (pat́ol)
  • bottle gourd (láu)
  • pumpkin (kumŕá)
  • chal kumŕá (a variety of pumpkin)
  • bitter gourd
  • cucumber (shashá)
  • water gourd
  • drumstick (shojne)
  • okra (bhindi, dhenrash)

Many varieties of gourd, pumpkin and cucumber are creeping vegetables as well as all-season vegetables, and are discussed in the section on creeping vegetables. Lady’s finger is also a fibre crop and is discussed in that section.

Chal Kumŕá

There is very little food value in pumpkin, but chal kumŕá has much food value.

It is very good for the stomach and for stomach diseases.

Drumstick (Sajne)

In Calcutta, it is called “najne,” in Burdwan, “sojne,” and the general name is “baramasiya sojne” or all-season drumstick.

The pods of this vegetable are shaped like drumsticks, hence the name “drumstick”. Drumstick is called “muuṋgá” in the Scythian language, which means “that which grows fast”. The Scythians came to India just after the Aryans.

The non-Brahmins of Maharastra and Madya Pradesh who are short with a dark complexion are of Scythian origin.

The Brahmins of Maharastra are tall and have a fair complexion. “Muuṋgá” is the Scythian word for drumstick, and “muuṋgi” is the Scythian word for ants which go on moving continuously.

The bark, juice and oil of drumstick is a good medicine for skin disease. The oil is also good for kidney problems. If drumstick is eaten in spring and winter, people will not contract pox. The stem is beneficial for the gums.

Lozenges can be made from the gum of drumstick, like the gum of the babul. The taste of drumstick gum is hot and spicy, so the flavour should be rectified before making lozenges. Drumstick is a suitable host for silk worms. Caterpillars feed on the plant, and when the cocoons have formed, they are to be removed from the tree. Silk thread is spun from the cocoons.

There are two varieties of drumstick:

  • winter season
  • summer season.

The winter season variety flowers in the rainy season. The flowers are white. The stick matures in the month of Vaeshákha.

If the branches are cut and the green sticks planted as cuttings, they are sure to succeed. The winter season drumsticks are more tasty than the summers season variety, and muuṋgá silk worms like them more. The market value of winter drumsticks is also better.

The summer season variety is also known as the all-season variety. The drumsticks are short, thick and inferior to the winter variety in taste and market value. This variety flowers all year long and the flowers are cream coloured.

When planting drumstick cuttings, the upper portion should be covered with cow dung and the lower, thicker portion should be placed in the soil. If there is regular rain, there is no need to irrigate the plants. In the dry season the plants should be watered two or three times a day, which should continue until new leaves appear. Watering should be done so that the entire plant gets wet. This will ensure that the plant grows successfully.

Drumstick is everlasting. Like kool, all the branches of the drumstick should be cut off in the summer. If the cuttings are planted, by the rainy season they will become quite big, and in the month of Paoś silk worms can be grown on them.