In Japan, edible gardening used to be the privilege of the old people living in the houses with big gardens in the suburbs or the countryside, but it has become popular in the urban areas by utilizing small spaces in these 5 or 6 years with the rise of environmental awareness.
One of the popular ways of growing veggies is ‘green curtain’ – creating a natural shade outside of the window by growing climbing plants. This green curtain help protect buildings from the heat. Thus it will reduce energy consumption. The most popular plant is bitter melon, which is called nigauri in the standard Japanese and goya in Okinawan dialect.
*Today most people tend to call it goya even in mainland Japan as Okinawan culture and cuisine has become popular nationwide.
Goya is one of the best food in summer indeed. It’s rich in vitamin C, beta-carotene, fiber and many other significant nutrients to prevent summer fatigue.
Now, from May to June, is the best time to start green curtain. In Japan, you can easily find seedlings at florists and do-it-yourself stores. (Of course you can grow it from the seeds as well.) Goya is quite easy to make. It’s strong and grows so fast. All you need is to prepare a big planter, soil and nets & poles for the vines to hold. In July to September, you can crop goya fruits one after another 🙂