A recent Los Angeles Times article, “Curry leaf tree, a touch of India in the backyard,” reminds me that my dad’s old office had a curry leaf tree growing just outside his window. From time to time, while he was working, he would see desis drive or walk up to his office building and step up to the elevated garden area to grab a bunch of the fragrant leaves to go. My grandma lived next to his office and she planted the tree many years ago. Of course she wasn’t the only one to do so in sunny southern California.
Rishi Kumar’s grandmother brought curry leaf seeds from India, and his mother planted them 18 years ago at her home in Diamond Bar. Now the curry leaf has filled out into a mini-grove of slender stalks, bushy with the pointed leaves essential to Indian cuisine.
After graduating from UC San Diego in computer science, Kumar came home to his parents’ house and started gardening seriously. He started a community-supported agriculture project, or CSA, called the Growing Home and Learning Center, based out of the 2,500-square-foot garden around the house. He put in a series of cinder-block terraces, heavily mulched with forest humus and horse stable bedding, and started planting. An Ayurvedic garden is out front, where the lawn used to be; in the back, plants reflect his family’s Punjab roots: holy basil, neem (a tree believed to have medicinal properties), Indian jasmine. (LAT)
For more information on the curry leaf tree read the rest of the article. It’s part of a Tuesday series called the Global Garden.