By Qian Jing
Walking into Hengfengli, greeted by emerald plants and festive red lamps, you will find yourself seized by the joy of harvest. Residents pointed to the big white gourd hanging overhead from the vine. To ensure that it won’t fall down for being too heavy, they made it a safety seat with iron wire so that it could grow up safe and sound. The white gourd won’t be lonely with pumpkin and zucchini “brothers” by its side. It is rare to see so many full-grown fruits in the lane. Residents prepared ladders and tables for the harvest moment.
With the concerted efforts, the big gourd was finally taken down. It weighed nearly 15kg on the large rice scales fetched by cadres of the Residents’ Commission while two pumpkins 7.5 kg. Madam Chen, aged 80, who lived in Hengfengli for over 70 years, figured out a Chinese recipe – Marinated Pork with White Gourd, as soon as she caught cadres slicing it. “Braise peeled white gourd and marinated pork strips together. They will be ready in the meantime. No other ingredients are required in the dish and it is super fresh and tasty!” Madam Chen said smilingly.
It took much effort for the Shanyi Residents’ Commission to cultivate the white gourd of such size. Hengfengli used to be known for its flower fragrance. Last year, the commission cadres came up with the idea of growing vine vegetable inside the lane. Secretary Chen Rongqing of the Shanyi Neighborhood said, in order to guarantee plants’ growth and residents’ free accesses in the lane, according to the circumstances, they figured out the “clutch shot” that can save space: “we dug holes at intervals of the roadside, filled in sand and sowed white gourd, pumpkin and luffa seeds. When they climb upon vines and come into flower, it is pleasing to the eye. The harvest season also allow residents, especially the solitary and single elderly, share the fruits of joy.”
It was learnt that the Shanyi Residents’ Commission also introduced ten Malu grape vines lately and planted them in different areas in the lane. Now those vines have put forth buds. In the next autumn, residents may taste the sweet “Hengfengli grapes” when appreciating the beautiful view in the lane.