Friday, November 30, 2012

Rainy Season - Best Time For Kangkung!

Most of my veggie seeds rotted away in vain due to the rain. The rainy season has persisted for over a month now and this has been dampening seed germination.

So, I decided to grow kangkung instead. Bought a bunch of kangkung with roots. I cooked the leafy and young stem part in a delicious stir-fry and planted the roots.

It's all very easy. Leave about 2 inches of stem from above the roots, trim the roots if they're too long.

Then, plant each stem 2 inches apart. Kangkung needs lots and lots and lots of water and the rainy season did all the work.

I stuck these into the soil on 27 September.

This was on 17 November

And this was taken today, 30 November. Ready for a stir-fry in the wok very very soon! :)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Self-volunteer Red Leaf Amaranth (Bayam Merah)

These nutritious veggies, red amaranth or also known as Chinese or Asian spinach and bayam in Malaysia, are very easy to grow. The seeds volunteer themselves wherever they land, thanks to birds, wind and rain, that spread them all over my backyard. I had 2 mature tall plants last few months which produced many mini foxtail-like flowers with hundreds of tiny black seeds lodged inside. Red amaranth has been growing here and there and everywhere in and around my plant pots at the front and back of my house for a year now. From time to time, sprouts emerged when I overturned the soil in the pots. The plants do very well in full sun and can grow in any soil condition and they grow fast. If you don't have the seeds to start with, just buy a bunch of this veggie from the market with roots. Plant the roots with 3 inches of stem above the root level, water and watch it grow. From here, you can let the plant mature for seed collection.

Cooked amaranth leaves are a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and folate; they are also a complementing source of other vitamins such as thiamine, niacin, and riboflavin, plus some dietary minerals including calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, copper, and manganese. (source: wikipedia)

Here are some of the 'volunteer' red amaranth vegetable growing in my backyard.

Hundreds of tiny black seeds are lodged inside these mini foxtail-like flowers. Allow one or two plants like this go to wilt and the seeds will give you continuous batch of these veggies.

A bunch which I harvested for stir fry.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Growing Chives (Koo Chye)

These are my chives, locally known as koo chye, grown in a polystyrene container transplanted since February this year. I started planting them when my neighbor back in my hometown, Melaka, dug out a few of her plants and gave them to me. I was hesitant and advised her against digging them out and I told her to just save some seeds for me. A generous lady with a green thumb and who grows beautiful orchids, she assured me that the plants will survive and the remaining few in her pots will not die even though the roots got disturbed. Well, she was absolutely right and not only did they survive but they kept growing and growing and growing. Chive is a really wonderful cut and grow again herb. Snip some off today and you'll find new shoots growing a few days later. However, according to my sister, the seeds seem to take a long time to germinate. Guess I'm lucky that I did not have to wait! But I guess it's still worth the wait because once the seeds germinate and the plants got established, you can be sure to have an endless supply of these herbs for years to come. I've not sowed any seeds but I've collected hundreds of them. My plants have flowered several times and often, profusely. The blooms consist of tiny white flowers that become seeds when they dry off. From my observation, it seems that chives can grown even in clay soil like my neighbor's plants. Mine are grown in soil for growing vegetable that I purchased in a nearby nursery here. I gave them an occasional feed of organic humus.

Here are my chives in a polystyrene container since February this year

Lots of flowers and seeds

The green pods are newly formed seeds, which will dry off and turn black 
when ready to be picked and stored, or sowed

A flower bud about to unfurl. The whole flower bud stem is tender and 
can be eaten but once the bud starts to open and bloom fully, 
the stem becomes woody

A couple of months ago, my backyard went through a landscape change and I decided to create a low raised bed for vegetables instead of growing them in containers because some garden creepy crawlies seem to love resting under the container and I'm trying to not give them many 'homes' to rest in my garden. So, two weeks ago I dug out each clump and below shows the root system of chives. With a garden shears, I snipped off most of the roots, leaving only about an inch and replanted them on the veggie bed. Few days later, some leaves had turned yellow and I snipped off all my chives as I figured the roots needed some time to re-energize. I had to sacrifice the flowers and young seeds but a collection of flower stems make a really pretty mini bouquet. So, all was not lost.

The root system. Chives can be grown closely together as they like to group up.

Transplanted onto the veggie bed

A delicate and pretty bouquet and seeds

Here they are growing again few days after snipping

Fast grower - here they are two weeks after snipping

Happy gardening!

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Backyard Landscape Change

In the last 2 to 3 months my (and neighbors too!) backyard was invaded! Yup, the Decepticons made their appearances. They came, they demolished but with all that ends well, they even tidied it up for us. Apparently, the area considered our backyard actually belonged to another property owner and now that they have decided to develop the piece of land behind, they had come to claim back their portion of the land. Luckily they left us with about 10 feet of land and they built a new wall to mark the border. Sadly, the day they demolished the original wall and excavated and flattened the slope behind, I had to tear down 3 of my cucumber plants that were at peak production stage. My 2.5 year old jujube tree had to go too. Sob!

The original backyard was on a slope. Weeds grow like crazy fast. Difficult to maintain. So in the end, this invasion was a good thing after all.

There goes my jujube tree :(

Excavation work to flatten the backyard.

Building a new wall.

All that survived in containers were one tomato plant, one brinjal plant and a few stalks of red amaranth.

Wall nearing completion when this pic was taken end of July.

As of today, the new wall is completed and my backyard is much smaller but neater nonetheless. It's looking pretty good with a couple of newly planted fruit trees (dwarf version). I'm also preparing for a small vegetable patch. Right now, I think I'm a little bit sun-burnt with all the recent gardening! Tiring but fun and exciting indeed! Will update more soonest.

Go garden! ;)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Tabebuia Rosea - Almost Like A Cherry Blossom Season

We have been enjoying a really gorgeous sight this week each time we stepped out of our home or drive through the main entrance at our street. The tabebuia rosea trees that line our residential street began to bloom profusely since last weekend. Not one but many of the trees are blooming all at the same time. From a distance, a full blooming tree looks almost similar to a cherry blossom tree, and I think this is about the closest we can get to a real cherry blossom tree in Malaysia! Tabebuia rosea or also known as trumpet rose tree is a tropical tree that can grow to a height of 30 meter or more and is widely planted along city and residential streets all over Malaysia. The flowering season of tabebuia rosea is intense. Some trees will have practically no leaves and all flowers only during this period. So far, I've seen the flowers in white, light pink and pink colours, and I think white is the prettiest. The sight of a profusely flowering tree is truly one deserving of a winning prize. I leave you below some pictures I took yesterday of the flowering tabebuia rosea trees on my street.

A gorgeous welcoming sight at the entrance to our street

Flowers outnumber leaves

Playing around with different ISO settings




Pink flowers


Tabebuia rosea lining the whole street


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Some Pickings

Some recent harvest .... 

The middle one was my 1st cuke, and the fattest among all. It had turned yellow as I had forgotten to check on it


A week later, harvested 3 more cukes. Juicy, tasty and crunchy. Not a tinge of bitterness.

A few thin stalks of celery, a brinjal and a couple of ladies' fingers

Unfortunately, my gardening adventure has come to a temporary halt at the moment because...


More updates on unwelcome intruders in next post......