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! ;)