Pitiably small, but cute and pretty, at least ...


While Turmeric ( Cucurma longa ) plant is considered one of the easiest plants to grow for most gardeners, it is not the case with me. Just like my previous, totally failed Madeira Vine ( Anredera cordifolia ), my Turmeric plants are also my failure of the year. 

From as many as over ten plants last December, they were reduced to only one surviving plant this December. Which I had eventually dug up this morning, with high hopes. But, only to reveal a pitiably small clump of turmerics that is no bigger than my small palm. Sigh!


Nevertheless, do cheer up, Jade! For at least it looks cute and pretty! ๐Ÿ˜€

※※※※※※※※※※※


Meanwhile here ...


I would like to wish you all, wonderful people from around the world ...


a VERY Happy ' Dongzhi ' or Winter Solstice Festival, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2019!


See you all again next year!



Garden Update - December 2018 ( Potted Ornamental Plants Corner )




Sadly,  my poor pink Air Mata Pengantin or Bride's Tears or Chain of Love or Coral Vine or Mexican Creeper ( Antigonon leptopus ) and my multi-coloured Lantana ( Lantana camara ) had gone from my backyard garden in Ipoh forever, due to my frequent, inevitable neglects. How I miss them! 


Fortunately, Mum's best-loved plant,  Golden Trumpet or Common Trumpet Vine or Yellow Allamanda ( Allamanda cathartica ) is still thriving. Though it seems to take forever to grow big and strong, and flower. Much unlike its countless siblings and relatives that reside whether by the roadsides, in other peoples' gardens, in the parks or in the wilds. Oh, how my patience is put to test!


Thankfully, my little Frangipani ( Plumeria rubra ) did not seem to mind my neglects all the while! It bloomed, rather profusely, nonetheless. But then, oh, how just very short a time good things always seem to stay! Before I managed to really find my time to be in the garden to enjoy them ( the blooms ) to the fullest, they had all come to an end. The last precious bloom, somehow, happened to fall off the tree onto the ground, right before my eyes, just when I was about to lean over to smell its fragrance the other day. Its mere, a little over a month long flower show had finally, officially ended, then and there. What is left now is only clusters of its white-yellow blooms in picture. Oh, how I wish I could touch and smell them once more!


Recently, after having fed my Frangipani with cow manure fertilizer, I am hopeful again. Given its long-known love for manure, I am quite certain that in no time, some new, strong branches and leaves would form. Perhaps, soon after, longer and more spectacular flower show could happen! Wish me luck!


All for now! Thank you for reading this! Bye!


So, long live my dear Gynura plants!




I have been growing Gynura bicolor ( Heng Feng Cai or Okinawa Spinach or Sambung Nyawa Ungu ) plants at one end of my backyard planter where on most days of the year, sun exposure is minimal, for more than a year now. 

Initially, I grow them for their nutritious leaves. 

They are especially easy-to-grow plants. I just have to buy them once and eat their leaves. And use their inedible stems to get things started. All I do is stick their bare stems into the soil. I do not even have to pre-root them. They just grow. No matter the soil condition and weather. However, they do have some particular likings. Come rainy season, their growth obviously accelerated incredibly. Often, exponentially. Or so it seems. Yes, they love lots of water. And less hours of sun. Shade, particularly. 

I have many a time harvested their leaves. And eaten them as stir-fried vegetables. They taste rather strange. Frankly, I do not quite enjoy them as vegetables. Neither do my sisters. So, I stop harvesting them.

These days, I leave them all to the occasional, visiting grasshoppers, who find their leaves tasty,  to enjoy as they wish. I am most happy for them. For at least some creatures appreciate them as food. 

But whether or not they are appreciated as food, no way would I give up on them. Not any time soon. At least. As I love them. Their green purple foliage is just too admirable to part with yet. I would continue to grow them. And enjoy them for their beauty instead. Until I get tired of them ...


Enjoying my Thai Basil harvest ... in the simplest, yet tasty Vegan or Vegetarian Dish ...


Like always, I had a bountiful harvest of Thai Basil ( Ocimum basilicum ), among others from my backyard.



So I decided to cook something for myself with it. 

I am especially lazy when it comes to cooking. I am not the type of person who is willing to spend a lot of effort and time in the kitchen for that split-second of food enjoyment. I would rather settle for moderately tasted foods if that require much less effort and time to cook or prepare. 

Thus, this simple, yet quite tasty Vegan or Vegetarian Dish, which I had specially created or cooked for my lunch yesterday - using my Thai Basil harvest as the flavour enhancer.




Here is the RECIPE ( Beancurd  in Tomato Soup )  ( one person's portion ), should anyone be interested to try :


Ingredients:


1 big tomato ( skin removed and cut into smaller parts ), 1 whole fried or non-fried beancurd ( tofu ), some fresh basil leaves ( cleaned ) ( not too much - just enough to flavour ), filtered water,  salt ( to taste ), 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil.


Method:


1) Put the cut tomato parts into a small cooking pot. 

2) Add in oil and salt. 

3) Pour in the filtered water ( about thrice the volume of the tomato. ).

4) Place the cooking pot over the stove and let it cook under low heat.

5) When the water has come to a boil, use a spoon to crush some of the cut tomato parts so that the soup would thicken a little.

6) Let it cook for a while more.

7) Throw in the beancurd and the Thai Basil leaves.

8) Boil for another 2 to 3 minutes until set.

9) Remove from the stove.

10) Serve in a white porcelain bowl ( for a more appetizing look ).

11) Finally, the dish is ready to be enjoyed with a bowl of noodles or rice. 



YUM YUM! Happy trying if you would! ๐Ÿ˜€


Garden Update ( Edibles ) - November, 2018


It has been weeks since I last went back to my home in Ipoh. Predictably, given the recent frequent rain we are having, I was greeted with jungles of lush growing plants, both desired and non-desired - almost equally much in volume, as I stepped into my small garden there this past Sunday.



At the backyard ( where the long planter of edibles were )  ..., 


The Butterfly Pea ( Clitoria ternatea ), Ginger ( Zingiber officinale ), Gynura bicolor, Radish ( Raphanus sativus ), Red Stem Malabar Ceylon Sipnach ( Basella alba ), Sweet Potato ( Ipomoea batatas ) and Thai Basil ( Ocimum basilicum ) plants, and all others ( unidentified weeds ) that dotted around the planter, have all shown exceptional love for the recent wet weather.

They have all progressed incredibly much in the space of just weeks - with the Butterfly Pea vines, being the most noticeable ones of all. Not only have they invaded nearly one third of the wire mesh fence area, but have proceeded to conquer the adjacent Telecom's wire tower right outside the fence Something which I was most please to see. As I have always wanted them to not only block views from my neighbours for privacy purpose, but to also beautify the fence and its surroundings.

What surprised me the most was the Madeira Vine ( Anredera cordifolia ), which I had given up hope on and removed from the planter many months back. It has unexpectedly made a comeback, with its, at least three, new strong-looking babies that have ' self-regenerated ' on and near the pebble stone area of the planter.


Pictures of the backyard's planter of edibles, taken after I have had partial weeding done.




Meanwhile, at the front yard planter ...,


It seemed that weeds of all kinds were having a BIG party or kind, to celebrate the recent rainy weather. They were seen aggressively poking their ugly ( I am sorry to describe them so ) heads up everywhere on the planter. 

The poor, newly-germinated Radish seedlings which I have seeded weeks back after the harvest of my radishes, were nowhere to be seen. The space where they were supposed to be, was all occupied by ' the party guys '. Wish me luck that they thrive anyway!

It was lucky though, that the Sweet Potato vines were not, in the least affected. They seemed to be growing ever carefree and strong. Some were even flowering. Their beautiful, purple, trumpet-like blooms never go unnoticed.

Regardless of the advancing weeds, the Turmeric ( Cucurma longa ) plant has surprisingly sprung back to life, after a somewhat ' dead ' period. It must have loved the recent rainy weather too.


Pictures of the front yard planter.




I have yet to do anything at my small garden this time other than a little weeding at the backyard. As I had to leave on Monday morning.


More updates soon ... but till I go back again ... Most probably sometime next week ... 


Thank you for reading this! BYE!



Effective Microorganism for Plants and Soils - YEAST


Back in September, me and Eldest Sis, along with many other keen gardeners, attended a free gardening course on How To Make Microbial Soils, conducted by and held at the Department of Urban Farming, Putrajaya. During the course, we were being enlightened on the many benefits of using effective microorganisms ( EM ) in boosting plant growth, accelerating composting process and improving soil condition. There, we were showed and taught how we can easily multiply those EM in our very own homes and apply them to our gardens.

That same day, when the feeling of excitement was greatest most. I started off to multiply them ( the EM ) right away, the minute I got home. With only one type of readily available ingredient - the slices of white bread, at hand, I was all set to get at least one type of the EM first - YEAST.

I thought it would be better for me to play with a small amount first. Thus, I used only one slice of white bread. I had it plunged into a half litre soft, plastic water bottle which I had earlier pre-filled with non-chlorinated water, before I had it ( the bottle ) loosely capped ( to allow for gas escape, if any, that may result from the yeasts' activities ) and finally, let it sit for about 24 hours at a dark corner in my kitchen.

 .. oh, how I had hoped the clock could tick faster! ...

The next day, when it was about time, at the 22nd. hour or so, I had the plastic bottle of bread in water, which I supposed, should already have dense population of yeasts, brought to Fourth Sis's apartment to test out. There, I had its water filtered out and selectively, sprinkled and watered onto as many or as much of her plants and soils as possible, until finished. 

Finally, though I managed to have only two types of plants and soils in two pot planters tested with the yeast water, it was still sufficient for me to tell if it was effective at all in boosting the growth of the plants. Given the result was far too obvious to doubt if it could have been just because of luck or anything else. As both the plants had almost exponential growth in terms of number and size of leaves, in just a few days time - something that had never happened before however much I fertilised them.


See evidences below :


1) Ceylon Spinach  ( Basella alba )




2) Chayote Gourd Vine ( Sechium edule )




Sometimes, a tiny bit of success like this can make me feel like a great gardener! ๐Ÿ˜€

Many thanks to the Department of Urban Farming, Putrajaya for conducting this most invaluable course. I believe not only me but all of us have learnt a lot that day!



NOTES : 

1) Yeasts do not only help in breaking down the toughest of organic matters in soils but are able to boost root growth in plants. Thus, making them able to absorb more nutrients and so, fast growth.

2) However, if there is little or no nutrients in soils, yeasts could result in nutrient deficiencies in plants as the abundance of growth must always have abundant nutrient supplies to enable healthy growth.

3) Yeasts are in fact everywhere around us. So, not only bread contains them.



Goodbye, oh, POOR White Bitter Gourd vines!




Fourth Sis suddenly came to notice the army of ants marching on and about her White Bitter Gourd ( Momordica charantia ) vines  last week, while she was sorting her piles of dirty laundry on her balcony. She was so shocked that she phoned me right away, to tell me about her discovery, which to her, was a most dreadful one. She asked me to go over to her apartment and help her have the vines removed soonest possible. In order to get rid of the ants.

I was most reluctant to do so. Thus, I tried my very best to make her change her mind. I spent quite some time persuading and making her understand ( which she eventually did ), that they are friends and not foes. That they are pollinators that could possibly help her get her first, much longed for fruit. I also assured her that they were there for the flowers on the vines only, and not likely would they care to find their ways to the foods in her kitchen, something which I knew she was most afraid would happen. 

But still, eventually, after all the persuasions and reasoning, she was adamant about her initial decision. She wanted to have her White Bitter Gourd vines gone. So that the creepy-crawlies ( ants ) would go too, and make their living elsewhere, away from her balcony. She said she could not tolerate their presence. No matter what. ( long sighs ).

So, with a heavy heart, I had them ( the White Bitter Gourd vines ) killed ( cut at the base ), cut into small parts and removed from her balcony yesterday. 


Goodbye, oh, POOR White Bitter Gourd vines! ( sobs )



Love me, WHY CAN'T YOU?






Dear Gardener,


I have always have a WISHFUL dream.
That is, to become your ' official ' PET.
INSTEAD of your ' detested ' PEST.
To be LOVED and PROTECTED by you.
From the KILLER pellets and kind.

But a wishful dream is EVER a wishful dream.
You will never love me.
In your heart, I am forever a pest that will ruin your plants.
If, to the extent you must get rid of me, 
SPARE ME, MY LIFE, I pray.
Send me off to the wild instead.

THOUGH I do think I could make a GOOD pet.
As ALL I ask is just a GARDEN to roam in.
And a PORTION of your PLANTS to fill my tummy.
MOREOVER, if you would seriously look at me,
you would find that I am actually quite LOVELY in a way!



Love Me,
the Garden Snail



Some notes on my recent harvests...



Finally, last week, it was harvest time again for most of my edibles. 


There were the Butterfly Pea ( Clitoria ternatea ) flowers, the Gynura bicolor leaves, the Radishes ( Raphanus sativus ) and their greens, the Red Stem Malabar Ceylon Spinach ( Basella alba ), the Sweet Potato ( Ipomoea batatas ) leaves and the Thai Basil ( Ocimum basilicum ). 



A beautiful and bountiful lot. 



Which I had evenly distributed among my brothers and sisters.





Nothing was left for myself other than the smallest of the Radishes and its attached greens. Which I had very simply cooked ( the vegetarian way ) and eaten or enjoyed with a small bowl of white rice. SIMPLE, yet DELICIOUS and WONDERFUL!



Just in case someone would like to know...



For the Radish ...


Ingredients that I had used: 

radish ( cleaned, cut and sliced ), star anise ( 1 piece, cleaned ), ginger ( half thumb size, skin removed, cleaned and sliced ), organic soy sauce ( amount added according to my taste preference ), grape seed oil ( a few drops ) and filtered water ( just enough to cover the radish slices inside the pot )


Here is how I had it cooked:

1) At first, I had ALL the ingredients put into a small stainless steel pot.
2) Then, I had the pot covered, put on the stove and cooked over low heat.
3) When the sliced radish had finally soften, I had the pot removed from the stove.
4) Finally, I had the dish served in a small, white porcelain bowl.


How did this dish tasted? 

Fragrant, sweet and wonderful!



For the Radish greens ...


Ingredients that I had used: 

radish greens ( cleaned and cut to bite size ), garlic ( 1 clove, skin removed, cleaned and sliced ), rock salt ( amount added according to my taste preference ), grape seed oil ( 1 tablespoon ) and filtered water ( just enough to wet the radish greens during cooking ).


Here is how I had them cooked:

1) At first, I had the stainless steel pot heated on the stove over low heat.
2) Then, I had the tablespoon of grape seed oil added into the pot.
3) When the oil was about to smoke, I had the sliced garlic thrown in.
4) Shortly after that, I had the radish greens and a small pinch of rock salt thrown in too before I had a little filtered water sprinkled onto them.
5) Then I had the radish greens stir-fried for some time inside the pot until cooked.
6) After that I had the pot removed from the stove.
7) Finally, I had the stir-fried radish greens served in a small, white porcelain bowl.


How did this dish tasted?

Quite bitter but most delicious!






ALL FOR NOW! THANK YOU FOR READING THIS! BYE!



Flowering Plants of The Good Old Days in My Garden


Always on the lookout for some fun as kids, me, my siblings ( Fourth Sis and Jane ) and our neighbour ( Lina ) would hop onto our bikes during weekends and on school holidays. To cycle around every nook and cranny of our small town. Most times, not only did we cycle. But we explored. And played as well. Wherever we stopped at or went. Oh, what adventures! And what sheer fun we had had! I guess no kids our age and gender back then ever imagined the extent of our enjoyment every time we were out on one. Else, they would have follow suit. For sure!



We had been to the ' kampong ' ( ' village ' in Malay language ). Picked and ate the best tasting ' wild cherries ' usually eaten only by birds. Initially, Fourth Sis, Jane and I were hesitant if they were even ' cherries ' or edible at all. But Lina somehow assured us they were. So, we enjoyed them nonetheless.


We had been to the jungle. Where we got really close views of the beautiful, vibrant and multi-coloured blooms of those strong-smelled, wild growing Lantanas ( Lantana camara ) for the first time. And it was right there that we had sworn we would grow some of those flowers in our own gardens when we got home. Though we never did as those sparks of interest to grow them happened to die out soon after we left. Until recently. When I had some started in a pot at my backyard ( from stem cuttings taken from the wild ) .

Pictures of Lantana camara taken from the wild. Mine is yet to flower.


We had been to many abandoned housing project sites. Where we got to enjoy our Hide and Seek plays to the fullest, given the space we could use to our hearts' desires. And where we had enjoyed much of our Outdoor Cooking plays too. Using just dried twigs or woods for our fires. Like those used by ancient people in story books we had read. Such were the fun we often had there. Amidst abandoned, unfinished buildings that were overrun by weeds like Air Mata Pengantin ( Bride's Tears ) or Coral Vines or Mexican Creeper or Chain of Love Antigonon leptopus ), being the most common one. Also one that I enjoyed seeing the most back then for its beautiful, cluster pink flowers and being a super pollinator bee magnet. Which I had recently taken on the interest in growing one in a pot at my backyard.

Pictures of Antigonon leptopus taken  from the side of a road near Ipoh. Mine is yet to mature and flower.


And, we had been to the place for the deceased too. The cemetery. But why you may ask. Was there no other more pleasant place to go and have fun? Or play? Well, we did not know why too. Our legs just brought us there. The place was really quiet when we entered. Though being only tens of metres away from where human's activities were at their peak. Our hairs instantly stood on end. Could not quite relax as usual. We were scared. The feeling just came. Involuntarily. We were thinking of sprinting back to our bikes. Which we had earlier parked near to the entrance. When the wind suddenly blew and it rained flowers of white colour from an adjacent, very magical ( to me, at least ) tree that swayed in the wind. And when simultaneous, beautiful, heavenly scents permeated the air around us. Which instantaneously got us into letting go of our initial intention to run away. We were mesmerized by the beauty of the whole thing. " So beautiful and oh, just so fragrant! " We blurted out at the same time. So, there we stayed, for a couple more minutes. Before we picked up a flower or two each, wore it or them behind our ears and off we went on our bikes again.

I did not know the name of that magical tree until years later. A beautiful name, Frangipani ( Plumeria obtusa ),  it has got. Which I am now growing in a pot at my backyard. Though of a different colour and variety.

Beautiful, fragrant flowers of my potted Frangipani ( Bali Hai or Cendana variety ) at my backyard. ( This plant was started from a stem cutting kindly given by a very generous local Facebook gardening group administrator, Elizabeth Wai Chun Bain some two months back. Many thanks to her! )



Looking back, I shudder at the thought of those places we had been to. How on earth could the word ' DANGER ' not be in our dictionary then? We could have met with nasty animals, people and things or ' the unseen ' that might change our lives forever. And caused our parents to suffer from grief. But thank goodness. That we were really lucky to have skipped them all. And had learnt quite a bit along the way. ABOUT PLANTS, especially! Some of which I am now growing in my small backyard garden.




Garden Update - September 2018


Yesterday, I got to spend about two hours or so in my small garden in Ipoh. It was a rather clear, hot and sunny morning. Much in contrary to the state of the day before. When the sky was cloudy and the weather was cooler. And when there was an indication of a much longed for stuff ( rain ) going to fall down from it. Though before too long ( towards evening time ), as luck would have it, the sky was suddenly, thoroughly cleared. And the sun was felt. Hot. The wind had given the sky a good ' sweep '. The clouds, along with the much longed for RAIN, were swept off to some much luckier places. Showering some much luckier plants.


Oh, how I envy those! My garden had not got to enjoy even the slightest drop of it!


" I can't just wait for it to fall down from the sky. " I told myself, after I had had a quick look around and weeding done at both my back and front yards yesterday morning. " I must not let my plants go thirsty for another day! "


Instantaneously, I reached for the long rubber hose that was waiting to be of service at a corner. I turned the tap on. And gave my whole garden that stuff equivalent that it had missed the day before. I did that for quite a while until I judged it had had enough.



Before the watering ...



AT MY BACKYARD PLANTER, ...



I had weeded out all the Green Amaranths ( Amaranthus sp. ) that had invaded part of my planter while I was away. Since they were young and edible, they did not have to go into my compost bin. I made a simple delicious soup out of them for lunch today. 




There were plenty of newly-germinated and healthy, young Thai Basil ( Ocimum basilicum ) plants on the planter. So, I unhesitatingly, had three, year-old and very woody ones removed. Nothing that I grow is to be wasted. Thus, no exception with the young shoots and leaves of these old, unwanted plants. They were harvested, packed and stuffed into my small fridge for later cooking with tomatoes and bean curds ( Tofu ) or eggs.




( FROM MY OBSERVATIONS .... )



The Red Stem Malabar Ceylon Spinach ( Basella rubra ) plants must have loved the recent rainy weather. They had grown to be very happy and healthy looking plants again, after Jane had all their leaves harvested sometime back. I will let them grow a few more days before I go back again and harvest their leaves. I am thinking of giving them to my sisters in Kuala Lumpur who love to enjoy them in salted egg soup.




The Gynura bicolor plants must have enjoyed the rainy weather too. Plus less sun exposure during this time of year at my northwest facing backyard. They were all starting to look great again, just like how they used to look towards year end last year.




The ' five-lobed ' Sweet Potato ( Ipomoea batatas ) vines which I had started from kitchen scraps sometime back, had all leafed and showed signs of good growth. 




The ginger ( Zingiber officinale ) plants might already have some gingers down there. Perhaps I should seriously have a look at them when I go back again a few days from now.





The Butterfly Pea ( Clitoria ternatea ) vines were looking great as usual with lots of beautiful, bright indigo blue blooms. Everywhere. 





AT MY FRONT YARD PLANTER, ...



( FROM MY OBSERVATIONS .... )



The Turmeric ( Cucurma longa ) plant seemed to have failed to revive. After it had had the shock of its life when Jane had it pulled out and relocated sometime back. But I was not going to give up on it yet!

The Sweet Potato ( Ipomoea batatas ) vines which Jane had harvested until ' bald ' sometime back had all grown back. Though not really lush yet.




Nine out of eleven Radish Raphanus sativus ) plants already have radishes that were visible above the soil. When I gently dug a bit into the soil around one of them, I found that its size was actually double what I saw of it above the soil. Comparing them with store sold ones, I could tell that they were good enough for harvest anytime. However, I would wait until I go back again a few days from now. Meanwhile, I have to think how I should distribute all these radishes!





All for now. Thank you for reading this. Bye!





A Letter To My Sister's White Bitter Gourd Plant ( Momordica charantia )




Dear Momordica,

It was not long ago ....
.... since I last saw you.
A BIG BABY you were then.
Oh, how very fast you have grown!
Could not quite believe my eyes!
You are now ....
.... everywhere ....
.... on the trellis which I have specially constructed for you.

I know how DIFFICULT life is to you these days ....
.... on this seventh floor's balcony ....
That have little daily sun exposure to enjoy ....
.... PLUS .....
.... occasional harsh weathers to battle with ....
.... TORRENTIAL RAINS ....
.... and HIGH WINDS.
I am most grateful that ....
.... despite so ....
.... INCREDIBLY, ....
.... you are thriving!
And are now flowering ....
.... profusely.

I PRAY THAT somehow, some kind insects ....
.... would find your pollens.
And would happily transport them to your stigmas.
So that beautiful, delicious PEARL WHITE GOURDS could form.
And put smiles on my face!

Though ALREADY you have actually ....
.... put them ( smiles ) on my face.
RIGHT NOW. 
With your many cheery, tender yellow blooms ....
.. . everywhere.
And your lush healthy leaves ....
.... that send out heavenly bitter sweet scent ....
.... every time I brush past you.

THANK YOU SO MUCH, oh dear Momordica!
For growing so happily and healthily ....
.... DESPITE all difficulties.
And let me SOAK UP all YOUR GOODNESS ( HAPPINESS )!


Sincerely,
JADE


When you have A CURIOUS VISITOR in the garden...


We were back to Ipoh on September the sixth, and had stayed for about a week or so before we came back to Kuala Lumpur on the twelfth. It had rained almost every day while we were there. Apparently, the plants in my small garden had enjoyed those thorough, natural showers. Every morning, even at a glance, I could tell how very much they had grown, compared to the previous day.

Finally, towards the end of our stay, there were plenty for harvest. Both at my back and front yards. Plenty. But not after Jane, my curious younger sister, had most of them harvested.

Pictures taken after the harvests.


I was still in bed when she did all the harvests. Right before the sun was up. I should have asked her to wait for me before she decides to do anything in the garden. Some edibles were just too new to her. That she inevitably made mistakes.

Out of curiosity, she lifted up my immature Turmeric plant. Only to find that there were no turmerics yet. She planted it back at another spot on the planter. When Fourth Sis found that out sometime later, she was a little upset. The plant was still struggling and yet to recover from the shock caused by the lift before we left for Kuala Lumpur.

The SHOCKED turmeric plant after the lift and relocation.


Having visited a small farm owned and managed by an old Portuguese couple back in the Wales, United Kingdom not long before while she was studying there, Jane had had the taste of fresh peas. Which she had picked and eaten off the plants. So, when she saw my Butterfly Pea vines with lots of pea pods everywhere on them that morning, she was curious what they taste like. Unhesitatingly she picked one, split it open and popped its peas into her mouth right away. The same way she had enjoyed the peas back then.

Gosh! How could she be so unhesitating? What if the peas were inedible or poisonous? Why had she not thought of that possibility? Luckily, they were known to be edible to me. Though no one I knew ever tasted them before, whether cooked or fresh. ( She said the peas tasted just like any fresh peas. Only that they were not sweet. Unlike the ones she had tasted before )

Pictures of the peas and flowers of the Butterfly Pea vines.


There were some right things however, which Jane had done. Like harvesting the Red Stem Malabar Ceylon Spinach, Thai Basil and Sweet Potato greens. ( Though they were all, almost ' bald ' after that. ) And having left my Allamanda, Ginger, Gynura and Radish plants untouched, at least. Thank goodness that she had not mistaken them for some leafy vegetables!

The Radish plants were untouched and not mistaken for some leafy vegetables, at least. What a RELIEF!


I told myself that the next time I have new visitors in the garden, I would give them some briefings first. Before things go wrong!



All Looking GOOD and HOPEFUL


I had been away for more than a week, joining a Buddhist retreat camp with no Internet or phone access at a Buddhist Society near my holiday home in Ipoh since August eighteenth. When the camp ended and while I was on my way back to Kuala Lumpur last Tuesday, I stopped by my home there to see my small garden and took a few pictures. But, having had to rush quite a number of long pending handmade flower orders, I can only, finally sit down and post them here now... After I have had all the orders completed and shipped out this morning.



I was happy to find that .... 


.... almost all ( over ninety percent ) of the Red Stem Malabar Ceylon Spinach ( Basella alba 'Rubra' ) 



and all the Sweet Potato ( Ipomoea batatas ) vines 



which I had started from leafless stem cuttings had grown well with quite a number of leaves each.



.... and most of the Radish (Raphanus raphanistrum subsp. sativus) seeds which I had sown about two to three weeks before had germinated and grown into healthy and strong-looking plants.




Hope they would all continue to grow happily and healthily while I am away. So that by the time I go back to Ipoh again, most probably in a few days time ( with my younger sister, Jane who would be coming back from the UK on Wednesday ), there would be some nice and pleasant, welcoming vegetables in the garden, greeting her as she enters my holiday home for the first time ...



Garden Update - August, 2018


Eldest Sis and Fourth Sis are BIG fans of the Chinese opera, a form of Chinese drama and musical theatre since ancient China. Every year, however busy, they would sacrifice some of their precious time to go back to Ipoh. To watch the once a year shows by Chinese opera performers from Hong Kong. Which are held in conjunction with the Hungry Ghost Festival around the seventh month of the Chinese calendar at the Kuan Tay Temple in Batu Gajah ( a small neighbouring town some 20 minutes drive away ). This year was no exception. They went back this past Saturday. And I followed. Though not for the opera shows. But for my small garden instead.



AT MY BACKYARD....



After MONTHS of hoping for possible harvests of its nutritious leaves, I finally gave up on the Madeira Vine ( Anredera cordifolia ).  I had it removed on Sunday. Though a bit reluctant, it was the wisest decision I had ever made. Or so I thought. It was almost leafless throughout its entire life. All it did was, flower non-stop and tirelessly! Until now, I still do not know what had gone wrong. ( Eldest Sis's one has lots of flowers too. But it has very bushy leaves at the same time. So, she is never short of leaves for harvest. How I envy her! )


The Thai Basil Plants ( Ocimum basilicum ) had grown to be very tall and strong. Their leaves were aged and tough. I gave them all ( three of them ) a good trim so that new, tender ones will form. The trimmed-off stems with leaves were given away to a neighbour who did not mind their tough texture.



I had pulled out all those space-dominating Sweet Potato Vines ( Ipomoea batatas ) that had trailed far out of the planter. And harvested their leaves to make a delicious, stir fried dish for lunch on Sunday. 


After the removal, I had a good-sized space to grow something else.


I had bought some Red Stem Malabar Ceylon Spinach ( Basella alba 'Rubra' ) from the morning wet market as vegetables on Monday. I used their old, fibrous and inedible stems to plant and fill up part of the empty space on the planter. Hope they will all root and grow! So that by the time I go back again, most probably this coming September, I would have some nice leaves to harvest and eat.



The remaining empty space, I had sown with some Radish (Raphanus raphanistrum subsp. sativus) seeds. Hope to see their seedlings or plants the next time I go back. They are easy and fast growing root vegetables. So, perhaps radishes above the soil then?


The last time I went back, I had buried two pieces of shrunk Ginger ( Zingiber officinale ) scraps into the soil of the planter. I was happy to find that they had both germinated and grown into healthy and strong looking plants. They would supply me with some nice, spicy gingers in months to come, if everything goes right. Hopefully.



Mum's best-loved plant, Allamanda cathartica which was previously rooted inside a poly bag, was being transplanted onto the planter for the time being. As the poly bag had begun to tear apart. It has to stay there until I have gotten ready a permanent pot planter filled with soil for it. 



I have always hoped that the Butterfly Pea Vines ( Clitoria ternatea ) would grow a bit more bushy so that they could act as a privacy screen for my backyard. But somehow, that just did not happen. Instead, they produced quite a lot of flowers which I welcomed too and did harvest every morning while I was there. Big bowls, FULL every time! 



The planter looked clean and almost empty when I left for Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday. But in no time, it will be full again with plants. For sure!



I had replanted the shade-loving Gynura bicolor from stem cuttings on the other side of the planter which gets shorter, daily sun exposure. Hopefully, there would be some rain every now and then to boost their growth.


As for the compost-making pot ( You can read about when it first started HERE ), I had not added or done anything to it other than watering. Nothing suitable was at hand then.




AT MY FRONT YARD.....



I had dug up the last of the sweet potatoes on Sunday. ( You can read about the previous harvest HERE ) They read a total 1.3+kg when put on the kitchen scale. All of which had been eaten by me and my siblings on Wednesday. Except for ONE. The BIGGEST one. That weighed approximately 500g. Which I had purposely reserved for my one and only younger sister, Jane, who would be coming back from the UK this coming September. After completing her graduate studies at the University of Wales. Hope she would love it!



On Tuesday morning, I restarted quite a number of sweet potato vines with stem cuttings which I had removed from the planter when I dug up the last of the sweet potatoes days before. 


I had also sown some Radish seeds at a corner of the planter. Hope they would all germinate!


There were only three Turmeric Plants ( Cucurma longa ) still thriving on the planter. One good-sized and two retarded ones. More than ten had perished. Not a sign of them ever existed. Wish these three remaining ones ALL THE BEST!!!





All for now. THANK YOU for reading THIS! Till next time... BYE!



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