Friday, September 30, 2016

Gardening tools, second life

Old car boot tray, black in colour had seen its best years where it should be, in our old car.  It makes saturday marketing quite presentable. It will contain fish, chicken, meat and vegetables.  We also have quite a collection of old paint and putty containers. They are now into second phase of their useful life in gardening.

Old car boot tray

another container with second meaningful life

bangchik and kakdah
Putrajaya Backyard Garden

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Chenderoh Dam early morning

It was a day before Ilah's engagement that all of us spent a night at Yop's place, . He  is now working as an Eletrical Engineer with Tenaga Nasional Berhad. He is stationed at Chenderoh Hydro Electric Dam which is the oldest hydro electric dam in Malaysia.  

Chenderoh dam, Perak
I took this picture early in the morning. Even though there was nothing much to see, the mood was  very cool and soothing as mists softened  the contrasting hills and water below.

bangchik and kakdah

Monday, September 26, 2016

community of plants, diversity and variety.

To be natural with gardening, is to aim for as much diversity and variety as possible.  Its the opposite to commercial agriculture which depends on massive mono cultures.

Variety in a circle

right in the centre>> mengkudu,  outer circumference>>banana and pokok masam

Variety in a cluster

Wetter section of garden plot allows turmeric, kesum and taro to coexixt

bangchik and kakdah
Putrajaya Backyard Vegetable Garden

Friday, September 23, 2016

Sabah Snake Grass in Putrajaya

Demand for this special plant or rather grass soared for the past few years due to  media coverage on a cancer patient supposedly cured beyond the three years and getting healthier after consuming sabah snake grass.

Two years ago, Sulong Yahaya our dearest friend  gave away one polybag of snake grass (Clinacanthus nutans).  He is very much  into herbal world.  "Pick 7 fresh leaves of sabah snake grass and chew them everyday", he prescribed.  Originally it was used to treat snake bites hence its name sabah snake grass. Nowadays it is magical in cancer prevention, detoxification and blood circulation. It also regulates kidney functions, cholesterol and blood pressure.

The plant seems to enjoy wet and shady environment. So I put sabah snake grass in the same habitat as taro and banana, and also in pots.

Sabah Snake Grass or Belalai Gajah
(Clinacanthus nutans)


1. Sabah Snake Grass

2. Sabah Snake Grass: The Miracle Herb and Its Side Effects

3. Sabah Snake Grass Warning – Alternatives to Medicine

 bangchik and kakdah
Putrajaya Backyard Garden

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

fungi feasting on old tree trunk

There was this huge pokok payung indonesia  (Hura Crepitans)  on the right side of our house.  I remembered having to sweep and collect old leaves everyday which was very good for compost pile. The tree was chopped down, when the Putrajaya Holdings decided that it had grown too tall and too big for safety reasons.  

A year later, the decaying tree stump plays host to the world of fungi, plants and other living creatures.

 fungi - kulat 1

fungi - kulat 2
new growth

 fungi - kulat 3

 fungi - kulat 4

fungi - kulat 5

 fungi - kulat 6

 fungi - kulat 7

fungi - kulat 8

fungi - kulat 9

fungi - kulat 10

fungi - kulat 11
ulam raja coexists with fungi on old tree trunk
 Fungi has a world of itself.  Since fungi cannot make its food from sunlight, water and carbon dioxide as plants do, they must take in food from other organism. Decaying trees are the most common place to look for fungi.

bangchik and kakdah
Putrajaya Backyard Garden

Monday, September 19, 2016

Papaya, with a light mulch.

It will be sad, if this papaya tree emerge as male. I hope that will not happen. The previous attempt ended with all three male papaya, with small white flowers dangling from long stalks. It started when I took pity on papaya seedlings emerging in one of Kakdah's flower pots. Ater carefully transplanting them on the ground,  a few months later,  the three papaya tree were  teasing me " sorry, you got three males, ."  To sooth injured ego, I let them grow for awhile, Anyway its not too bad having male papaya, the flowers are good for salad.

But the current experiment with papaya will hopefully be all females. The seeds were clinically selected. Two varieties are grown right now. The first type had been grown here last year, which had produced lots of fruits and  the second was given by Farah. She was our eldest daughter now in Jitra Kedah

Papaya with a light mulch

source of mulching material

Mulch around the base of young  papaya tree is like kids with socks. Mulch will protect plants during hot weather. I can leave them on their own  when we need to be away for a few days. The safest approach to collect mulching material is to grow them. Grasses offer decent source, like lemongrass and napier grass.

Bangchik and Kakdah
Putrajaya Backyard Garden

Saturday, September 17, 2016

MULBERRY, not enough for everyone.

A friend commented about balanced diet recently.  He said we were designed to withstand the worst situation on food we take. In the early days of human existence, he imagined that food wasn't very regular, men would go out hunting animals and collecting edible fruits and shoots on the way home.  People would eat later half of the day, probably only once a day.  Food would be varied according to what they managed to bring back home.  No standard daily menu.

Once men settle down, no more nomadic hunters,  there would be chickens, goats, cattle, fruit trees and vegetables around the homes. Then food became regular and of standard menu.

I was looking at my only mulberry tree grown in a pot. It has been with us for almost 10 years.  I wonder if glimpses of early days of human existence is coming up. One mulberry tree, potted to make it even worse,  cant be enough for everyone.

Wani and Arif came last month, and they had a bite at these mulberries.  I promised them mulberry jam next year. I need to grow more mulberry plants!

bangchik and kakdah
Putrajaya backyard garden

Friday, September 16, 2016

leucaena growing healthily after pruning

People like plants for various reasons.  Not all plants are for consumption ending up on dinner plate. Some plants are grown for sheer beauty, for shade,  for colour, for exquisite flowers. Kakdah (my other half)  wonders what's so special about leucaena, that I reserve quite a space for them.

They grow so fast, reaching a height of about 10 feet in a year. That's the main reason I grow them. I need plants or trees that fill the higher space, giving shade to the ground. Creepers, okra, pandan, lemongrass cannot do that, because they are designed to fill lower space. Rambutan, and mango trees may take 5 years to reach that height.

I love leucaena because the leaves are small. When they fall, there is no need to sweep. the dead leaves will blend with the lawn and decompose over time.  Its nice to have them around to fill up the upper storey of garden space and with small sparse leaves, vegetables underneath can still enjoy sunbathing!.

I pruned once a few months back. Leucaena demonstrated the best regrowth I ever seen.

Leucaena: Young leaves

Leucaena: Older leaves

Leucaena: leaves view from below

Leucaena: a row of leucaena

bangchik and kakdah
Putrajaya Garden

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Crotalaria Pallida, a new addition to Putrajaya backyard garden

I parked under a large tree at Bangi Golf Resort. As I get out of the car, a cluster of small shrubs attracted my attention. The shrubs were  about 3 feet high, with yellow flowers and  seedpods hanging down nicely. I took a few ripe seedpods home.

I googled to get  its name, Crotalaria Pallida, a leguminous plant.  I remembered seeing these plants in Kampung Pelegong and Kampung Gamin Tengah, both in Negeri Sembilan while visiting friends. I dont think I ever seen one in  Putrajaya or Perak.

This is an erect shrub, annual or short-lived perennial herb of 1.5 m or more tall.  The stout stem is hairy and has longitudinal grooves. Leaves are trifoliate with a 2-8.5 cm long petiole, leaflets 3-13 x 2-5 cm and elliptical to obovate. Flowers are yellow, often reddish-brown veined and borne on 15-40 cm long racemes, each with 20-30 flowers. Fruits are 3-5 x 0.6-0.8 cm, 30-40 seeded that are heart-shaped, 3 x 2 mm, shiny, mottled ochre and dark grey-green or brown.

Crotalaria pallida Aiton. Fabaceae. CN: [Malay - (Dusun) Kiri-kiri, Tirik-irik], Salts rattlebox, Smooth rattlebox, Striped crotalaria, Streaked rattlepod, Native of tropical Africa, tropical Asia' elsewhere naturalized or cultivated. perennial herb or sub-shrub, with stems ascending or erect, 1-2 m tall. Leaves are trifoliate, leaflets elliptic, ovate, or oblanceolate, 2.8-9.5 cm long, 1.2-4.5 cm wide. Leaf base is wedge-shaped or rounded, with leaf stalk 2.2-6.7 cm long. Flowers are 1-1.5 cm long, 22-75 in terminal, somewhat lax inflorescence about 15-40 cm long. Petals are yellow with lines near base, standard petal 0.9-1.2 cm long, 7-9 mm wide, keel petals striated, with non-twisted prolonged beak. Pods brown at maturity, 3.5-3.8 cm long.

I had them germinated and transplanted to one side of the backyard garden.  Some didn't survive, trampled by neighbour's cats or chewed by snails. Now these Crotalaria Pallida are producing seeds pods.

Crotalaria Pallida: Seedpods

Crotalaria Pallida: Flowers

Crotalaria Pallida: young flowers

Crotalaria Pallida: flowers, full bloom.

Crotalaria Pallida:  shrubs

I love these cute little perennials for the flowers that had been attracting bees, and for its nitrogen fixing potentials. I noticed these crotalaria pallida seemed  happy with a bit of pruning.


Bangchik and Kakdah

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Pisang Tanduk, first harvest.

It started with five banana seedlings of pisang tanduk variety middle of last year, two died, and the other three survived to maturity. One plant with little banana fruits got blown down by strong wind  a month back . The other two manage to stay upright and finally bear lovely fruits. The bananas are big and long, eight altogether in a comb.  Kakdah gave a few to neighbour and friends.

BANANA:  Pisang tanduk variety.
 Four left, the rest are given away. 10th sep 2016

BANANA Pisang Tanduk variety

PISANG TANDUK 13 July 2016
PISANG TANDUK 13 July 2016

PISANG TANDUK 16 August 2016

PISANG TANDUK 30 August 2016
PISANG TANDUK 30 August 2016

PISANG TANDUK 10 September 2016, yellowish colour
is a sure sign of ripeness.

Pisang tanduk is best cooked as fried fritters
or locally known as goreng pisang.

bangchik and kakdah
Putrajaya backyard garden
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