Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sweet peas: a failed attempt.

The story of sweet peas is a sad one in here. That's about as far as it can go. Then it wilts and dies the next morning. Gardening is not all about bucketful bounty, pretty flowers and juicy fruits. A sad one will come in intermittently to complete the flavor of gardening. Seeds are still available, and I do have the responsibility to complete the test that  seeds from Sweden can really see the light of the day here in Putrajaya.


Monday, March 29, 2010

Should I count the number of tomatoes?

1. Tomato
a view from the porch

2. Tomato
a view towards the house

3. The fruits

4. The fruits

5. The fruits

6. The fruits.

7. The fruits.

We were smiling at the sheer number of little tomatoes hanging on all the six tomato plants. 
Then Kakdah posed a question, "should we count  how many of them?....".
I didn't really reply when I said "definitely more than our last attempt."
Kakdah continued watering
as I walked around looking for elements of beauty!

~ bangchik

Sunday, March 28, 2010

A homemade cabinet

There are times, when we thought we can make things seen in the superstore. I gave it a go at making cabinet. Simple structure, very skeletal, with racks to put the little pots. All are leftover material from a construction site. Of course the nails are new. Tools used are handsaw, hammer, L-square, pencil and nails.

I leave it bare, 
with no facial treatment for ,
my germination laboratory


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Germinating cucumber seeds

cucumber seeds 

Another first attempt, cucumber. As anything else, the first always comes with anxiety, tremendous urge to know more and overwhelmed with anticipation. The seeds look sparkling clean, so very white.  I soaked them for 2 days and yet no sign of roots coming out. Most seeds would have the seed coats broken if soaked for a couple of days. I googled and found this  information at Plant info, pictures and care instructions for Cucumber Garden . DAYS TO GERMINATION ~ Average 8 days | Min 1 days | Max 101 days (186). There is real mystery in germination of cucumber given such a spread on possibility of days of germination, with average of 8 days, minimum of 1 day and maximum of 101 days over 186 observations.

I then change the seeds into little pots to give them a new place. 
 I religiously put a few drops of water 
into the little pots everyday.  
Still no sign after three weeks.
Then one day, I loosen up the soil. 
No seeds, 
all soil...

I am not going to give any guesses... But I definitely am back to the drawing board.

~ bangchik

Some notes:

The seed contains the embryo of the new plant, with a supply of food for the embryo until it has formed sufficient roots and leaves to obtain its own food. The food, endosperm, may be in the seed leaves or it may be outside the seed leaves and be absorbed when the seed germinates. To start germination, the seed leaves absorb water and swell, and the radicle emerges, followed by the plumule. For some seeds, their future germination response is affected by environmental conditions during seed formation; most often these responses are types of seed dormancy.

Water - is required for germination. Mature seeds are often extremely dry and need to take in significant amounts of water, relative to the dry weight of the seed, before cellular metabolism and growth can resume.

Oxygen - is required by the germinating seed for metabolism

Temperature - affects cellular metabolic and growth rates. Seeds from different species and even seeds from the same plant germinate over a wide range of temperatures. Seeds often have a temperature range within which they will germinate, and they will not do so above or below this range. Many seeds germinate at temperatures slightly above room-temperature 60-75 F (16-24 C),

Light or darkness - can be an environmental trigger for germination and is a type of physiological dormancy. Most seeds are not affected by light or darkness, but many seeds, including species found in forest settings, will not germinate until an opening in the canopy allows sufficient light for growth of the seedling.


Friday, March 26, 2010

Tomato; the skin is shining...


The little fruits emerge as white,
it takes a couple of weeks before the colour turns slightly greenish.
By then, the shine begin to appear...
Its like early maturity,
like a teenager.

Puberty begins with a surge in hormone production,
which in turn,
causes a number of physical changes.

Our earlier tomatoes 
are showing every sign of puberty,
with blushes setting in. How they shine........


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Making bricks ornamental.

Photo 1 ~ bricks with pegaga

Photo 2 ~ bricks
pegaga in between

Photo 3 ~ the gap between bricks

Photo 4 ~ the gap between bricks

It is not about the issue of bricks not enough, therefore the wide gap in between. I have been discussing this with Kakdah, that as edging,  bricks serve its function so well. Heavy rains is a real test on bricks. Bricks retain soil from being washed out which we are very thankful. But being impervious they contain water as well, hence plants temporarily get drown.

We then leave gap in between, enough for  Pegaga
to creep through and peep over the edge.

 photo 5

photo 6

 photo 7

To us, bricks are ornamental.

Putrajaya, Malaysia

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The sky, The wind and The green.

How interrelated they are, the sky, the wind and the green. A light breeze takes a portion of the heat away from the air, pushing it somewhere else I guess. It was some decades ago, when a teacher introduced whats logical then about how the existence of low and high pressure induces the movement of air. Things somehow perpetually look for equilibrium. Water looks for its own balanced level and so is air pressure.

The little piece hanging at the porch. 
Whenever there is a strong wind, 
the bamboo knock against one another 
producing a lovely melodic tune.

The sky is the limit to what is earthly. Water turn itself into  a lighter form , vapour to travel high. Talk about hanging out with your own kind, water shows the way. Water vapour rises and assemble on daily basis. When they had enough for the day, they parachute downwards in drizzles and rains. Like us water too has tantrums, its ugly side will emerge as it rampage the whole neighbourhood in a flooding mood to echo whats thundering in the sky, the torrential rain. Its the same sky, that birds play and dive at will, nonchalant at times.

a bird resting 
as the other gliding forward.
in front of my house.

The green is at the mercy of the two, wind and sky. With the right proportion, we call it good weather. The green has been a logical thing, always reacts well with good weather. They too succumb to the anger of the sky and wind, that they allow themselves to be blown over, broken and dead. When the sky opens up its gate, heavy downpour will drown the green.
 My favourite, sawi putih.
This one goes by many names.

Life has always been that way, 
forever correcting itself 
perpetually finding the elusive equilibrium.

~ bangchik
Putrajaya, Malaysia

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sunflower bathing well.

sunflower plant

sunflower plants.

I did a post on sunflowers on the 9th of March about sunflowers taking position on vegetable beds.    These sunflowers are really going into the second generation. 
Now they grow at different locations. The majority stay on the same vegetable as the mother plants used to be. These somehow suffer from pest attact, grasshoppers mostly. The other six sunflower plants are on tomato bed, which grow better. The leaves are wide and big. Other than the fact that they experience positive effect from tomato plants nearby, the bed was in fact previously occupied by winged beans plants. 

Winged beans are able to 'fix' the all important plant food Nitrogen from the atmosphere. This is stored in small but visible 'nodules ' on the root system, and is often left in the soil after the plant's death. The Nitrogen is obtained from the atmosphere by a symbiotic relationship with the nodules and certain bacteria (Rhizobium). For that reason, the soil is now very fertile in that bed.

~ bangchik 
Putrajaya, Malaysia


Sunday, March 21, 2010

The eggplant after the first.

Two eggplants

the fruit.
it does look a little bit awkward.

The first eggplant displayed deep  purple colour  as it grew big and matured. 
The first has ended in Kakdah's curry on one of the many Sundays. Now the two plants are busy sprouting light purple flowers and ballooning the fruits. Two good bugs in the form of ladybirds had made the eggplants their home. They crawled slowly on top of the leaves. I am guessing that these two bugs are doing me a favour by cleaning up the leaves of dust and minute pests.......Fertilizing is done by placing a spoonful of poultry pellet fertilizer six inches away from the base on weekly basis. 

a ladybird doing some cleaning,
another one on a different leaf.

Precaution is not to over-water them,  and water only the soil, not the stems and leaves... I do spray liquid fertilizer and immunizer I bought more than a year ago. For convenience sake, I spray every Saturday morning on the leaves , the stems and branches.

So far so good.

~ bangchik
Putrajaya, Malaysia

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Good weather, Good tomato




tomato and flowers

Our Six tomato plants are doing well. Nice little fruits are appearing through the leaves. The smell of tomato plants is lingering in the air, so strong that grasshoppers and other little pests shy away. The nearby vegetables sharing the same bed, are reaping the benefit, growing happily, not disturbed even a minute by pests.

I just read    here, about  fruits.
Fruits are classified as simple, aggregate, or multiple.
Simple fruits develop from a single ovary.
They include fleshy fruits such as cherries and peaches (drupe), pears and apples (pome), and tomatoes (berries). Although generally referred to as a vegetable, tomatoes technically are a fruit because they develop from a flower. Squash, cucumbers, and eggplants also develop from a single ovary and are classified botanically as fruits.

Lately, the weather is exceptionally good. Light drizzle almost everyday, the temperature is mild not too hot, and wind is fairly tame. The condition is just perfect for delicate leafy vegetables to thrive. Tomato plants react positively by producing fruits, enlarging by day. I have not counted the number of tomatoes hanging from the stalks. At a glance, they are no less than 30, putting an average of about 5 per plant. Each plant grows with varying degree of exposure to the sun.The last row, which is slightly hidden by the front rows, does less sunbathing, resulting in slightly lesser fruits.

A friend blogger mentioned about bangchik being very fond of vegetables grown. An article I read sometime ago mentioned about regular conversation by the gardener towards plants, and the plants swell with enthusiasm. We don't talk to plants. As we are squatting in front of vegetable bed, fluffing the soil, adding fertiliser or watering them, we do talk about them. They must have heard and responded well.

But the true fact is, we are experiencing such a good spell of nice weather. That must be the major contributing factor to the excellent health of tomato plants.

~ bangchik
Putrajaya, Malaysia

Friday, March 19, 2010

Veggies in a bed and the attachment.

1 sawi

2. spinach

4. sunflowers
no sign of grasshopper bites, probably due to close proximity 
to tomato plants

5. Eight radishes
on the left side of the vegetable bed.
They get more sunlight
than the other 4 on the right side.

6. sawi taiwan

7. four radishes
on the right side of the vegetable bed.
Tucked behind tomato plants, quite shady.

I display them separately here just for easier identification.
They are okey so far, sharing space and bed.

Ours is not rows after rows, but more of a little bit of each, the french way it seems,
enough for two mouths and a few more when the children come home,
crowding over weekends. But when the quantity is small, we tend to remember and recognize each of them,  creating some kind of bond between plants and the gardeners. The plants begin to turn into something very cute. It is not easy to rush down and pick or pull these veggies, there is that split second pause, assuring ourselves that it is alright to pull them out... Like picking a nice chicken you know since baby for a good dinner... Oh Well...

~ bangchik

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Keeping seeds

 seeds container

seeds container

Most gardeners I imagine are guilty of having far too many seeds than needed. Then comes the issue of storing them. The box has been with us for almost two years. I bought a box of chocolates on the way home from overseas trip. Kakdah and the children love chocolates so much, that the whole box was emptied in no time. 

That box is reused  to keep seed packets safe and in an almost airtight condition. 
Age is catching up, 
and the box begin to rust.

where do you keep your seeds?

~ bangchik
Putrajaya, Malaysia
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