Friday, April 30, 2010

Soak seeds first.



Seeds are covered by the outer skin called seed coat. They are waterproof and meant to protect the embryo inside until the condition is favouirable for germination. Seeds may last for years...

Bunga Bakawali, a myth.

,The plant goes by many names; bunga bakawali in malaysia, wijaya kusuma in indonesia, Queen of the night, Night-blooming Cereus, Dutchman's Pipe, Gul-e-Bakavali  in Hindi, Kadupul in Sinhala. Bunga Bakawali is in fact a cactus. 

We have this in a pot. I am not too sure how long will it take to mature and bloom. It seems that this cactus blooms at night and only for that night. It has been reported that bunga bakawali, will start off its blooming stage  around 9pm and opens up fully by midnight and closes around 3am. A person had described the fragrance of the flower as "an intoxicatingly extravagant fragrance ". The famous Arabian Nights mentioned about the Rose of Bakawali, There is mystic behind this flower at least in this part of the world.

The plant is a giveaway from Rosiah, my sister who doesn't seem to venture  too much out of Pantai Remis, the place seven of us were born and grew up.  It is so easy to propagate this cactus, according to her. A portion of the matured leaf is good enough to produce roots and grow in a pot.

pokok bunga bakawali 

It is going to be a long wait...for the mystical fragrant blooming night.

  1. evolusi pengembangan bunga bakawali... |
  2. Bakawali 
  3. Arabian Nights
  4. Epiphyllum

putrajaya malaysia

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Of The Two Basils




white and purple 
side by side

Of the two,
purple is spectacular
with its purple stems
and flowers.

We have both,
each grows healthily
to beat the other.

But their taste
is about the same
and fit well
into kakdah's menu.

Putrajaya, Malaysia 

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Sunflower having many heads

A sunflower with many heads

hint of branches

A Sunflower having many heads
(bunga matahari dengan kuntum yang banyak)

1. The mother plant produced just one flower. It dried, and produced 35 seeds. Now the second generation sunflowers seem to follow the footstep of the mother plant producing single flower. Except for 3 plants. They produced multiple heads. I guess the wild element of sunflowers is seeping through the generations.

2. Of the three, one exhibits a totally different multi heads. That single odd plant produces some kind of branches, not just heads....Even coming from a single mother plant, these plants are unique and very much individual in character. Even the wilderness gets in a controlled environment over a tamed and domesticated sunflower. Their DNA make-ups will continue for million of years....

Putrajaya Malaysia

Monday, April 26, 2010

Different ways of highlighting edges

bricks: straight

bricks: straight


husk: individual
for specific plant protector

husk: individual
for specific plant protector, 
in this case very much temporary. 
The husk will be removed once the ulam raja get stronger.
bricks: straight with gaps

allowing free movement of roots, and avoiding water ponding  
and at the same time maintain element of neatness.

husk: circular
suitable for plants that grow in circular fashion. 
In this case is lengkuas, a local ginger specie

husk: straight
providing a very formal feel and ruralness at the same time. 
Since coconut fibers retain water, 
the garden bed is experiencing a cooler environment.

 Different ways of highlighting  edges
(kaedah menonjolkan tepi batas)

1. A garden is enhanced with edging , whether it is for flowers, herbs or vegetables. Edging holds the content together like a framed picture. An existing structure in the form of pathways can be utilized as edging. For more flexibility, temporary edgings would be the choice of many home gardeners. After a couple of years, feeling tired over the existing garden bed, temporary edgings can easily be dismantled and redesigned into a new concept and location.

2. Bricks has the advantage of lost lasting and durable. So far I have been toying them around to achieve the impact that I want for a particular bed or plants. I thought putting them together with gaps in between does give a pleasant feeling.

3. I have been playing around with this flexibility offered by edging material. Coconut husk, not only is earth friendly, but it offers such flexibility to be moved around as we like. Husk will decay over time, thus improving the soil with it's organic contribution. Three concepts has been used for coconut husks:
  • 1. aligned in a straight line.
  • for the garden bed containing sunflowers, tomato, 
  • basil, coleus, ginger and radishes.   

  • 2. Aligned in a circular fashion
  • suitable for plants growing in a circular fashion, 
  • lengkuas in our case .
  • 3. Aligned for specific plant protector
  • suitable as protection for little plants just transplanted, 
  • ulam raja in this case.

The choice is numerous.
It very much depends on what we want.

putrajaya Malaysia

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Lady fingers little fruit and a flower

the little fruit
and the flower

the little fruit
and the flower

the flower

the  flower

a flower and a finger

a flower and a finger

Lady fingers little fruit and a flower
(kacang bendi dan bunga)

The fruit doesn't take long to develop and ready to be harvested. Four or five days is about enough for the fruit to be picked after flowering. Kakdah is set to pick fruits from the six plants. Not many, but definitely enough. We are now on the look out for fruit borers, bugs and leaf spots which seem to be the common problem with lady's finger.

The fruits and other parts of the plant has many uses, can be cooked in many ways such as curry,  salad and fried. The fruits also can be canned, frozen and salted. The slimy substance of the fruits can be used to thicken tomato sauce. In India, the old stems of the lady's fingers can be processed into papers and mature seeds used as coffee substitute (daily drink).

Kakdah just add lady's finger in her curry!


Saturday, April 24, 2010

The joy of a harvest.

second harvest on a plate

second harvest spread on the table 
~to be added in fried rice, fried noodles, soups and curry.

ubi kayu
on the dry yard. The tile is 1x1foot square
~can be boiled or sliced and fried into chips.

veggies from containers
now in a bowl..
~can be fried or steamed for a lovely dinner

eggplants, chili and spinach.
on a plastic plate.
~this will definitely lasts for a week

Those of us who grow our own vegetables appreciate the meaning of abundance. Gardening is about understanding the factors promoting growth, about elements causing unhealthy plants and lower produce. In the end, a harvest is a joyous moment. For the two of us, the harvest is plentiful, and certainly a joyful and gratifying moment. 

How's your harvest?

Putrajaya Malaysia

Friday, April 23, 2010

Our cabbages at stage 4

cabbage 1
about 10 leaves

cabbage 2
about 10 leaves

cabbage 3
about 10 leaves

cabbage 4
about 10 leaves

1. I was reading an article the other day about the many stages a cabbage has to go through before harvest. I found this information very useful, to deal with growing cabbages for the first time. It eases anxiety as the formation of cabbage head is peculiar and  not in the same light as other vegetables. Fruiting vegetables are very predictable, where plants will grow and the hint of maturity appears as soon as the flowering starts. Then we can expect fruits to form as soon as the flowers drop off. Even spinach is very predictable. 

2. But growing cabbage is totally different. Plants start growing almost in the same manner as Kailan or chinese Kale. The leaves are so identical which is thick, flat and glossy blue-green. At the moment, our cabbages behave just like another leafy vegetable. I can only expect cabbage heads to start forming when the total number of leaves is beyond 26. At the moment, it is 10, which is at stage 4. Now I am expecting the plants to enter stage 5, which is precupping.

3. To simulate a cooler environment, the containers are placed at the side of the house. There will not be any direct effect of rains on these plants. They are experiencing about 6 hours of afternoon sunlight. For now, being away from the lawn, and other plants in the garden, cabbages are growing free of pests.

Even though the plants are growing well, 
I just wonder, 
whether the cabbage heads 
will eventually form.

Cabbage growth stages

Stage 1: Cotyledon (seed leaves). No true leaves present.
Stage 2: Seedling, up to 5 true leaves
Stage 3: 6-8 true leaves
Stage 4: 9-12 true leaves. Base of stem is still visible from above.
Stage 5: Precupping (approximately 13 - 19 leaves).
By the end of this stage, the base of the stem and the bases of all leaves are concealed when  the plant is viewed from above. The innermost  heart leaves are growing in an upright fashion and are visible without moving any of the leaves. 
Stage 6: Cupping (approximately 20 - 26 leaves)
Stage 7: Early Head Formation 2.5 - 4" diameter head
Stage 8: Head Fill 3 - 8" diameter head 
Stage 9: Mature 6 -12" diameter head

( about cabbages going through several stages before harvest.  Click for more: CABBAGE GROWTH STAGES

Putrajaya Malaysia

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The ecstasy of Sunflowers

days ago

days ago



The first flower

sunflower number 2

sunflower number 3

details of sunflower number 3
how many seeds will it produce?

this is the old picture of
the mother Sunflower 
 featured in September 12, 2009 which ended up with 35 seeds

I have been taking pictures of  our sunflowers as they are about to bloom. When the yellow petals open up and expose those little florets,
we are coming to the climax of sunflower blooming.
The ecstasy  begins here.

Putrajaya Malaysia
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