Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Harvesting home-grown cabbages.

 Menuai hasil tanaman kubis di Malaysia

the four cabbages
pictured on a dinner plate, 
so that will give a fair idea 
about the actual size of each cabbage.

the four cabbages
on a lighter colour tone.

What sold at the market are a lot bigger. Farmers with years of experience should be able to grow and harvest large and beautiful cabbages. In Malaysia, cabbages are normally grown in the highlands where the weather is cooler and thus promotes growth in its natural environment. Home gardening at low lying area like Putrajaya requires simulation of a cooler environment. So the pots are permanently placed by the side of the house away from the direct sunlight.

After months of waiting, both of us decided to call it a day, we cut off the cabbage head. They are not very big but they warm our hearts in a big way. The anticipation of what is going to come out of growing cabbages for the first time paid off. The shining leaves are so lovely...

A few details
Seeds bought:  28th of February 2010
Seeds germinated: the very same night, 28th February 2010
First Posting on Cabbage: Wednesday, March 10, 2010 Playing with cabbage.
Cabbage Life before harvest: exactly 4 months

I may try cabbage again next year, 
but for the moment there are cucumbers and bitter gourds 
crying for attention.

Comparing eggplants and lengkuas.

The eggplant, or the brinjal, or terung locally known, are growing and producing fruits. One has ended up in Kakdah's lovely curry, but the rest are still small.  The plants don't last very long, after a couple of fruiting burst, which could be 4 to 5 months from now, the plants will weaken. The leaves will be feasted by insects before the plants succumb to fate. But not before they have awarded us with bountiful harvest and lovely dishes. These plants love heat and worship the mighty sun as much as the sunflowers...


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

bitter gourds; a perspective

picture 1

picture 2

picture 3

looking up.
picture 4

The whole bitter gourd plants are lightweight in nature and look. The two plants climb up and spread at the top of the trellis with the help of flexible tendrils. Tendrils just grab anything in sight, most on the bamboo structure but sometime on their own stems and stalks.  The fruits are allowed to hang and by doing so the fruits will develop nicely and proportionately unless beetles choose to bore at some stage of the development. Some branches that has gone out of the way and fall, require our help to put them back where they are suppose to be... going up and rest on the trellis.  A branch was more adventurous by stretching far and get attached to the hibiscus nearby. I have to entangle that..

Watering is still twice everyday, morning and evening.  Fertiliser is once every fortnight, poultry pellets and liquid fertiliser spray. So far insects shy away from bitter gourd plants. Beetles that have been munching cucumber  leaves are very busy there, and have not considered bitter gourds their second home. Yesterday Kakdah took one gourd, and fried the sliced gourd with shrimps. Tasty!
At the moment there are 8 fruits dangling at various stage of maturity.

When ever there is wind,
the fruits will sway sweetly,
welcoming the rare visit of natural friend.


Monday, June 28, 2010

bitter gourds: the male flowers

a male flower

a male flower

a male flower

a male bud

a male flower
with many male buds
queuing for their turn to make appearance

Bitter gourd plants look very pretty when yellow flowers start to emerge. Most never end as fruits. These are the male flowers. The plant decides early which flower should end up having fruit.  The chosen flower will emerge with elongated and bulging stalk with flower bud at the tip. The lucky female flower is lucky indeed to be surrounded by many males.....

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Handling pineapples the small way

new plant in pot.

Growing pineapple in pot is not common in Malaysia. Everybody seems to be growing pineapples on the ground. When available land is limited, container gardening even for pineapples is the way...., the small way.

The growth of pineapple is so slow that we don't feel it growing. The growth is all about adding a new leaf in the middle, one at a time in a circular fashion. I would expect the leaves to get longer and the plant getting higher. Even with regular fertilizing and good care, I don't think the plant in pot will really grow as on the ground, but at least it fits the need for something very ornamental to please the tired eyes...

pineapple on vegetable bed

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The first cucumber

The first cucumber shows up,
tiny fruit with flower at the end.
The spiky surface would probably protect it for a while against intruders
before it balloons up into a nice baton shape.

To see little fruit
coming out is a joy.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The old papaya bids farewell.

Trees can go to hundred years, outlasting humans on resilience... Some smaller plants last for a year or so... some over a few months. Spinach push hard at early stage, and become matured within days..... Papaya seem to last for a few years.  The effect of termite treatment on our old papaya really hurt the roots and lower stem. They seem to be giving way and rot.  After some deliberation, we decided  to bring the towering plant down.  A new plant has been planted not too far away, ready to take over...

Generally termites will search for dead woods and chew them. But in dry season, termites do attack diseased  and weaker  plants. It seems that they go for exotic crops rather indigenous crops. (click here for further info TERMITES IN AGROECOSYSTEMS). I guess our tall and old papaya fits that well, being very exotic, getting old and weakening.

The papaya stem 
cut into shorter lengths 
and later chopped further 
as composting material.

the stump dug out.
the area was further sprayed with termite poison

the new papaya plant 
just a metre away ready to take over. 
I really hope the new plant is not male.

Now I am thinking what to do with them, the stack of stems.
I am still following strictly my fundamental on gardening. 
What's organic here must stay....

Thursday, June 24, 2010

When male shows beauty.

the flower of a male papaya plant

the flower of a male papaya plant
 The last visit to our eldest daughter's house was greeted by a papaya plant flowering. I remember those plants grown as babies. All look very much indentical. Half way through to maturity, they start to show their true colour. At her garden, a plant shows this flowers, but the rest are showing their ability to produce flowers which end up as little fruits. We call papaya with fruits as females and the those as in the picture as males. Statistically there are more female papaya plants as compared to males. Our daughter has gone into details. She is now able to pick seeds that will end up as females and throw away the seeds of males. It lies in the colour. That's what she said....
I have come across a few plants 
which show these dual sexes make-ups. 
and males are no less beautiful. !!.....

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

what's so exotic about bittergourds


a bitter gourd hanging nicely

another bittergourd

the intricate design

the leaves

flower, partly hidden


the little bitter gourd

the flower, so soft and delicate

The last post on bitter gourds was done on Monday, June 14, 2010 with the title 
Bitter gourds are blooming and fruiting.

Within a week, the fruits  really grow and take the shape and the look of a matured fruit. The whole look of the plant is very soft and delicate. The plant itself is lightweight, and resting on the trellis without any real pressure on the light bamboo frame. I am beginning to see the exotic nature of bitter gourds....
So far, pests has been shying away from the plant. The smell coming the plant is almost identical to marigolds and tomato.  We can walk blindfolded through the garden and can really recognize the smell coming bitter gourds. The aroma is exotic!

Once the fruit is ready to be plucked, 
I will do a post, 
and show the inside of a bitter gourd, the secret of its beauty,
definitely another glimpse of paradise.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Putrajaya Botanical Garden: When the feel is high

kelapa sawit

buluh or bamboo towering high.

dwarf coconut.

Nature is all about biodiversity. Putrajaya Botanical Garden recreate the feel of a forest and allow some trees to be on its own so that visitors can really view and appreciate. So some trees grow tall unhindered and we can look with awe. I pick 3 photographs taken by Adik on his recent visit to Putrajaya Botanical Garden to show what height really means to trees. The first photo really define "high" in its truest sense.... and who can deny...


Monday, June 21, 2010

Putrajaya Botanical Garden: When the feel is dense

a specie of Pokok Ara

a nice hangout for ghosts ,
we were told as children decades ago.


aerial roots 
of mengkuang

Buddha belly bamboo

Kaklong, my eldest sister came down to Putrajaya last week with the rest of her family. She insisted on seeing Putrajaya Botanical Garden with her own eyes. Yeop and Adik drove the whole group around 5.30pm. I didn't join the excursion, but as I flick through the photographs captured by Adik, i thought some photos are defining the feeling of being dense...


Sunday, June 20, 2010

bitter gourds swelling with art.

It is the surface that is really attractive. The design is artistric, no doubt about it. Nature seldom offer reasons for its design, and the best we can do is to appreciate and seek peace in its artistic great design.

cabbage heads.

Menanam kubis di Malaysia

 cabbage head: a close-up

cabbage 1

cabbage 2

cabbage 3

cabbage 4

Four pots in a row.

The plants are healthy looking a few weeks back. As the heads form and bulge, the rest of the plants are showing signs of general weakening. The bottom most leaves has dried up into a thin brown piece of paper. The aging process is going up along the main stem, taking the green away and putting yellow and light brown as replacement. The rest of the leaves are losing lush and lustre. The whole energy seems to be channeled towards giving its best on the formation of the cabbage heads, where new baby leaves will form within the protection of the cabbage head.  I hope caterpillars will not come and sniff....


Saturday, June 19, 2010

My caged tomato and its companions

our caged tomato

the tomato hanging nicely


The tomato plant never felt hindered by the presence of cage. It grows and shoots out of the cage mouth. A few fruits dangle nicely on tough stalks. The bed is full of plants and each is brushing and elbowing the other for another inch of breathing space. Marigolds being the majority, really grab the advantage and show their prominence. Their green foliage is becoming even greener.
Their differences are becoming very obvious; tomato are producing nice little fruits in the top half portion of the plant whereas  radishes are showing their big bulbs half hidden at the bottom of the plants.  
Marigolds will continue growing until they get tired and get too old that yellow flowers will come out
probably as a standard item preparing the death bed of the mother plants.  
Peanuts are growing steadily and these plants are most secretive,
hiding all the nuts or fruits underground...  
Zinnia is as lovely as ever, putting up the most exotic dance with its fashionable purple
colour each time little breeze comes.
The four ulam rajas are the most civilised specie,
bringing the foliage together like a cone as the sun slides down,
covering the secret of growth away from midnight pests and ghosts

But our caged tomato is like the king, 
towering over the rest, 
showing off their fruits.

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