Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Garden to table, kakdah's way

a bittergourd which is the last, winged beans and okra. 
The two big and long okra are hard and seedy, and I dont think kakdah will include them in her cooking. I guess they are matured enough to be saved and dried for seeds. Winged beans are in abundance now.

a close-up

kerabu kelisa

This salad has its own charm, colourful and tasty. Winged beans, young mango, tomato, carrots, red chili, and onions are thinly sliced and mixed. Then add salt and lemon juice. There is no specific amount of each, just add things and check for look and taste to your liking. It will take any lunch and dinner to a different height!

bangchik and kakdah's menu

Monday, August 30, 2010

The vastness of paddy field.

On this business trip, I have to meander through paddy fields to get to the place in Jitra from Farah's house at the far end of Taman Wira Mas, Kampung Naga. Paddy fields offer varying degree of beauty depending on the stage of paddy in the field.

The field will be yellow, when the grains are maturing and ready to be harvested. I took a few pictures somewhere around Lubuk Kawah, not far from Farah's place along the way towards Jitra.

the field is really yellow.
a few coconut trees put the rural setting really in place.

another view of the yellowing field.

drain on the right is for irrigation. 
primarily used to carry water into the fields from the canal.

a field just harvested

a field just harvested
The hill at far end which is rather obscure, is Bukit Tunjang

Early in the morning around 8am, 
the shadow is long.


Sunday, August 29, 2010

the third child and abandoned garden.

We were in Kedah again, visiting Farah, the eldest daughter. I was actually on an official trip or business trip whichever way we want to look at it. Kakdah joined in and spent wonderful time with the grandchildren. Farah, was carrying the third child. Understandably her garden was a little bit abandoned and  she temporarily left it to nature. I just read about Rothchild Orchid announcing " This summer I have mostly been growing..." to celebrate the coming of the first child but plagued with morning sickness and severe fatigue.  Same thing goes to Farah and the abandonment in Farah's garden is more pronounced with the current hot spell.

even her tumeric plants are suffering

weed setting foot within abandonment.

Adlina, the eldest is becoming really chatty. She is almost 4 . The real character is beginning to surface through her childhood tantrums. She adapts herself well as the eldest, trying as much as she can to pacify the younger brother, Adli  whenever he cries. Months ago she was quite alright calling me as Tok ayah, but now the term is becoming shorter, Oyah. I got to get used to the new endearment. Adlina had been telling kakdah about baby in the womb talking to her. She regularly put her ears on Farah's tummy.  So her mother is set for the third child.....

the number of Farah's house

the number plate of the car we were traveling

the flowers of a weed

even daun kari is crying of thirst and hunger

but the flower of a weed sparkles like a happy firework

typical flower of a weed, lalang species, 
that has grown so tall, higher than the fence.

 a close-up showing how pretty they can be...

 adlina, kakdah and adli for a BIG HUG. 

On the final day, I dig six little holes on Farah's garden. There lies seeds of sunflowers from Putrajaya. I do hope, the seeds will germinate and grow. Soon the garden will be yellow, provided the little children would leave the plants alone, and Farah gets back to her normal rhythms to get out and water as she gets heavier and  the baby gets bigger......

bangchik and kakdah 

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Periwinkle or kemunting china

A simple and slightly invasive flowering plants which is a normal feature in coastal areas where I came from, goes by the many common names, Madagascar Periwinkle, Rose Periwinkle, Periwinkle, Vinca, Old-Maid. and the plant goes with local names as pokok Kemunting China, pokok Rumput Jalang, pokok Kembang Sari Cina, atau pokok Ros Pantai. The scientific name is Catharanthus roseus

 We do have quite a collection of colours,
all imported from Kakdah Mom's place.

a light pink periwinkle

a white periwinkle

heavy pink periwinkle

pinkish red periwinkle
Dark green glossy leaves are adorned with flat five fused petal blooms

Chemicals in these plants have been found to contain the unique ability to keep certain kinds of cancerous cells from reproducing. For example, these chemicals have been known to have helped increase the survival rate of childhood leukaemia from a mere 10 per cent to 95 per cent!

The most important plant source ingredient in chemotherapy is alkaloids from the Madagascar Periwinkle (Catharanthus Rosevs). Two alkaloids named vinblasfine and vincrisfine are today commonly used individually or combined with other forms of therapy for cancer treatment. 
 Periwinkle flower is used as the logo of  MAKNA (Majlis Kanser Nasional or National Cancer Council )


Thursday, August 26, 2010

bright yellow lily

This is going to be another suspense in my little garden. Kalyani Nandukar send us 2 packets of seeds, all the way from India. The seeds are clitoria ternatea (also known as Gokorna meaning cow's ears in her language) and bright yellow lily (she does not know the real name). The lilies had germinated well in little pots, and they shoot up pointing towards the sky like needles. I had transferred them into 2 larger pots.  I simply don't know how they will look later, are they going to be like rain lilies which we happen to have of white and pink type or much much bigger.

bright yellow lily seedlings

close up of bright yellow lily seedlings

are they going to be like these?


like these?

Some of you may know how are they going to end up like, 
by looking at the little seedlings. I don't.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Gynura procumbens

 The plant goes by many names; daun sambung nyawa, jian feng wei, scrambling gynura or Gynura procumbens . The plant has been with us for quite sometimes, in a wide pot. It is more or  less, left to grow under the shade of lemon grass. Kakdah will appear and pay the plant a visit once in a while with pruning scissors to cut a shoot for lunch. It is a sweet crunchy salad indeed.

The leaf is said to have the ability to lower blood pressure and sugar levels, to treat diabetes, hypertension, and cholesterol imbalances.

Gynura procumbens
or daun sambung nyawa with lemon grass neighbour.

Without much fuss, the plant has rendered service well, as nice potted ornamental plant, offering kakdah an excellent choice of salad or ulam and had been as souvenir  items for friends in the form of cuttings. Surprisingly the plant propagates well through cuttings.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Yellowing of leaves.

It is not necessarily a pest or disease issue that a plant foliage turns yellow. These disorders may be caused by environmental factors which includes too much scorching sun and lack of nutrients. But there is another natural factor that plants had to go through, AGING PROCESS. A plant, come to a time, will have to go. Our bitter gourd plants are going through just that. The whole plants, foliage and all are yellowing, new leaves getting a lot smaller, a few gourds are still dangling, probably the last. The two plants have been doing well, producing exotic fruits again and again. But now is time to go.

 The whole bittergourd plant is yellowing.

Soon the site will be allowed to rest for a while, first to allow a few periwinkle to establish themselves and a few winged beans probably as ground cover to reestablish the nitrogen prowess of the soil. But again a plan may change....


Monday, August 23, 2010

Tomato, one after another

the tomato,
star of earth, recurrent
and fertile
its convolutions,
its canals,
its remarkable amplitude
and abundance,
no pit,
no husk,
no leaves or thorns,
the tomato offers
its gift
of fiery color
and cool completeness.
 Pablo Neruda - Ode To Tomatoes

4 new tomato plants, 
just transplanted on the raised bed. on the left is the bushy flowering and fruiting winged beans. On the right is a single okra, basil, coleus, halia (ginger) and  kunyit (tumeric). The four stakes are of light weight bamboo brought here from Sitiawan, Kakdah's mom place.

another two tomato in pots, 
already flowering and staked with bamboo.

four matured tomato plants on raised bed. 

They look healthy but rather lanky due to shady environment.
The plants are flowering , with little fruits visible already. Two bigger plants are planted earlier. The other two younger plants awere added later to replace a plant that had wilted.

many more young seedlings 
ready to grow anywhere in the garden.

Because tomato is easy to germinate,
it is handy to have them ready intermittently,
so that tomato plant is always in the garden,
one after another.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Giving clitoria ternatea a room

 There is a change in plan, clitoria ternatea are not going to be planted directly outside the kitchen window. We shift the site 2 meters away. Kakdah will still enjoy the view,  at a diagonal which is a bit to the left. The two plants are protected by the shade of sunflowers which is blooming right now. Within a month, that bush of sunflowers will go, then clitoria will have the whole bed to themselves with trellis to climb.

a pair of clitoria ternatea near sunflower plants.

close-up of clitoria ternatea

Putting trellis up, 
will not disturb what sunflowers are busy doing right now, 
that is yellowing and flowering, 
before blue become a new colour
for that site.


Saturday, August 21, 2010


We know about grasshoppers habitual munching of leaves, and bees nectar licking. Engineers are used to having buildings over designed . The design far exceeds usual standards as of sturdiness or safety. Plants would probably do the same. They have far more leaves than necessary. I am not too sure what is enough as far as winged beans leaves are concerned. The whole plant is so heavy and dense with leaves.

Probably some are reserved for insects to bite. It is just a romantic view to look at their ecosystem. And nectar can also be seen as what we understand as reward system to keep productivity and enthusiasm high. The plants need insect to help with pollination and has nectar to offer for such service.

belalang kunyit,

belalang kunyit  or Valanga nigricornis 
is the biggest grasshopper in Malaysia that I know of, resting on winged bean leaves. According to a laboratory studies on the life-history of Valanga nigricornis ...  it requires 6 and a half to 8 and a half months to complete the life cycle. I never knew belalang kunyit lives that long, definitely longer than winged bean itself.

a carpenter bee

a carpenter bee

a carpenter bee
the carpenter bee is undecided; is it okra or bean flower.

the carpenter bee licking nectar of winged bean flower

the carpenter bee
or xylocopa confusa 
licking nectar of winged bean flower.

Carpenter bee or Xylocopa confusa
is a large bee reaching slightly more than 20mm. Female is mainly black. The thorax is with deep yellow hairs, making it almost fully yellow except for small black patch at the centre. The species is quite widely distributed across Southeast Asia, definitely a frequent visitor in my garden, hopping from one flower to another. It seems to love every flower available here; coleus, senduduk, winged beans, roselle and okra.
[reference:  Xylocopa confusa - Asian Hornet Net]

bangchik and kakdah, my little vegetable garden  

Friday, August 20, 2010

kale strengthening its stem.

kale growing steadily in pots

a close up of kale

I love the character of these leafy vegetables. They don't really sit upright, the way we expect them to do.  The close up is showing kale forming a less than accurate, of letter S. The bottom part of the stem will harden and become woody. Before that happens, the whole plant will collapse whenever there is gutsy wind. Almost invisible to the eyes, the plant will rise and get back to the upright position hours later. The bottom part is so small compared to the  fatter and greener part of the stem.

They are no more babies as in the earlier post of  kale is herea tale of kale  and Introducing Kale into the garden. Wait a while longer, then some leaves can be cut for a fried menu.

my little vegetable garden, bangchik and kakdah

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Looking outside in on sisterhood.

winged bean viewed from the house, heavy and dense on the trellis

blooming coleus and roselle.
Coleus loves a little bit of shade.
For easy identification, roselle has leaves of darker green
compared to winged bean.

okra flower quite visible

winged beans and all the companions.
Closest is lengkuas, or galangal or blue ginger which rarely placed at vintage spot,
always tucked somewhere at the back in most garden.

the view from the other end.

a wider view from the other end.
Closest  is basil with its columnar flower.

It is a little feminine to mention about sisterhood. We may want to say it as brotherhood, the bond, the companionship, or kinship. It is all about coexisting in a world where the most enterprising will go far. The earlier posts of  Unintended companionship of Okra, Roselle and Wing..., and   Okra get entwined as in the Legend of Three Sister... , scrutinise the delicate balance of companionship. The same hand that lends support will break the other's neck and suffocate.
To be fair, we do have to take another view, which is outside in to trace what lies within the companionship at a glance. Then we are looking at companionship on a bigger perspective. Soon the flowering and fruiting winged beans will go, okra will reach its finishing line along with roselle, zinnia, marigolds and ulamraja. In a couple of months, the look will be different, new plants in, different concept and colour scheme. The new plants will get used to different companions, for another sisterhood.

But lengkuas or galanga will stay, 
as an old man to relate stories about the do's and don'ts 
of staying together in harmony.

  bangchik and kakdah, Putrajaya Malaysia ~my little vegetable garden  

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