Tuesday, November 30, 2010

squeezing plants within the constraint of time.

I am always guilty of having too many seedlings to handle. But no one can take away the fun and satisfaction in seeing little seedlings put their heads up. Like turtles, out of 1000 babies that manage to hatch and crawl to the sea, just a few survive the test of nature and return to lay eggs. Plants exhibit the same feature, each flower produce a lot of seeds. without human intervention in the form of cultivation, definitely not many will grow and mature. Just imagine a ripe papaya that fall down, break and disperse seeds within a foot square, surely only one strong plant will eventually survive within the limited space. Nature allows the best to survive. Here are some of the seedlings ready roam around our little garden in Tanah Merah.

or labu

winged beans 
or kacang kelisa / kacang botol

clitoria ternatea
or kacang telang

tanah merah, kelantan Malaysia

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Preparing the lawn

Lawn provides healthy green looking surrounding. We enjoyed such compound in Putrajaya, but Tanah Merah home is bare and red. Putting a row of  10 ulam raja, a row 7 roselle and 3 banana babies had provided some strategic early  landmark. The effort is not enough to turn the whole place green. A good and healthy lawn has to be the way.

Cowgrass has been my favourite which is rumput pahit to kelantanese. I was discussing with Rusli a local landscape contractor about turning the bare compound into a good lawn. The rate he is looking for is RM3 per square metre. Believe it or not, the rate was exactly RM3 per square 20 years ago when I was involved with a little bit of landscape work in Pahang. So not all things is on the rise.

Cowgrass is quite recognizable as we drive along the road and and look on the road side. Most football fields has cowgrass except for stadium which require the upper end variety of grass.  Recently I scooped a few patch of cowgrass as I walk to the fringe of the housing area. Just for fun, lets see if my fingers can turn the lawn green too. ...

a patch of cowgrass  (rumput pahit) at the back of the house.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Seven Roselle are not complaining

We have grown many roselle before in Putrajaya. The highlight must have been its beautiful pink flowers,  and fruits which end up as juice and jam. The seeds are standard giveaway to many friends and visitors, and some are bloggers from faraway land.

When we left Putrajaya home, there was one roselle still growing and fruiting. There is no point to keep thinking what we have missed. Looking forward should be the way in anything that we do, not only in gardening. So, roselle and ulam raja were among the first to be germinated the very first day we moved here. Talk about responding to germination effort, ulam raja and roselle are so adoring... Seven roselle are already on the ground, with two more in pots just in case, any plant fail to kick the shoots and roots.

 the row of seven roselle.
again string is used to keep the row straight.

a close-up of Roselle

Tanah Merah, Kelantan MALAYSIA

Monday, November 22, 2010

Ten Ulam Raja make it to the ground

Ten Ulam Raja are making the new garden their home. They are transplanted to the ground as the second pair of true leaves get stronger. Friends coming to the house have a good laugh seeing white string from end to end, which looks like a construction work going on. The ten ulam raja deserve to be treated well on neatness, straightness and precise space in between. Using string helps in digging and transplanting, and also as a reminder to everyone not to step on the new babies.

 the right end

 the left end.

ulam raja on the far right.

 a closer look at ulam raja.

I hope they survive through the rainy season.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

A sunset over Tanah Merah

For a house, there is a term called verandah which is a section jutting out of the main building, meant as a resting place. There is another term called balcony also with similar  function.  I was standing on that section of the house watching as the daytime was about to end.

front left.

It rains here almost everyday, and it is going to be heavier soon as December is coming near.
The sky tells everything.

tanah merah, kelantan Malaysia

Saturday, November 20, 2010

the purple ubi badak

I have seen and tasted purple sweet potato before, but this ubi badak is definitely different. Ubi badak is popular in Kelantan, the state where I live now. People sell these everywhere, and they say ubi badak will develop fast and big during rainy season that we are experiencing now.  The price is RM3 per kilo. The other day I bought two, the purple  and the white one from nearby pasar borong. On colour alone, the purple ubi badak is very  appertizing.

ubi badak, ready to be skinned.

ubi badak halved.

peeled skin of ubi badak
to be added onto our new compost heap.

ubi badak cut into smaller bits

ubi badak after cooking or rather boiling in two bowls.
The colour is definitely exciting and it matches well with the taste.

Has anybody tried ubi badak before?

tanah merah, kelantan, Malaysia

Friday, November 19, 2010

Weeds and wildlife around us.

 a pair of merbuk
looking for grass seeds

burung ciak

 the plant crawls up the fence 
with beautiful yellowish white flower.


feels so much at home on mimosa.

tanah merah, kelantan

Thursday, November 18, 2010

she said the name of this banana, pisang ayam.

I went over to Setiu, Terengganu for a program with the four wheel drive. The place was Agro Farm Resort. By 1.30pm we were already heading home.

I had been talking with Amin, the driver, about wanting to stop at any nursery  for papaya seedlings.There was a small but nice looking nursery close to Jertih,. It was a special nursery indeed because the nursery was right on the compound of the house. There was no papaya seedlings she said. Then I saw healthy looking banana plants behind her house. I just asked for a banana seedling, and she was more than happy to give three! She mentioned about the name of that banana, pisang ayam. Never heard before.

She said, those were for free. May God bless her business and soul.

the first two banana plants, in front of the balcony.
It is a bold move according to Kakdah to allow banana the vintage position
because most would grow banana somewhere at the back,
a well hidden part of the garden.

the third banana,

tanah merah, kelantan

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Introducing the first batch of plants into the garden

Among others, basic gardening tools, seeds, a bag of gardening soil and fertiliser were loaded into the car boot as I made the journey to the new home in Tanah Merah, Kelantan. I quickly prepared the little pots for germination of seeds. Within a week ulam raja and roselle appeared which were immediately transfered into bigger pots. They may require some conditioning first, with sun and wind, and another set of leaves before they can be transplated to the ground.

7 roselles and 9 ulam raja, at first pair of leaves.
the location is partly hidden from the sun. Soon they will be shifted to the back of the house,
where they will be exposed to longer hours of sunlight.

tanah merah, kelantan, Malaysia

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Getting on with the new garden

The day I got into the house, the grass or rather the shrubs was just cut. 
The space turned red, exposing the natural colour of the earth around here, 
explaining the meaning of Tanah Merah (the red soil).

The developer sent soil and sand which I have requested earlier, 
for patching work on the bare land 
and for my new gardening plot..

Finally our belongings came, including the plants and the pots. 
I tried my best to arrange them, but Kakdah may has other ideas.
So pots may just change place to suit the sun, 
the feel of the house 
and the dream of two minds.

The new vegetable plot by the side of the house. 
This dreamland .has to accomodate my presence everyday, an hour before sunset and more hours at weekends. Three rows of raised bed flanked by old bricks.

PT 4870, Taman Kota Harmoni,
Jalan Cempaka Merah,
17500 Tanah Merah, Kelantan

Monday, November 8, 2010

The reality of a house.

We do have a house in Seri Iskandar Perak which we never stay even for a day. It has been rented out for years.  Before we can really stay in a house we can call our own, we do have to hop around, renting houses again and again. For three years we have been calling that nice semi detached bungalow in Putrajaya as home, now  is a cute 4 bed room single storey little house in Tanah Merah, Kelantan. The house is new. I am thinking whether buying is the better option than just renting....

 front view, more on left side
 front view, more on right side
 the left side of the house
 the left side, closer.

at the back of the house

I have to wait for a week or so for water and electricity to be in, so in the meantime I have to put up with temporary accommodation, thanks to Wan Azlan for his kindness. Kakdah and the rest will stay in Bangi until the boys finish their studies or when the two think they are alright to be on their own. Abang Long, Abang Din and Abang Man had been checking on me, if I am alright here. Honestly I am not here to die but to continue living with some decent legacy to leave behind, at least on my gardening adventure. Government has been yelling about agrotech, I may just grab and see it through. Haha.. I am already eying on a six acre oil palm plot not far away.

The space around the house is quite a handful for another gardening adventure. I am aware of Kelantan unique weather, very much closer to Thailand and having the large South China Sea as it's waterfront. For Kakdah, going to Kelantan is like coming home, looking for the long lost roots. She is a third generation Kelantanese. Her grandfather and grandmother moved down to Sitiawan years ago from Pintu Geng area. She still has some relatives around here. For me, the root is Kedah as Wan Mat Saman fourth generation. Venturing out of one's cocoon has been the trademark on both sides, for better or for worse. But the whole big place called Earth is for everyone to go about and settle down, to learn and to live.

I did some mental sketches, on the eventual look of my little vegetable garden in Tanah Merah. I hope it will develop into something unique, rich and memorable. First, I have to tame the soil of kelantan and the weather too , before I get too complacent. The other day I saw an elderly digging nearby which tickled my gardening passion. He will soon be my gardening associate... or friend... or pal.

To those who may wonder if the flood here has any of my tears, rest assured that everything is perfectly alright. I am coming home and my little vegetable will stay. Tasya and her family can drive up here and bring along the eldest, which I hear a lot but never see and hold. Yanti being a Kelantanese too, may want to drop by and check if Tanah Merah is really that red. Ustaz, Zaki, Wan Zainudin and many others are true sons of Kelantan and I may need them for protection against thugs or gedebe !... haha

The benchmark of Putrajaya has been set, 
now Tanah Merah knows exactly where to hit and dig!

Cheers, there will be more...


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Where is Kelantan?

Kelantan LocationKelantan, which translates as the "Land of Lightning" is a  treasure of  great delights - rustic fishing villages, verdant padi fields and languid, palm-fringed beaches.

Tucked away in the north-eastern corner of Peninsular Malaysia, the people of Kelantan have managed to keep alive age-old customs and traditions, thus earning the state a reputation as the Cradle of Malay Culture.

Introduction Kelantan, which translates as the "Land of Lightning" is a veritable treasure throve of delights - rustic fishing villages, verdant padi fields and languid, palm-fringed beaches. Tucked away in the north-eastern corner of Peninsular Malaysia, the people of Kelantan have managed to keep alive age-old customs and traditions, thus earning the state a reputation as the Cradle of Malay Culture. Here, colourful kites soar upwards defying gravity and giant drums reverberate. Shadow puppets mesmerise audiences and giant tops provide hours of endless fun.

Kelantan has a population of about 1.4 million ; 95% is Malay with Chinese, Indians and Orang Asli making up the rest. Kelantanese are renowned for their warmth and friendliness. Kelantan Darul Naim is a world of gracious beauty, retaining an old-world charm that few can resist. Come, let her natural attributes work their magic on you!  [reference: Cuti Malaysia - Kelantan]

These are photos I took on the way towards Kelantan. Most are roadside views.

 Raintrees, as I parked somewhere in Raub



 fern and road somewhere at Merapoh

 fern on hill slope at Merapoh 

 fern and a tree at Merapoh

The road is rolling nicely  at Merapoh

 a normal roadside view

 a tree with large leaves

 grass-like plants. 
i think they are called sendayan 
(from old memories, growing padi in Matang Acheh with Dad)


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Memories of Putrajaya little garden.

tomato young plants with 
white electrical conduits as stakes

 sometimes the garden looks neat, sometimes not. 
That coconut husks as edging must have turned many eyes,
as people walk through the walkway, 
because they don't expect anyone can be so crazy 
to bring elements of ruralness 
into urban residential environment.

the first cucumber. 
One can imagine the glorious feeling

 chili and papaya

cabbage head with lovely shine.

Cabbage:  decent harvest out of our first attempt
 pak choy seedlings

two tomato from the same stalk viewed through two stakes

clitoria ternatea

a ripe bitter gourd, and if there is a need 
to register this specific red colour, 
it is alright to call it bitter gourd red!

 ground orchid 
flowering with rich royal colour.

I wish I can put more pictures to summarize the extent of our  little vegetable gardening experience in Putrajaya. I can still click at the archives to see them, and you too dear readers. If my posts help some of you in gardening then I feel so happy. For me these are records over the many months of weeding, germinating, potting, planting,  fertilizing, watering and harvesting. We in fact learn a lot through interactive gardening with eco-system, which is not only about the plants. The soil, the organic matter, the fertilizer, water, weather, snails, slugs, the butterflies, the pests and the sun are as important.

I have been here in Tanah Merah, Kelantan for a week. Time is needed to get things organised in the new place; house, work and the family. So for now, gardening ranks quite low in the priority list , until there is a call from the new garden, crying for attention.


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