Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ubi Badak, getting out of purple world.

It must be the exciting purple colour that prompted me to grow ubi badak, apart from the ever growing curiosity about local plants. Now there are four of them growing, two with trellis, the other two by the fence. The shoots of ubi badak is everything about freshness.

Arief came over the weekend and made a tour around the compound. He recognised ubi badak at a glance. Six months he said, before ubi badak can be harvested. A few days later Nik, Heim and the rest made a stop here. Nik added another point on ubi badak. Gardeners tale over here mentioned about using ashes to speed ubi badak rooting.

How do I treat ubi badak at this stage?... Ubi badak is like any other climbers. Watering and fertilising is standard for any plant. I will give what they need, I am pretty sure they will reciprocate with big a- few- kilos sized- tubers by the end of the year.

 ubi badak 
(March 2011)
climbing to the top and crawl along trellis.

Monday, March 28, 2011

assessing the lawn: 4 months later

The lawn was in terrible shape the last two months, with no rain for a stretch of a month. Automatic irrigation system I am having, cant cope with ever thirsty grass. Luckily the much awaited rainfall came last week, and the grass smiled.
How time passed.  November last year, roselle and papaya were  the first to be introduced in into our little garden in a very bare compound. Cow grass was planted towards the end of November.   I did a few posts at the early stage of  the lawn ;   Preparing the lawn  November 25th 2010 followed by  Lawn in the making with new kpi   on  December 3rd 2010.
Yesterday, Rosli came to cut the grass. It wasn't easy for him, with poly pipes of irrigation system spread all over the lawn.

The lawn four months later

 lawn trimmed short
Roselle on the left, papaya in the middle and some climbing plants by the fence

 Rosli , cutting the grass.

Papaya will take a year to mature and bear fruits. 
We have to wait....

Lawn, the last four months

November 2010
20.11.2010, still bare and empty
Roselle and papaya just planted

November 2010
20.11.2010 vegetable bed ready, lawn still bare

December 2010
 4.12.2010 a week old lawn, spot turfing as we call it.

January 2011
 7.1.2011, grass and roselle were enjoying the monsoon rain.

February 2011
8.2.2010 the driest month, the lawn showing it, yellowing.

The Lawn now.

a neighbour Eri, gave a remark yesterday, "baru nampak berseri!", referring to the lawn, roughly translated as " now the lawn sparkles!".

bangchik and kakdah

Saturday, March 26, 2011

blooming friday: IN THE AIR

Pollination is a process by which pollen is transfered from the stamen to the upper tip of the pistil of a flower. Ninety percents of plants requires man, animals, and insects for pollination. For pollination to take place, flowers has to be aerial enough for bees and butterflies to hover, sniff and dive in for the sweet nectar. During such frenzy, pollens are gathered on the legs and get transferred to the pistil, for pollination, a necessary step for fertilization.

 purple orchid.
This beautiful orchid is beautiful,  dancing in the air  but reproduction is not through flowers. Orchid flower is colours of the earth.

 sweetpea flower
 exotic climber

exotic climber

 ubi badak
the vine has reached the top of the trellis
 belalang kunyit
rest for a while on Kakdah's hanging pot.
 clitoria ternatea
with fence as trellis, clitoria exhibit beautiful blue flowers, dancing on a breezy day. The locals will collect clitoria flowers/ bunga telang for nasi kerabu.

To see more blooming Friday posts, click Katarina  Blooming Friday - In the Air.
Katarina is the host.  

bangchik and kakdah

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The flexibility of composting.

I saw a composting machine costing RM1,500 during one of the trips to Putrajaya Flower Show. It is alright if one wish to spend that much. But there are other means of composting, practiced all over the country.

Farmers pile up palm leaves in neat rows in oil palm plantations to rot. Old oil palm trees are felled and chopped to pieces and left to rot too. On a more rural setting, leftover rice are just thrown under coconut trees, chickens rush and pick,  and some are left to decay, food for roots.... Allowing plant parts to degrade, and decompose... is composting.  There are so many ways to do it.

Over here, I make it so simple, simply because there are not many things to pile. Weeds, cuttings etc are all thrown into a bag. It will dry up a few months later. As mulch, dry garden waste is excellent....

 weeds, cuttings etc, all in the bag.

 dry weeds ready to be used as mulch,

bangchik and kakdah
Tanah Merah

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Our garden, a glimpse.

I normally post on specific plant, write about specific characteristic and behaviour. For a change, I display many plants here for a bigger glimpse. At least two of them are from seeds giveaways. Radish from gittan last year, and balsam from Malar this year. Bloggers and gardeners connect well botanically, in a way even green earth campaigner can't compete. Radish and okra are enjoying pampered environment in white polybag, bathed with automatic irrigation system.

radish: seeds from Gittan, blogger friend

a row of radish
  I could have put more radish in each bag.

Okra /lady's fingers/ bendi : flowering & fruiting

exotic climber: red bud

exotic climber

balsam flowering: seeds from a blogger friend Malar.

bangchik and kakdah
Tanah Merah

Monday, March 21, 2011

Taking a weed home, passionflower or pokok letup

A weed is not a weed when it is desired and treasured. We noticed pokok letup, climbing up a fence one day while jogging early in the morning. The fruits were hairy and felt oily. The flowers were majestic. Many houses round here are still empty, and the vine was climbing up on the fence of one empty house.  We waited until the fruit turned yellow and picked, .... Alas, I didn't bring along Nikon to snap the beautiful passionflowers.

Pokok letup is my childhood delight. Modern life somehow cut off far too many childhood pages.  Forests are bulldozed to make way for development.  Vines endemic to Malaysia are hard to find.   Everyone seem to be pulling out weeds, but  today I am taking a weed home. I hope they will germinate and grow here with beautiful flowers and fruits.

Ripe passionflower fruits/ buah letup yang masak

Passionflower fruits: the inside

Seeds from two dry fruits

Taking a weed home is my way of celebrating Earth Day.

bangchik and kakdah
Taman Kota Harmoni, Tanah Merah, Malaysia.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Blooming Friday: False Start

I googled for false start, and  two definitions kept cropping up, first being as a premature start as in a race or football match, the second being an unsuccessful attempt to begin something as in task, work or career. I guess the theme refers to activities within the boundary of gardening.

Growing Kiwi

kiwi seedlings in pure sand

kiwi seedlings in potting soil

The worst experience must be growing sweet peas. They grew but never to the level of health I  am looking for. I am guilty of asking too much from nature. The  hot climate here will not mellow down for sweet peas. I keep sowing new seeds, in the hope that I get the right combination of primary parameters that make sweet peas happy. So far not too good.

I move a step further by including Kiwi as the new member. From the single kiwi fruit, seeds were scooped out, cleaned and separated into 3 sets. The first set went to little pots filled with just sand. The second went to little pots with proper potting soil. The third went to the refrigerator for a month, then-after will be taken out for germination. I think the process is known as stratification, simulating the dormant stage imposed by winter.So it seems, kiwi seeds are happy without stratification

Now kiwi seeds are sprouting well at the first pair of leaves. 30 little kiwi seedlings are ready to run wild!! Pure sand seems to improve germination, that they germinate faster. I wonder if Kiwi will be like sweet peas...., tried again and again.... with a long list of false starts.

I am not about to back out yet....

Kiwi isn't the only first timer in our garden. There are timun tikus, ubi badak, ubi kemili, ubi itik, and many others. Each offers its own set of difficulty for me to cope.

first timer: ubi badak

first timer: timun tikus
 and the followings are photos of a red flowering plant.  They are spectacular with fine needle-like leaves.   They are climbing up nicely now, a lot bigger since Feb 25th post of  Blooming Friday: A Pinch of Green . First timer too.

So no flowers today, all plants with potential series of false starts. There goes the whole fun about gardening, learning to cope with failures, trying as much to give each plant the best condition to thrive... There will be more fall starts here : Blooming Friday - False Start at Katarina's Roses and Stuff 

bangchik and kakdah
Tanah Merah.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Kangkong, the easiest.

A stretch of dry spell got me worried. Luckily rains come the past few days, to cool things down. Kangkung which is the easiest to grow, had produced enough leaves to be harvested. When Kakdah did fried kangkung menu with belacan, I can tell you, nothing was left!
 Kangkong is the local name for water glorybind, water spinach, water convolvulus and swamp cabbage. The stem is hollow, the character is very much vine in nature, with the ability to crawl and climb. I may not allow them to grow until flowering , not this time. How fast they grow these kangkong. They were all  tiny, last month when I posted  Three rows of vegetable bed on the 18th of February.

first harvest
first harvest

3 rows of kangkung
By the look of it, we may go for a big harvest soon, to share with friends and neighbours. When they start getting too tall, the slender stems cant hold, ending with all of them crawling which will look very unsightly.

Bangchik and Kakdah
Tanah Merah Malaysia

Friday, March 11, 2011


 There are days when we feel depressed for no reason at all. Just go out and look at colours. They are soothing.... I will start with blue....


Blue flower

blue flower
blue flower

So many blue flowers
Update: 15.3.2011. 
Thanks Rosie of My garden haven for reminding me the name of the above flowering plant.  I wont forget "plumbago".


hibiscus: red

hibiscus: red
hibiscus: red

hibiscus: red

Mixed colour



All from MIL garden, Sitiawan perak

and you may want to see other blooming friday at Katarina: Roses and stuff

bangchik and kakdah
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