Monday, May 30, 2011

ROOFTOP GARDENING: they get everybody involved.

Rooftop gardening does come in with an array of noble ideas. It started off as an incubator entrepreneurial activity handled by an enterprising  group from a to z. Once they have gone through the whole cycle, they should be able to duplicate it somewhere else with confidence. It fits the concept of dare to dream. Then comes the environmental, economical and social issues they will probe further.; about saving energy with temperature drop in buildings, about improving air quality with more green lungs in cities, about idle rooftop generating  decent income, about rooftop turning into a field for social/recreational outlet.

It comes a long way to at last see seedlings growing in white polybags. The idea of rooftop gardening came out early in the year, followed by training and courses on techniques of modern gardening / farming. Then the whole rooftop gardening concept was drafted during the first week of  April 2011. By 19th of April, 1000 chili centil seeds were germinated, a definite landmark on the commitment to see the whole project through. Then components of irrigation system, polybags and growing media were purchased and assembled by the group.  By the 18th of May 780 seedlings were transplanted and another 20 the next day. The whole program was officially launched by Datuk M on the 19th of May 2011.

Phase 1: Working on the irrigation system and growing media in bags


pic 1: crane used to take everything up.

pic 2: Bags of growing media being unloaded at rooftop.

pic 3: Irrigation system being assembled.
pic 4: Irrigation system being assembled, one in one out!


pic 5: Cocopeat and burnt paddy husk as growing media, mixed.

pic 6: mixing of growing media

pic:  at the back of their Tshirts "rooftop gardening"

pic 9: prayer - everything would be alright hopefully

Phase 2: Transplanting of 800 chili centil

pic 10: everybody get involved in transplanting.

pic 11: even the ladies joined in

pic 12: He fixed the drip system
19th of May 2011, The launching of rooftop gardening ~ 800 chili centil

pic12: The young entrepreneurs dressed up for the launching

pic13: Datuk M, firmed the growing media at the base.

pic14: another two dignitaries joining media blitz

The first 10 days.
The irrigation system is working well, pushing through the seedlings into healthy looking chili plants

pic:15 Age of plant  ~  7 days

Pic16 : Age of plant ~ 10 days

The age of plants is normally counted after the day of transplanting. Now they are 10 days old. The  chili centil plants  are getting stronger, stems progressively getting out of the green baby look, becoming slightly darker, and side shoots are appearing at lower nodes. They are going to keep the side shoots.., it seems that will add to the general stability of the plant against wind. A serious farmer had mentioned to them about keeping the side shoots which will later develop into side branches with the promise of bigger harvest.  Farmers do have a lot of secrets under their sleeves and gardening hats.....

 bangchik and kakdah, tanah merah

thanks Aziem for the photos.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Bunga Bakawali with a pink friend.

The white Bunga Bakawali, the most fragrant of all flowers, has a new pink friend as company. Fiza, our  front neighbour gave Kakdah a leaf of pink bakawali months ago. Yes, a leaf, and that's how one grows Bakawali ..... with a leaf. The other day I sent 3 sections of  white bakawali leaf to a blogger friend via post. She mentioned about the cuttings had rooted. It will be a while before tiny shoots start appearing at the nodes, or dents in bakawali case.

But our new pink bunga bakawali is beginning to to show its prominence, letting out shoots artistically.

pink bakawali, two new shoots

different angle of pink bakawali new shoots

a new shoot coming from the base
a different view showing other plants around.

Judging by the first bunga bakawali blooming way back January 17, 2011 (  Bunga Bakawali Blooming, the stages.), the pink bunga bakawali will take a while to flower. I wouldn't know exactly when, but the leaves got to get old and matured to let out buds and flowers.....

bangchik and kakdah, tanah merah Kelantan

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Being artistic with potted vegetables.

 vegetable in pots

vegetable in pots

Today, I want to show the artistic side
of growing vegetables.

bangchik and kakdah

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

rooftop gardening: Condition them for transplanting.

Tomorrow 19th of May 2011 the seedlings are a month old. The time is up for all of them to move up to the rooftop. There is a need for conditioning, under the hot sun, starting with 3 hours on the 16th of May , 17th the whole day under the hot sun. By the 18th, 780 chili centil seedlings will be transplanted  in white polybags. The other 20 seedlings will be spared for Dato M and other dignitaries to finish off on the 19th.  I heard they are going to do a bit of media hype to push through an exciting entrepreneurial branding ~ rooftop gardening. They are strategizing now, how to get  around Dato Azman , the chairman of Hotel Association Malaysia, and other parties controlling flat idle rooftops, to go for rooftop gardening. The group is very committed with the whole idea of being enterprising and working against all odds to green the concrete jungle. I am happy for them. I wonder what Rosie n Partners think about the whole thing, this particular branding....

The group is also preparing chains of related entrepreneurial activities,  germination, temperate climate gardening, marketing, market research, consultancy, online shopping for agro products,  value-add products, etc. It seems they are putting in place entrepreneurial , research  and CSR activities  hand in hand. Passion and enthusiasm will carry them through and at the same time always bearing the concept of doing more with less.

Seedlings currently at 8th leaves should be strong enough to fend themselves, growing with cocopeat as growing media, and water plus fertilizer in doses, 5 times a day. The standard requirement is 1.5 liters of water everyday per polybag. Divide 1.5 liters with 5 times intake, then it comes to about 300ml per dose. 

1000 chili centil seedlings are conditioned to hotter environment

I can tell you, it's hot out there...
They are still under my automatic irrigation tent, feeling the heat of the day. I wonder what the young seedlings are saying as they condition themselves for harsher environment. At the same time, I wonder too what the other plants under the tent are talking as they look down on the young babies.... The young tomato , petola, and matured malabar spinach probably motivate them by saying " Don't worry, you will get used to it..... I have gone thru that before.., see, I am alright."

malabar spinach and chili centil

petola overlooking chili centil seedlings

tomato plant comparing height.

I wonder what will  the days ahead be like, as the chili plants journey to the rooftop, getting used to the drip system , growing and gripping hard against heat and wind, and as they eventually present the enterprising group with the sweetest, hottest, reddest and the most bountiful and wonderful harvest by the 19th of July.

bangchik and kakdah, tanah merah kelantan

earlier posts on rooftop gardening

    Monday, May 16, 2011

    Teacher's Day / Hari Guru 2011 ~ 16th May 2011

    A Special Teacher

    Teachers come and go
    But every so often one comes along
    That you’ll always remember
    One who makes learning an adventure…
    And who can still remember
    What it’s like to be young
    And growing up…
    The kind who can make you
    Want to be the very best you can be…
    Someone you can really talk to,
    Who really cares
    What happens to you…
    That person is YOU!
    - Author Unknown
    (   )

     A special teacher will create ripples

    Sungai Kelantan, rippling
    Sungai Kelantan, rippling

    Sungai Kelantan, rippling
    Sungai Kelantan, rippling

    Photos taken from the 7th floor of Grand Riverview Hotel, Kota Baru, on 13th of May 2011

    A special teacher will help build characters and instill values

    kiwi seedling

    lettuce seedling

    pak choy seedling

    cabbage seedling

    pak choy

    1000 chili centil

    ubi badak shoot

    and in the hands of teachers, the children will bloom

    Happy Teacher's Day
    to Sam / Zambri / Yap / Mazalan / Sulong / Jumali / Marzuki / Radin / Fadilah / Shukran / Yusof / Bakar / WanZek / WanZul / Khair / Amir / Din / Zaman / Nair / Ong / Adnan / Zain / Azizah / Ramlah / Harison / Normali / Husni / Ali / Damaya / Sabari / Rosli / Aziz / and millions more.

    bangchik and kakdah, from Tanah Merah

    Saturday, May 14, 2011

    Let Okra branch out for more harvest.

    I really have to thank Izmar, a friend from Kuantan. He must have the darkest green fingers on earth, as a full time farmer for some 20 years. Chili has been his specialty, very profitable he said. It's him that suggested cutting off the the main stem to about a foot height, to let more branches coming out. It should have been done very much earlier...., even before Okra learn to flower, he said

    A little bit late, but I did cut all them to a foot height, yes, how they branched out. Now, instead of a fruit per plant, Kakdah is now enjoying 3 - 5 okra per plant! Since there are more branches and more fruits for okra to feed, the fruits tend to be smaller and a bit longish.  Veggie sellers understand this marketing aspect of Okra, and they know buyers prefer thinner and smaller okra, not the big  healthy looking ones. The smaller okra is convenient for cooking, serving and eating....., a gulp a piece!!

    bangchik and kakdah, tanah merah Kelantan

    Monday, May 9, 2011

    Rooftop vegetable gardening: chili centil

    There is no turning back with Tanah Merah rooftop gardening. They have fixed the date of transplanting, and expected first day for harvest. The rule of thumb with chili centil is, sow the seeds today, transplanting will be a month from now. So the date of transplanting at the rooftop will be 19th of May 2011.  History in the making I would say,  not about growing chili, but the willingness to stretch the dream far and  take calculated risk.

    The seedlings are growing well at our front porch...., my new make shift germination laboratory. I need to adjust thinking beyond my normal adventure, enough for household consumption. One thousand seedlings is something else....... and the gap between a part time gardener and full time farmer is getting closer.

    chili seedlings in smaller tray (photo1)

    chili seedlings (photo 2)

    chili seedlings (photo 3)

    chili seedlings, the sheer number (photo 4)

    chili seedlings (photo 5)

    chili seedlings, lower shelve (photo 6)

    chili seedlings lower shelve (photo 7)

    chili seelings, lower shelve (photo 8)

    chili seedlings, lower shelve ( photo 9 )

    chili seedlings( photo 10)

    germination laboratory (photo 11)

    This rooftop gardening entrepreneurial endeavor augers well with the 23 new initiatives on economic transformation program announced by our Prime Minister recently.

    I would love to hear comments from you readers, ..., 
    what you think of rooftop vegetable gardening with chili, 
    opinions and advice 
    you can think of about the whole idea, 
    and lastly which photo you like best.

    bangchik and kakdah, gardening advisory.

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