Sunday, January 29, 2012

daun sireh or betel leaf

Sireh or betel ( Piper betle)  is primarily a climber which requires a pole or a tree.  Kakdah however includes sireh among her hanging plants. So instead of climbing up, sireh or betel is hanging down. Yea, it is not the way sireh should grow, but it is alright, sireh isn't complaining.....

Chewing betel is a habit among the older generations, grandmother era. Not many do that now. However sireh /betel manage to get the limelight during Malay engagement and wedding ceremony. So sireh is a plant well sought after for such ceremony....

{It goes by many names:   The betel leaf is known as Paan in Assamese /Urdu /Hindi /Oriya /Bengali, and Tambula and Nagavalli in Sanskrit. Some of the names in the regions in which it is consumed are: Vetrilai (Tamil),  Tamalapaku (Telugu), Vidyache pan (Marathi), veeleyada yele  (Kannada), Vettila (Malayalam), Plū (Mon),  Malus (Tetum), Maluu (Khmer), Plū (Thaiพลู),  Bulath (Sinhalese), Malu (Tokodede),  Bileiy (Divehi), bulung samat (Kapampangan),  daun sireh (Malay), daun sireh/suruh (Bahasa Indonesia),  Papulu (Chamorro),  Ikmo (Philippines), Pu (ພູ) in Lao, and Trầu (Vietnamese). }  .. wikipedia  

sireh emas

sireh emas

sireh emas

sireh emas

The variety is sireh emas
A gift from Fauzi and Noor. So that will definitely rekindle memories 
of our short stay in Tanah Merah Kelantan.

bangchik and kakdah
Pasir Gudang

Friday, January 27, 2012

green leafy vegetables in our little garden.

Leafy vegetables, leafy greens, sayur hijau all refer to the same thing. Plant leaves are eaten as vegetables, either raw as salads or cooked; stir fried, stewed, boiled or steamed.  I love growing leafy vegetables because they do provide exciting view, green, thriving and soothing.  Seeds are cheap and we can grow by hundreds. Most grow so quick that in a matter of weeks they are ready for steady harvest.


It is always bayam to us here. We can get them cheap at the market, but growing bayam ourselves is something else. It is always nice to have bayam right at the backyard ready to be cut for a lovely lunch or dinner.  Sometimes it is called amaranth tricolour. A friend said, one should buy seeds only once,  then after one should keep saving seeds when the plants flower and produce seeds. The seeds are black in colour, so small that a pinch could contain hundred of seeds.

They are slightly more than two months, and now they are already flowering. That's bayam, at after two months, they are considered old or ancient.



ulam raja

We never miss growing ulam raja. It is quite strong against pests and wind. Picking the shoots for fresh salad never kill them, in fact will promote development of side shoots, turning the plant into  bushy ornamental herb.

ulam raja

ulam raja


kangkung, or water spinach is known as poor man's veggie. It can propagate by cuttings, but the most usual way is by seeds. And like the above veggies, kangkung will bloom and produce seeds in a short time. This veggie is unique, because once it sets, it will keep growing and crawl where ever it wishes. Heavy pruning will give the plant a fresh start all over again. 

kangkung / water spinach

kangkung / water spinach

water spinach
The three leafy green will always be with us, placed somewhere at the backyard.  I am eyeing at other leafy greens to be included here. The one foot square vegetable bed, will be an adventurous site to trying as many as I can squeeze.

bangchik and kakdah
pasir gudang JOHOR

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

roselle after two months here.

Any new vegetable gardener should include roselle in the list of plants, simply because of it's zest to keep growing. While other plants could be struggling, roselle will just keep growing, displaying deep green leaves and dark red stems and branches.

The row of roselle is so dense now, becoming really bushy. It keeps me wondering if I am guilty of putting them too close or the plants simply love the environment here and keep growing. Kakdah finds it difficult to get to the fruits in the bush. She had taken a few, to add taste to one of her menu.

The other day a friend asked for a roselle seedling. Luckily I have one extra from previous planting, in polybag. It is good to see people trying to grow plants. I had just finished germinating 10 new  roselle, so within a month the new roselle seedlings will need a plot to grow.

Row of roselle:  pink flowers are quite visible

row of roselle

roselle, dark red stem

kangkung, basil and roselle far back.

roselle, the side

roselle: some insects love the leaves

roselle, the shoots


bangchik and kakdah,

Earlier Post on Roselle in Johor

  1. ROSELLE after a month here

Monday, January 23, 2012

Growing cabbages in Johor

The four cabbages are Ok..., leaves getting bigger. I did regularly posts on cabbages following their phases and stages in Putrajaya. We had grown them in Tanah Merah and now Pasir Gudang Johor.

two month old cabbages

 Kadir, Syed and Sharifah's son is the one that will water our plants including cabbages whenever we had to be away. I had not personally said thank you to him yet..., and I guess it's like mutuality of understandings, words don't matter much. His boyish smile will warm anybody's heart... yea, that is Kadir, the young part-time gardener whenever we had to be away....

bangchik and kakdah
Pasir Gudang JOHOR

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Long red chili have a go.

The bigger space I am currently enjoying offers room for multi-adventure in vegetable gardening.  But one thing I am very much aware is when so many type of vegetables are grown, there is a need to keep up with things. Every vegetable ha its own special need and growth rate. There is also a need to answer the question "what's next". Because the end of one veggie should coincide with  next veggie seedlings ready. A gardener is a leader visualising what lies ahead in long term plans.  And at the same time a manager too, coping with daily chores pests, watering, fertilising, mulching and harvesting. And also a community member as we share harvests with neighbours.

Long red chili have a go.
mencuba chili merah panjang

There is KipMart in Pasir Gudang on the way up to Masai. KipMart is such a big supermarket. Everything is available there. And the most interesting part is the veggie, fruits and fish sections. One day Kakdah bought a few long red chili. I opened one, took the seeds out and germinated them straight away. No problem, they dutifully let out roots and shoots. Wonderful, one chili has so many seeds enough for tray type 74.

red chili seedlings

red chili seedlings

chili merah panjang atau chili besar. 

The seedlings are still in  tray type74 . I didn't count, but at a glance there should be at least 70.  They will get to the ground soon, as seedlings grow to eighth  leaf.  Not all will be used up.  I wonder if Azmi and Sanusi is interested. Otherwise the extra will be squeezed in the one-foot vegetable bed.

bangchik and kakdah
Pasir Gudang, Johor

Thursday, January 19, 2012


We had grown two different type of basil before. One with whitish flowers and the other slightly purplish. There is a new type of basil in the garden now, very dense bonsai-like basil. It is not flowering yet.

Bonsai-like basil

The other basil: with purplish flowers

The other basil: not as dense
I asked Kakdah about the differences in smell and taste. She said just a slight difference...., with a hint of lemon grass in one and not the other. Yea, smell and taste are two aesthetic elements of life , so difficult to describe.... and yet we know the differences, the level, the intensity, the aroma.

bangchik and kakdah
Pasir Gudang, Johor

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


It used to be two grape vines in Tanah Merah, our former house. They had to endure  9 hour long distance travel. One died, and the other survived. The sole survivor is still in the same large pot, growing up steadily. It is enjoying  the new place and weather. It has interesting growing habit, sending out Y-tendrils, and the moment it touches something solid, it will hold and wind slowly. Thereafter the tendril gets bigger and stronger  changing its colour from light green to red.  It behaves almost a snake holding on to victims, tightening up, squeezing out every little bit of air and energy..

the fate of grape vine 
pohon anggur

Other plants like cucumber and  bitter gourd display different styles, tendrils seem to grab and wind things quicker. It is understandable because their life-span is short, so they have to make full of the short time available to go high up, kiss the sun and produce flowers and fruits preparing for the next generation. Grape vine can take it's own sweet time for the fact that it is programmed to last for decades.......

grape vine: upper part against red brick column

Grape vine: tendrils red in colour

grape vine: the bottom part and the pot.

Grape vine is said to last for over 120 years. After 20 years, vines start to produce smaller grapes. In some places, vines are kept for 400 years, not as productive as young vines, but definitely a vintage, a heritage to pass to the next generation. My concern now is  when would the first set of flowers and grapes be....

bangchik and kakdah
pasir gudang, JOHOR

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Vegetable Garden maturing

It's slightly over two months since we arrived here, Pasir Gudang Johor. Weather is getting slightly drier, no more daily shower around 5pm. The other day, cloud swelled heavy, indicating it's readiness to rain, then some how wind carried the whole heavy cloud away.... surprising.  Neighbours Syed, Sanusi and Sahul mentioned about Jan and Feb being very windy, pointing out  that Pasir Gudang International Kite Fest will always be held in February.  This year, it is 15th to 19th February.

Our Vegetable Garden is really maturing now. A few weeks ago, roselle and lady's finger bent almost flat to the ground, as wind blew hard. But the next morning they sprang up like nothing happened.  Wonderful to know how plants endure wind, sun and rain again and again. They are designed to survive. Judging by the number of seeds most plants produce, they really are programmed to last to the end of time.

vegetable bed, okra, ulam raja and keladi
vegetable bed viewed from top left

sweet corns and pineapples



okra / lady's fingers / bendi

Lady's finger flowering
Bayam has been harvested many many times, more for the neighbours than our own kitchen.  Lady's fingers were attacked by black ants a week ago, and of course I fought back. Now lady's fingers are growing happily and first harvest will happen tomorrow. Two months had passed, vegetables are maturing, harvest is daily chore for kakdah...... and our neighbourhood is blessed with fruits of labour..... gardening.

bangchik and kakdah
Pasir Gudang

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

HAPPY NEW YEAR: Another Gardening Adventure

First day of the year had passed. The weather changed from rainy to sunny.  While taking extra precaution to ensure plants had enough water, I forgot about myself. I was down for days with flu. Kakdah who was not affected , then assumed the responsibility to water plants twice a day.

Now there is a little bit change around the house. The large raintree has to go. The massive trunk and roots had pushed the roadside drain, displaced the alignment, leaving the drain broken and failed in its function . The roots had travelled too far, that some had knocked down pathways. After consultation with the neighbours, it was decided to knock two large trees down.

Most plants are flowering sweetly, with leaves so green. I was discussing the other day with friends, why plants in Johor grow so healthy. In fact most landscape contractors in Malaysia get their plants supplies from Johor. There are so many large nurseries in Johor starting from Muar to where I am staying now Pasir Gudang. It is all about weather here being kinder. It is never too hot. Evenings are breezy and cool. There is always clouds to soften burning afternoons.

flowers so sweet

the large raintree that has to go down

flowers white and yellow

leaves of raintree

the broken drain had to be repaired

it is hot.., but they keep on working

men and drain

the new irrigation system
Izmar and friends

the tubes for irrigation system

200 gal water tank ready.

We will have new irrigation system ready soon. Water tank and tubes are here already. Izmar from Kuantan came with the whole family to have a look at the site. He will come back within two weeks to help us out with the new irrigation system, as days get hotter and weather gets drier.

Happy New Year.

bangchik and kakdah
Pasir Gudang Johor
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