Friday, June 29, 2012

gynura procumbens, sambung nyawa

It's gynura procumbens or simply "sambung nyawa" in our language. Allow me to scrutinize the name sambung nyawa. Sambung is continue, nyawa is life.  The name  "sambung nyawa" itself does emphasize the benefits of this gynura procumbens. I bought the first plant many years ago, and many had been propagated, some were sold and most ended as giveaways to friends and visitors. So gynura procumbens or sambung nyawa (continuity of life) lives up to its name, connecting friendships near and far with it's value :-

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

I am now propagating hundreds of them...... 


bangchik and kakdah

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Garden Design and it's outcome

We can come up with the most beautiful garden design, but to see it through, digging, moving the earth, germinating and planting is hard work. Tiring, but it's fun and rewarding. I came to Pasir Gudang Johor late last year, and the space at the back of the house was so tempting. A simple sketch was drawn and the rest is a journey of backyard gardening....

my little vegetable garden layout

......................... N o v e m b e r   2 0 1 1 .........................

setting out with strings
new garden bed with edgings
new garden beds taking shape

......................... D e c e m b e r   2 0 1 1 .........................

roselle growing up

new home made  garden work bench.

......................... J a n u a r y   2 0 1 2 .........................

small rectangular bed

small rectangular bed

square bed with pineapples and sweet corns

......................... F e b r u a r y  2 0 1 2  .........................

big rectangular bed

watering system
watering system

......................... M a r c h    2 0 1 2  .........................

small rectagular bed, highlighting Keladi.

bucketful of kale.

......................... A p r i l    2 0 1 2 .........................

square bed with ubi kemili / ubi keling

......................... M a y   2 0 1 2 .........................

Markisa / passionfruit sign of success

......................... J u n e      2 0 1 2 .........................

small rectangular bed, overhauled for next planting

open bed,  with roselle and  lady's finger

2000 chili project at far back.

small rectangular beds, the right side

the rest on the left side

How time flies......

........... b a n g c h i k      a n d      k a k d a h ..........
j o h o r

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Long shadows

Sun is communicating in symbolic way, presenting long shadows early in the morning. It's the best time to be in the garden, looking at flowers and plants. The picture is showing the left side of the garden viewed from the front porch. There is kantan, the new bed for roselle and at the far end kangkong and ulam raja.  Morning is so fresh, plants seem to place more green pigments on their leaves, posing for a green picturesque morning.....

long shadows early in the morning

Garden Shadows
by Bliss Carman

When the dawn winds whisper
To the standing corn,
And the rose of morning
From the dark is born,
All my shadowy garden
Seems to grow aware
Of a fragrant presence,
Half expected there.

In the golden shimmer
Of the burning noon,
When the birds are silent
And the poppies swoon,
Once more I behold her
Smile and turn her face,
With its infinite regard,
Its immortal grace.

When the twilight silvers
Every nodding flower,
And the new moon hallows
The first evening hour,
Is it not her footfall
Down the garden walks,
Where the drowsy blossoms
Slumber on their stalks?

In the starry quiet,
When the soul is free,
And a vernal message
Stirs the lilac tree,
Surely I have felt her
Pass and brush my cheek,
With the eloquence of love
That does not need to speak!

It's a must for me to turn a while as I get out through the front door, 
because the view is pleasing.

bangchik and kakdah

Friday, June 22, 2012

Terung / brinjal / eggplant very skinny.

Terung or brinjal / eggplant / aubergine is another plant I keep growing.  The plant may look skinny but it keeps producing fruits. For the two of us, having brinjal for lunch once a week is enough. There are two brinjal plants growing right now.

terung / brinjal / eggplant
This isn't the first eggplant we grow over the many years, and I always notice that eggplants seldom look green and healthy, especially the leaves.

Terung dipotong

brinjal sliced.

As long as brinjals end up on the chopping board, 
it doesn't matter much if they come from skinny or lush plants.

bangchik and kakdah

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Colour spectrum of our garden

combination of colours



....... b a n g c h i k      a  n  d       k a k d a h   ........
j o h o r

Monday, June 18, 2012

the next Okra

The old okra / lady's fingers / bendi had gone. The new okras were germinated from old okra seeds. They had overstayed in polybags, since the preparation of new vegetable was delayed. Three okras were planted earlier, and now the strongest of them is flowering. Another 5 okras were planted a week later, and now they are a bit stunted due to current hot and dry spell.

three okras  growing steadily

three okras

the first flower of okra

The new vegetable bed is of open type, without hard edgings as the earlier vegetable beds. I wish to have it that way, no edgings, since it offers flexibility in altering shape, arrangements and type of plants to be grown. Somehow the new vegetable blend well with the lawn. For the moment 3 big okras, 5 smaller okras, 24 roselle, a lime tree about 3 feet high now,  and a cluster of periwinkles and zinnia are the inhabitants of our new vegetable bed.  Okra will soon give us steady supply of small long fruits.

bangchik and kakdah

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Mahkota Dewa (Phaleria macrocarpa)

Trying to get healthier through herbs and fruits, is quite a recent thing. Over these years we are introduced to new plants proven beneficial to health. Most of them had in fact been grown and consumed without scientific endorsement by older generations. One of them is  Mahkota Dewa which is grown in my garden, originally a giveaway by Azmi in exchange of chili seedlings a couple of months ago.  I am trying to figure out what would be the eventual plant as it matures, how big would the flower be and the fruits. For the moment the plant is a foot height.

...........  my mahkota dewa  ...........

mahkota dewa

mahkota dewa

mahkota dewa

Mahkota Dewa (Macrocarpa phaleria)

(source:    Phaleria macrocarpa, The God's Crown - The Corroboree )

Mahkota Dewa (Macrocarpa phaleria) means 'God's Crown', a plant from the family of Thymelaeaceae. The name given to this fruit implies that it descends from heaven, as a benediction from divinity to help mankind. God's Crown is an indigenous plant from the island of Papua (Irian Jaya) located in the far east of the Indonesian archipelago. 

In Papua Nugini, which is situated in the east of Papua, more specifically in the area of Maprik about a 2.5 hour journey from the town of Wewak, a God's Crown tree was founded, about nine meters in height, bearing fruit on every branch. Some of the local residents when asked what Mahkota Dewa was used for, reported that the tree is only decorative and its fruit extremely poisonous. The same answer was given to another journalist from Kompas daily newspaper that happened to come across a similar tree in a village near Timika. It's quite ironic that the local people know nothing of this fruit that is currently being sourced by outsiders to heal many kinds of disease. 

Centuries ago samples of the Mahkota Dewa tree were once transported from the island of Papua by traditional Javanese medicine men and planted in the palace grounds of Solo and Jogyakarta. These men of wisdom had apparently developed a particular way of processing the poisonous fruit to make it a useful healing source. But knowledge of this medicine remained secret and age-old recipes were kept within the walls of the Javanese palaces for generations before news finally filtered out. The Javanese referred to this fruit as 'Makuto Dewo' and Chinese herbalists named it 'Pau', the patrimony drug. 

Now this plant is no longer the secret property of a wise circle of healers. Due to its economic value and medicinal benefits, many have started to cultivate the Mahkota Dewa in their home compounds. The tree grows with ease and does not require any special treatment or handling. It can grow in areas from 0 - 1000 meters above sea level; can reach 5 meters in height and effortlessly produces ample flowers that eventually develop as fruit.

After planting seeds it only takes one year before fragrant flowers appear that in due course transform into green coloured young fruit. In a maturing process the fruit then become a dazzling red tone in shapes that range from a ping-pong ball to apple size in appearance. For those not familiar with the Mahkota Dewa, its fruit can be quite alluring and flourishes within convenient reach all over the tree, down the trunk and the branch armpits.

The entire component of the crop, seeds, fruit, leaves and branches all contain medicinal properties. The Mahkota Dewa can be utilized as single drug and or mixed with other herbs to strengthen its effects and to neutralize its poison. Although Mahkota tastes rather sweet, it is most important to remember that it cannot be consumed direct or prior to medical processing. It is a highly poisonous plant that can be fatal. 

However, there is a certain technique to make it safe for traditional medicinal consumption. The immature green fruit as well as the ripened red fruit can be shredded and sun-dried. Take one tablespoon (no more) of this dried shredded flesh and mix it with a glass of boiling hot water to make a beverage infusion. It is believed that the flesh of the Mahkota Dewa fruit contains the anti-oxidant compounds that fight cancer. This is not recommended for pregnant women as consumption of this non-prescribed alternative medicine can endanger the unborn fetus. 

Mahkota Dewa is often used as a therapeutic healing alternative for an assortment of diseases. Healing time varies depending on the patient's body weight and severity of the ailment. A chronic disease such as cancer requires approximately eight months curing time with dosage is two tablespoons of dried shredded flesh in a glass of hot water. If the condition shows sign of improvement the dosage is lessened. 

Mahkota Dewa is believed to cure other diseases and health ailments such as high blood pressure, impotency, insomnia, influenza, rheumatism, allergies, heart disease, bladder complaints, uric acid and liver problems. However it is important that this traditional medicine is not consumed without prior consultation with a recommended herbalist. 


mahkota dewa

mahkota dewa

mahkota dewa

i guess i have wait a year or two
to see the first fruit.

...............  bangchik and kakdah  ...............

Monday, June 11, 2012

Compost pile to grow things

Not much of a compost heap. I kept adding leaves,  grass cuttings, dead plants, large palm leaves, old soil from pots, top soil  and sand to get to that height. Kangkong as one of the compost material, survived and emerged out of the compost heap. No need for fetiliser, they feed on the reservoir of good natural food, COMPOST HEAP. Kangkong  grown in the normal way, don't look half healthy!

It is quite practical to start off a vegetable bed by piling up organic material to a reasonable height with additional sand and soil. Once the heap look dark brown, with everything almost decomposed, the site can be further ploughed into a good vegetable bed. 

How Compost Works Good compost makes plants resilient. Compost matures into what soil scientists call active organic matter, a dark, flaky soil, that's rich with micro-organisms and earthworms, as well as the useful waste these life-forms release. Adding compost to garden soil increases its water-holding capacity, and provides wonderful plant nutrients. Compost also contains matter that helps plants react well to challenges from insects and disease.

Kangkong seems happy feeding on compost heap

........... b a n g c h i k      a n d      k a k d a h ..........
j o h o r

Friday, June 8, 2012

being away from home.

The right to live, the right for voices to be heard, and finally the right to vote in democratic countries. Plants Kingdom operates on a similar system, every single plant or grass has the right to grow. And grow they did, to a point some will suffocate and overrun  the others. Over time plants make adjustments to live happily, when bigger plant grow taller and stronger giving shade to weeds on the ground. What looks like a decent offer from bigger plants in the form of shade and cooler surroundings, is in fact very detrimental to weeds. Then weeds has less chance to grow in shady area, but make no mistake, they are always ready to surge and grow once the shade is gone. 

Chili plants are not dense, therefore no real shade on the ground. Weeds and chili plants fight for space in their plant kingdom. But a gardener like me, set out to grow vegetables such as chili, but definitely not weeds / grass.   I jumped in to intervene and pulled out weeds. The weather was a little bit hot and dry.

 ............    b e f o r e    t h e    w e e k e n d     ............
2nd and 3rd of June 2012

weeds suffocating rows of chili
 I am guilty for being away too often, 
neglecting our little vegetable garden.

weeding had just started
 I need the whole weekend 
to clear up the weeds

heap of grass and plants.

............       a f t e r        t h e       w e e k e n d      ............
pictures taken on Wednesday 6th June 2012 at noon.
after a  good workout over the weekend.




The pathway is for Kakdah to get to the cloth lines,
one on the right and another on the left. The clothlines are more than enough for the two of us, so the left cloth lines are dedicated to markisa / passionfruits vines.

At the far end, there are 2000 polybags of chili also planted over the weekend.
I will write about the project soon.  Pictures are displayed here to show
how much can be done over the weekend
to clear up the weeds,
a good scrub,
a haircut,
a facelift.

We keep pulling out weeds, but weeds keep coming back. 
It's a reminder that we are here to co exist 
and learn to adapt.

........... b a n g c h i k      a n d      k a k d a h ..........
j o h o r

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Ulam Raja, second generation in Pasir Gudang Johor.

The old Ulam Raja had gone. The second generation is ready to offer us healthy and fresh ulam raja as salad.  Ulam Raja also known as Cosmos caudatus  is said to have beneficial properties;
  • improve blood circulation
  • lower uric acid
  • reduce body "heat"
  • and a good source of fibre 

self seeding
I didn't count, but there could be thousands of young seedlings. Not all will survive to maturity in such tight space, so we can imagine the healthiest will survive.  However we can also view  in a different perspective, some simply surrender and die allowing the better ones to prolong their legacy.
One Ulam Raja would need at least a foot square to grow to maturity.

seedlings all over the place
close up:  so many little seedlings

self seeding
the stump of old ulam raja, the first generation  here and seedlings

human intervention
The moment I saw seedlings appeared around the old ulam raja, I scooped a few and  transplanted at the far end of our garden.  As ground cover, to protect the young seedlings, I placed palm leaves which had been cut into smaller pieces. That was about one month ago.  The seedlings had grown to about a foot and a half, healthy looking without excessive competition as in the cluster of self seeds.

New batch of Ulam Raja, second generation here.

A simple plant that will grow and self seed at will, therefore we should not worry about germinating them.

........... b a n g c h i k      a n d      k a k d a h ..........
j o h o r
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