Thursday, November 10, 2016

Oxalis barrelieri remains as weeds

Much has been said about Oxalis barrelieri on its medicinal benefits,  but it remains as weeds, growing freely as it likes.. Since my lawn is regularly mowed, it cant appear in the center of things.  True to its wild traits,Oxalis barrelieri emerge at awkward places where lawnmower would not  venture; flower pots, edges of lawn, near drains, underneath trees.  

The berries taste exactly like starfruits (belimbing),  therefore it is widely known as belimbing tanah or belimbing pasir in Malaysia.

Oxalis barrelieri - Belimbing pasir

Oxalis barrelieri - Belimbing pasir

Oxalis barrelieri - Belimbing pasir

Oxalis barrelieri - Belimbing pasir

Bangchik and Kakdah
Putrajaya Backyard Garden

Monday, November 7, 2016

Passionfruit vine is crawling

Over here it is known as markisa, a vine that lasts for more than 5 years.  It will start flowering and fruiting after a year.  I germinated quite a number of them last year, most were given away to friends, 2 of them planted in Seri Iskandar home garden and one is grown here in Putrajaya backyard garden.

Passiflora_edulis , Markisa (Melayu) 
passionfruit (English), maracuya (Spanish) , granadille (French), 
maracuja (Portugese), liliko'i (Hawaiian) 

Passionfruit vine - markisa

Passionfruit vine - markisa

Passionfruit vine - markisa

Passionfruit vine - markisa
with bamboo trellis
The passionfruit vines will thicken and eventually cover up the whole trellis. In the meantime , taro (keladi) can still grow and use the space underneath.

Bangchik and Kakdah
Putrajaya Backyard Garden

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Morinda citrifolia shoots and fruits ~ Mengkudu

Everybody around here call this tree as mengkudu. To germinate mengkudu seeds, one has to be extremely patient because the seeds take three months to germinate.  I remembered that very well because I was about to give up and wanting to throw the seemingly dormant seeds away. The better side of me took pity and put them in a pot and let nature handle them. Yes, its three long months to see little roots coming out. Once it set foot or rather root on the ground, it keeps on growing.  After a year and a half its almost 6 feet and it has lovely fruits as well.

I remembered putting all garden waste, leaves, and empty clay pots on  5 feet diameter spot, and left the organic matter to rot for about 3 months.  The first to be planted right in the centre there was one lucky mengkudu seedling, and later followed by other plants as companions The decayed organic matter must have soften the soil and make it really fertile for mengkudu tree to grow that fast. Another friend who had been given seedlings, had his tree half the size.

Before fruits mature, they had to go developmental phases

buah mengkudu ( the fruit of Morinda citrifolia)

buah mengkudu
buah mengkudu

buah mengkudu

Kakdah had tried using mengkudu shoots as ulam or salad. I expect it to be bitter, but it turned out to like cooked cabbage. The fruit is something else. When it is ripe, it smells awful, but it has all the medicinal values where extracts had long been packed and sold in drug stores.

bangchik and kakdah
putrajaya backyard garden

Monday, October 31, 2016

Papaya flower, will it turn to fruit?

The first promising papaya flower emerged yesterday. Out of 12 papaya trees, this particular tree is a bit quick in displaying its vitality. The rest are still learning. When they are learning, flowers just open up for the day and drop off  a few  days later.  Like little birds learning to fly, papaya trees are learning too..

papaya early stage

papaya early stage

Papaya little fruit emerging

Papaya tree

Papaya in a row

bangchik and kakdah
Berkebun di Putrajaya

Friday, October 28, 2016

Can papaya handle clitoria ternaeta?

Truly, I am a bit obsessed with permaculture lately, so allowing clitoria to go up papaya tree is somewhat natural. Climbers in the wild will climb any tree to touch the sky, as their weak stems cant keep them straight.

Clitoria ternaeta climbing up papaya tree

Clitoria ternaeta is a fighter. It seems to enjoy its pest free heritage. It can however choke any weak plants, with its thick foliage as it continues growing and blocking lights out of the host plant. I wish the two can be truly friendly, papaya alllowing clitoria to piggyback and clitoria oferring nutrients to papaya roots through its nitrogen fixing prowess.

Of course I will play the role of referee, not allowing clitoria to overrun. 

bangchik and kakdah
Putrajaya Vegetable Garden

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

crotalaria pallida with fancy flowers

crotalaria pallida

crotalaria pallida

bangchik and kakdah
Putrajaya Vegetable Garden

Monday, October 24, 2016

Moringa flowers - SECOND WEEK

Plants behave differently. Each has its own peculiarity as when to flower and when to bear fruits. Our single moringa tree has its first burst of flowers. Its all white except for slight yellowish filaments. Within a week, the buds open up the pure white petals, for insects to come and enjoy the taste of nature. The nectar!

Moringa flowers : WEEK 2

Moringa flowers - WEEK 1

I am tracking the emergence of little fruits in weeks to come.

bangchik and kakdah
Putrajaya Backyard Vegetable Garden

Friday, October 21, 2016

Garden stakes, where do we get them?

I had used coconut husk as vegetable garden borders while gardening at Presint 14 years ago.  Now I am using wooden sticks to mark or put border where the seedlings are, to avoid trampling on them, and to discourage cats from pooing over the tiny plants. Living in urban place like Putrajaya, wooden sticks are not easy to find.  
Perennials like senduduk can offer reasonably good sticks, and in fact senduduk can live through a couple of prunings. I had used senduduk sticks while staying in Presint 14, from year 2008 to 2010. This time around, I make full use of pokok petai belalang ( leucaena ).  These leucaena trees which grow so fast, reaching a height of 12 feet within a year,  require regular pruning  to keep them at manageable height. The leaves will become mulching materials, and the branches suitable as stakes. There are five leucaena trees in my backyard garden right now.

leucaena branches as stakes

ulam raja seedlings visible among weeds.

Its good to have perennials and trees in the garden that can provide garden stakes.

bangchik and kakdah
Putrajaya Backyard Garden

Monday, October 17, 2016

Birds nest fern, adding colour to backyard garden

One birds nest fern appeared as tiny baby beside Kakdah's roses pot sometime last year. I quickly had it transferred in a pot half filled with soil and let it grow under shade. It had grown big and healthy now.

The other three were taken from Hamimah's place in Sungai Batu recently. She has an acre full of matured oil palms which play host to different type of fern on their stems. We took three and they are adjusting to living in pots now.

birds nest fern
bangchik and kakdah backyard

If bird nest fern is well exposed to sunlight, its colour is yellowish green.  Under heavy shade, the colour will be a lot greener. 

bangchik and kakdah
Putrajaya Presint 8

Friday, October 14, 2016

moringa flower buds.

His name is Syed, our neighbour at the back.  His moringa tree had grown very tall and produced a lot of fruits (or moringa drumsticks). During one strong gust of wind, branches fell. He offered a branch, if I wish to grow.  Moringa tree can be grown from cuttings and seeds.  That moringa cutting had grown almost 20 feet and now  is ready to bear fruits. Its a bit quick I guess, just slightly over a year since I last planted them.  The flowers are still at bud stage.

Moringa flower buds at lower branch

Moringa flower buds on the main branch

The Moringa tree.

Kakdah had used moringa shoots as additions in scrambled eggs, and now she is contemplating her first  moringa drumsticks curry!!

Bangchik and Kakdah
Presint 8 Putrajaya

Monday, October 3, 2016

Seri Iskandar Home Garden, changes in less than two years.

Trees grow at such slow pace that the changes will be almost unnoticeable. Vegetables which mostly are annuals, grow fast but die young. Perennials and trees will stay long, giving shape and overall look to the garden.  I have been developing Seri Iskandar Home Garden for almost two years now.  Its quite surprising to see the rapid changes taking place by comparing the pictures.

December 2014

February 2015

September 2016

September 2016

If I am not careful,  it will soon turn into little jungle.

bangchik and kakdah
seri iskandar home garden

Friday, September 30, 2016

Gardening tools, second life

Old car boot tray, black in colour had seen its best years where it should be, in our old car.  It makes saturday marketing quite presentable. It will contain fish, chicken, meat and vegetables.  We also have quite a collection of old paint and putty containers. They are now into second phase of their useful life in gardening.

Old car boot tray

another container with second meaningful life

bangchik and kakdah
Putrajaya Backyard Garden

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Chenderoh Dam early morning

It was a day before Ilah's engagement that all of us spent a night at Yop's place, . He  is now working as an Eletrical Engineer with Tenaga Nasional Berhad. He is stationed at Chenderoh Hydro Electric Dam which is the oldest hydro electric dam in Malaysia.  

Chenderoh dam, Perak
I took this picture early in the morning. Even though there was nothing much to see, the mood was  very cool and soothing as mists softened  the contrasting hills and water below.

bangchik and kakdah

Monday, September 26, 2016

community of plants, diversity and variety.

To be natural with gardening, is to aim for as much diversity and variety as possible.  Its the opposite to commercial agriculture which depends on massive mono cultures.

Variety in a circle

right in the centre>> mengkudu,  outer circumference>>banana and pokok masam

Variety in a cluster

Wetter section of garden plot allows turmeric, kesum and taro to coexixt

bangchik and kakdah
Putrajaya Backyard Vegetable Garden

Friday, September 23, 2016

Sabah Snake Grass in Putrajaya

Demand for this special plant or rather grass soared for the past few years due to  media coverage on a cancer patient supposedly cured beyond the three years and getting healthier after consuming sabah snake grass.

Two years ago, Sulong Yahaya our dearest friend  gave away one polybag of snake grass (Clinacanthus nutans).  He is very much  into herbal world.  "Pick 7 fresh leaves of sabah snake grass and chew them everyday", he prescribed.  Originally it was used to treat snake bites hence its name sabah snake grass. Nowadays it is magical in cancer prevention, detoxification and blood circulation. It also regulates kidney functions, cholesterol and blood pressure.

The plant seems to enjoy wet and shady environment. So I put sabah snake grass in the same habitat as taro and banana, and also in pots.

Sabah Snake Grass or Belalai Gajah
(Clinacanthus nutans)


1. Sabah Snake Grass

2. Sabah Snake Grass: The Miracle Herb and Its Side Effects

3. Sabah Snake Grass Warning – Alternatives to Medicine

 bangchik and kakdah
Putrajaya Backyard Garden

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

fungi feasting on old tree trunk

There was this huge pokok payung indonesia  (Hura Crepitans)  on the right side of our house.  I remembered having to sweep and collect old leaves everyday which was very good for compost pile. The tree was chopped down, when the Putrajaya Holdings decided that it had grown too tall and too big for safety reasons.  

A year later, the decaying tree stump plays host to the world of fungi, plants and other living creatures.

 fungi - kulat 1

fungi - kulat 2
new growth

 fungi - kulat 3

 fungi - kulat 4

fungi - kulat 5

 fungi - kulat 6

 fungi - kulat 7

fungi - kulat 8

fungi - kulat 9

fungi - kulat 10

fungi - kulat 11
ulam raja coexists with fungi on old tree trunk
 Fungi has a world of itself.  Since fungi cannot make its food from sunlight, water and carbon dioxide as plants do, they must take in food from other organism. Decaying trees are the most common place to look for fungi.

bangchik and kakdah
Putrajaya Backyard Garden

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