Monday, March 13, 2017

Leucaena (Petai Belalang), a player in garden sustainability.

A young lady Nor Hidayah came to the office last week for her doctoral research. I was chosen as her expert panel for professional inputs, which I gladly accepted, to ease out her quest for knowledge. The central issue is sustainability.  While going through the discussion, I pointed out FOREST as the best example of sustainability, the fact that forest exist within a system that is self propelled.  We may emulate contributing factors in forest sustainability into other systems.

This particular post is about Leucaena, which many would happily regard as a nuisance, or invasive.  Folks around here call it as petai belalang.  I on the hand place Leucaena as a treasure. Leucana has small leaves which would fall off from time to time. So small the leaves, that they blend well with grass underneath and decay in no time, adding organic matter to the soil. Some snails may venture out at night munching leaves on the ground, and probably leave poos behind , again as first class  organic fertiliser in ready form.  And that is a recipe for sustainability.

Pic 1: Leucaena alongside Moringa, both with fine leaves
behaving like deciduous trees,
dropping leaves regularly as agent of organic matter

Pic 2: These leucaena had been pruned twice already.
In the wild, Leucaena will be very bushy.

________bangchik and kakdah________

Friday, March 10, 2017

Pigeon Peas - Kacang Dhal an adventure

The interest to grow pigeon peas began over the last two years,  as we were beginning to get hooked on permaculture.   I bought the first batch of pigeon pea seeds through ebay. The seeds came from Thailand, which share similar climate like ours; hot, humid and wet. 

Two trees died during monsoon season in tandem with reports I read about pigeon peas don't really like water log.  The rest are still growing, two in Putrajaya Backyard Garden, another four in Seri Iskandar Home.  However none seems to be flowering after 1 and a half years. The seeds packet mentioned about maturity period of about 160-180 days which adds up to 5 to 6 months.  So what went wrong with our pigeon pea tree?  Lets see if the dry spell of March and April can induce much awaited flowerings. 

Last month, while searching for early maturing variety, I came up to etsy online. 50 seeds altogether, it was suggested  to grow them at shorter intervals, 3 feet apart.  Once these little seedlings toughen a little bit, they become my hope of pigeon peas flowerings and fruiting. Before the end of the year, some conclusions can be made about backyard pigeon peas cultivation.  

I have been successful with sorghum and sunn hemp, who knows pigeon peas will not end with dissappointment.

pigeon pea seedlings of early maturing variety

Pic 1: pigeon peas seedlings, early maturing variety

Pic 2: pigeon peas seedlings, early maturing variety

pigeon pea trees, One and a half year old

Pic 3: Old pigeon pea tree at the backyard

Pic 4: Old pigeon pea tree at the backyard

Pic 5: Old pigeon pea tree at the backyard

Pic 5: Old pigeon pea tree at the backyard

Pic 6: Old pigeon pea tree at the driveway

___________bangchik and kakdah___________

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

golden banana - pisang emas

We put our self into groups we call race,where as  for banana and other fauna we call variety. Pisang tanduk is a variety that produce the longest banana, sometimes reaching a foot long. Pisang emas is almost the opposite, small yet sweet.

I am yet to see how pisang emas will end up in our garden. Its Zila again, giving 5 pisang emas seedlings a few monts back.  I wonder if I will be able to see them fruiting, because by October this year, we will shift to our retirement home in Seri Iskandar.  Zila did mention about pisang emas requiring 9 months to mature.

pic 1: Banana has its own unique way of opening up new shoot

pic 2: Pisang emas

pic3: Pisang emas, young shoot with light  brown colour.
It will slowly turn green as days pass by
Pic 4: Pisang emas, light pinkish brown along stalks and stem

pic 5: This is pisang tanduk,  more greenish.

_________bangchik and kakdah_________

Monday, March 6, 2017

Moringa towering over everything else.

Moringa is a fast growing tree.   In October 2016, its height was 20 feet, now its well over 30 feet.  Visible in the pictures, are a few moringa fruits or sometime called drumsticks dangling in the air.  We had picked  a few drumsticks at the lower branches  for curry adds on. 

The tree isn't  two year old yet,  but it towers over everything else in our garden and lawn under its shade, is getting a lot greener.

Pic 1:  Moringa drumsticks dangling

Pic 2:  Moringa drumsticks dangling

Pic 3:  Moringa trunk and branches. Lawn is greener.

Pic 4:   Even the leaves are beautiful

______bangchik and kakdah______

Friday, March 3, 2017

crotalaria pallida as landscape element

Crotalaria pallida was primarily grown as nitrogen fixer and cover crop in plantations in the early days before mucuna bracteata and a few other legumes become popular. For small backyard gardens like ours, crotalaria pallida  is  both useful and suitable. Its very manageable and neat.  If it grows too tall and leggy, it wouldn't mind a bit of pruning.

I will recommend  crotalaria pallida to anyone, 
as cover crop and nitrogen fixers 
and it has beauty to match. 

Pic 1: Crotalia pallida alongside Mengkudu
Three crotalaria pallida  at the edge of mengkudu tree.  
Lighter green of crotalaria soften 
the extremely rich green of mengkudu

Pic 2: Crotalaria Pallida in rows  as companions
to a few banana trees
(not visible in this picture)

_____bangchik and kakdah_____

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