Sunday, June 22, 2014

Mulberry and No Birdies!

I would call my Mulberry as plants instead of trees, as that's what they are! 

I have two of these plants, growing in separate pots. These two plants have been providing me with about two dozens or so (yeah, so few!), of fruits each time. When the fruits have been harvested, the branches need to be pruned  in order to encourage the growth of more fruits. I have been collecting the fruits and freezing them for use in jam making, in my bakes and for making ice cream. And I have been harvesting my kind neighbour's mulberries too, as they have given me the green light to do so, since they do not eat the fruits, and once the fruits are ripe, they will all dropped off to the ground. 

The other Mulberry Plant.

My plants are about 2 years old, and they grow rather slow, since I've grown them in pots. But with constant pruning of the branches, I have a steady supply of fruits every now and then. Mulberries have lots of health benefits, you may read all about it here. The fruits would start off as small green fruits, then they will turn a shade of light pink, to light red, then bright red, on to dark red, and when fully ripe, the fruits will be almost black. They are juicy and tart when not fully ripe, and when fully ripe, with a hint of tart sweetness.

I've made this delightful sorbet using a mixture of mulberries, cranberries and orange juice a couple of months ago. The perfect indulgence for our super hot weather right now.

Cranberry-Mulberry Orange Sorbet


Update on the bird nest that I found two weeks ago in my Belimbing tree, from my previous post here.

The nest has dropped to the lower part of the tree. Maybe the nest was not secured enough and it has came tumbling down! Poor mother bird! After all its hard work into building it. I've read from the internet that it takes a few practices for a new mother bird until she can build a sturdy well built nest. Perhaps this little mother bird is a newbie! Hopefully she has made another nest and have her eggs ready to be hatched somewhere safe.

Instead of discarding the nest, I have placed the nest in the tree, where there's support, though I doubt that the bird would be back, but well, keeping my fingers crossed. 

I'm linking this post to Garden Tuesday @ Sidewalk Shoes

Happy Gardening !

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Some garden updates

Update from my previous post on my Pomegranate plant, about 5 weeks ago, I was really happy to see that out of the one dozen flowers that bloomed, two have turned to fruits!  Even though almost all of the flowers have dropped off, I was quite happy as I've bought this young seedling less than a year ago, and did not expect it to grow so quick and now with fruits too! 

This photo was taken about 2 weeks ago.

The same fruit, today. The calyx at the bottom which looks like a crown, have dropped off, making the fruit looks so "un-pomegranate" LOL!

The second fruit, photo taken about 2 weeks ago.

The fruit today. It still has it's calyx at the bottom of the fruit. With it's "crowning glory" this looks more like a pomegranate, unlike the "naked" one from the second photo above, which looks like a small young mango fruit!

I can't wait for the fruits to ripen. This is the first time I'm growing pomegranate, so I'm not sure when is the suitable time to harvest. From what I've read from the internet, it takes about 6 months from the start of the flowers to harvesting the fruits. I guess that I'll have to wait a little longer, and probably not as long as 6 months, depending on the variety. I really do not know the variety of this plant in my pot, all I knew was, it is our local variety, as was told by the seller from the nursery, and she herself do not know the variety of this fruit.

 My chilli plant. I have harvested all the red ripe chillies and have been enjoying at least 3 to 5 chillies with my meals, almost everyday.

Look what I've discovered in my belimbing tree! A bird's nest! I have seen the mother bird only once yesterday, and before I could take my camera, it flew off! Wondering if there's any eggs in the nest!

Probably there's no eggs in there yet, as I have not seen the mother bird other than that one time yesterday. Maybe she's just getting the nest ready for her big moment! Will monitor the progress of this nest!

Happy Gardening !

Monday, May 26, 2014

Chinese Chives (Garlic Chives)

Have you ever tried growing chives before? I grew my potted chives from seeds and I started off with a packet of seeds which I bought off the rack from the supermarket. The amount of seeds from each packet is not much. And I have been buying and adding seeds to the same pot every now and then, because I want ed the pot to be full of chive plants!  Most of the seeds sprouted young seedlings, but only about a quarter grew to mature plants. So I kept adding more seeds from time to time.

This pot of Chinese Chives, also known as Garlic Chives, started with a packet of seeds back in 2010, which I have posted here, they are about 3-1/2 years old. I have since then added more seeds to the pot and though most of the seeds sprouted tiny seedlings, only about a quarter of them grow into mature plants. Though it is not much, but it is enough to make a plate of delicious omelette, for garnishes and I sometimes used it in fried noodles as well. 

I have harvested the leaves many, many times over the years.

My second pot of chives, which I sowed from seeds about 6 months ago. I had better luck with the seeds this time round.  I have sowed two packets of seeds for this pot, and most of them have germinated into seedlings. They young plants are doing well right now.

And I have scattered more seeds in between about a week ago, and the small seedlings are already beginning to appear.

Did you know that chives plants can last for years and years? I have read from somewhere, (unfortunately could not remember the source), that these plants can live up to 30 years if they are well taken care off. I believe so, as my mother-in-law has a bunch of chives in her garden, which she has planted from seeds more than 10 years ago, and her plants are doing great.

From my observation on growing chives :
  1. Sow the seeds directly into the pot or container as the young seedlings are really fragile and difficult to transplant.
  2. When the seeds have sprouted tiny little seedlings, keep them away from direct sunlight, our hot weather here with the blazing sun, can be very cruel to the little seedlings, they will wilt and die from the scorching heat, I know! I placed the seedlings in the morning sun, and move them to partial shaded area around mid-afternoon, when the weather is extremely hot. And if it rains, remember to put them under shelter, away from the rain! 
  3. Keep the soil moist but not overly wet, and make sure the soil do not dry out.
  4. When the plants have established, you may place the pot under the sun in its permanent spot, remember to water the daily so that the soil does not dry out.
  5. Once the plants have mature, ready to be harvested, cut about 3" to 4" from the the base, the stems will soon grow more leaves real quick. Harvest the chives to encourage more leaves to grow. If you are not ready to harvest the leaves as yet, trim off any yellowing leaves so that new ones will grow, otherwise it will affect the rest of the leaves into turning yellow as well.
  6. The plants do not need to be fertilized very often. I used organic fertilizer every few months or so.
  7. So far, my chives plants are practically pest free! I do not have any problem at all with the plants being infested by bugs or pests. I'm lucky so far, I guess!

Sometimes the chives that we bought from the market has the flower buds on the tips of the leaves, but have you seen the full bloom of the flowers before? Well, here are some pictures, taken from my little pot of chives.
The flower stalk of the chives will grow much taller than the rest of the leaves, it really stands out in height.

The cluster of flowers are beginning to show itself.

The full bloom of one tiny flower

More blooms.

Six tiny petals to a flower, so tiny, yet so pretty!

I've read that the flowers of the chives are rich with nectar, that explains the little black bees that have been swarming around the chive plants this week. 

Beautiful little flowers, aren't they? Interesting to see the formation of seeds from the flowers. Notice the triangle green seed pods, am waiting for it to dry and hoping to collect some seeds, at the moment there are a few stalks with flowers. 

I'm linking this post to Garden Tuesday @ Sidewalk Shoes

Happy Gardening !