Thursday, December 29, 2011

My harvest in December

My garden front is not looking good at all. Too much rain has rotted some of my plants and the most happy garden pests at the moment are the slugs! Each time when it is the rainy season, I can find them hiding in between the pots and up on my plants. I found their hiding spot inside an upturned pot. There are about a dozen garden snails, from baby snails to adult snails resting in it!

The only harvest that I had this month are the ever loyal Malabar Spinach, Belimbing Fruits, Spring Onions, Chives and one Bitter Gourd Melon. The most happy veggie that has been thriving well in the rain is the Malabar Spinach. 

I planted 6 seedlings of the Red Capsicum, one is surviving and the other 5 are eaten by the snails. My brocolli seedlings have not escaped the snails either! The other 5 seedlings of the okra seems to be doing well. More snails are having a jolly good time over at my back garden too, seems to be having a party with the grasshoppers! While the snails are enjoying the leaves from my Bitter Gourd Plant, I caught two big grasshoppers, that has been eating my beautiful big, green and healthy Tumeric Leaves. Now the leaves are filled with holes!

Malabar Spinach
 Malabar Spinach grown in styrofoam container

Harvest the leaves 

Stir fry, topped with fried garlic for dinner. The leaves are sweet and tender.


Bitter Gourd
This melon wasn't yellow when I checked it two days before! Did not look at it until two days later, when I saw from my window that it has begun to ripen! Harvest it and since it is not very big, used it in omelete.  Surprisingly, it is not bitter at all, I think that with too much water from the constant rain,  must have affected the taste of the melon. 


 Lots of fruits, have been harvesting it almost every week!

The fruits are especially bigger with the constant rain.

Brownie has moved! His owner has moved and taken him along about two weeks ago, kinda miss not seeing him around! Hope he is happy in his new place!


I would like to wish everyone  


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Sweet Basil, From Garden to Table, And Starting Over

I love the wonderful smell of fresh basil leaves. My basil plants was really lush and healthy a couple of months back. I have not been taking care of my garden for the past two months and my plants are not very happy! I should have cut and pruned off the stems when it starts to flower to encourage more growth but well, that did not happen.

My basil plant in September  : )

In November...  : (

I removed the whole plant as the stems and branches are not healthy. Harvested all the leaves, what did I do with all the leaves? ....

Made a jar of delicious Basil Pesto. It was my first attempt at  making this sauce and definitely won't be the last. I love it. Have you tried Basil Pesto before? It really is delicious and healthy. If you want to give it a try, the recipe is over at my kitchen, click here. What to do with this sauce? You can pour it over your cooked spaghetti, made some bread with it, cooked it with chicken, use it in salad, etc... ! How did I use my jar of Basil Pesto? ....

I made a delicious Pesto Pizza with a delightful crispy crust. If you are a pizza lover, you must certainly try this. For the recipe, click here.

I have a few basil seedlings in my potted garden, which hopefully will grow healthy with lush green leaves. I have finished my jar of pesto, and eagerly waiting for my basil plant to grow, for my next jar. 

Happy Gardening !

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Another Visitor!

It has been two months since my last post! How can that be? Time passes by real fast especially when one is busy and occupied with various tasks. Though I have kept my cooking blog active, it has been on the slow pace over at my garden. Sad to say, I have neglected my potted garden and it really, really shows. On top of that, the rainy weather is not making it any better! Most of my veggie plants have died, and the pots have been left idle for the past two months. The only plants that seems to be growing well with continuous supply are the Spring Onions and Malabar Spinach! Well, I've got a lot of work to do now! 

I had a visitor, two months ago actually. It was a dog, and a smart one at that!

Found this cute dog, he belongs to one of my neighbours, did not know it's name, I shall just call him "Brownie", since he IS brown! He was resting at my back garden one morning. How come he's over there? His owner must have left him over at their backyard. There is no way out for him except through the front door, and in order to do that he must go through the kitchen door, right into the house and out the front door. Both sides of  our backyard lane are gated and no way this dog can get through the grill. So obviously, his owner wants him behind at the backyard. He is usually being let out loose over the frontyard, but not that day. 
No idea why, but I just grabbed my camera and took a picture of him, maybe he looks cute!

A few moments later, I was at my kitchen sink, which is next to the grill of my kitchen entrance. Brownie suddenly showed up at the grill, with his two front paws up and was looking at me whining... well obviously, he wanted to go outside to the front of the house.

I told him, "Sorry Brownie, obviously your owner wants you behind, not outside! Go home and whine at your owner's kitchen door, but wait, let me take a picture of you first!" Hahaha!   He went away for a few minutes and came back again, whining! My guess is, my door was the only one opened at that time, and he already knows me, as sometimes I gave him some food to eat. He went away again after a couple of times.

He walked away....

and decided to rest after all the whining!

Some ten minutes later, I was at my backyard clearing my messy backyard. I found a dead cat already decaying in between my pots at my backyard a few days earlier! It was really stinky and I had to close my kitchen door and windows for three whole days until the smell disappeared. My hubby had to do the dirty job of disposing the dead cat. No idea whose cat that was, it was beyond recognition, just a mass of grey fur and maggots! All the pots was placed to a corner when my hubby cleared the dead cat. So I was busy clearing my pots, and did not notice that Brownie had already went into my kitchen, as the door was wide open. I heard a whining sound and saw him standing in my kitchen, looking at me!

I, of course immediately went to him, he then went into my house, right to the front door, me following him from behind! He could not get out as it was locked. Look at him! How he wanted so much to go out, he turned to look at me, as though asking me to open the door for him! And I did! Out into my porch he went, and there's another gate! He stopped and looked at me again! I opened the latch and he ran off, happy!

Now that is one smart dog! I heard that Brownie's owner may be moving away soon, so I guess I won't be seeing him around when they do move! Meanwhile, I still see him around, and he would come near sometimes when he sees us, and sometimes even takes his afternoon nap next to my car!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Radish and Some Harvest

I do not have much success with radish except for this. I almost threw away the seedling initially as it was not growing at all for many months. I then replanted it again in the same container but move it to a different spot and it suddenly started to grow real quick! Guess it wasn't happy with its previous spot! 

Harvested it today and that spot is taken by another radish seedling.  :)  Hopefully the new seedling will grow as well as this one!



My garlic greens! After my initial success with growing garlic greens a couple of months ago, I tried it again, and I'm happy that these are growing well too. My main purpose is for the greens, not the garlic. But when I pulled out a plant a few weeks ago, I was surprised to see a rounded garlic bulb already forming. So I planted it right back and thought it would be interesting to let it grow, just for the garlic. I do not have any experience in growing garlic and when is the right time to harvest. Diana is kind enough to advice me that it would take about 6-8 months to harvest, and when the leaves are turning yellow, it is a sign that it is ready to be harvested. Thank you, Diana, much appreciated. Am waiting very patiently now! (err... actually, very impatiently!)  : o)

Spotted a dill seedling in the pot of garlic.


Harvest, same old veggies!

 Malabar spinach, these grow really fast!

More Belimbing fruits! Cook these in Asam Pedas Ikan Pari with Daun Kesum, heavenly delicious! Gave some belimbing fruits away to the makcik selling nasi lemak.  She was so happy! 

Ladies fingers! The last batch. I left the rest to dry on the plant to collect the seeds. Sowed some new seeds today. Looking forward to see them sprout!

Happy Gardening!

Friday, September 9, 2011

How I Plant Sprouted Onions

Spring Onions (Scallions)

My organic home-grown Spring Onions

I have received a few emails asking me about how I planted the Spring Onions, what is my 'secret' that they grow so fat and healthy! I was really surprised to see that my Spring Onions have sparked quite an interest. So I have done up a tutorial (if you could it that! haha!). 

Spring Onions  (Scallions)  is one of my favourite veggie which I use constantly in my kitchen. Really good as a garnish for soups, porridge, stir-fries and even in curries. Due to my constant usage of this veggie, I always plant my own. Before I discovered the speedy way to make them grow, I used to plant the whole bulb of onion or shallots directly into the pot or container, but most of the time, the success rate in sprouting is not even 70%. Sometimes only 50%, with the rest rotted in the soil, even when I used sprouted bulbs from my kitchen basket. Even research from the web does not give any detailed info, other than the ones which we already knew, that is, by planting either by seeds or by placing the bulbs directly in the planting spot.

So I tested with the following method (refer below) and to my surprise and delight, the sprouted bulbs have at least 90%, most of the time 100% success of growing into healthy plants with big lovely green leaves, which can be harvested within three weeks. 

I'm going to share with you, step-by-step of  how I planted the sprouted onions, my way.

First, get some sprouted onions from the market or supermarket. I usually buy these from Tesco, nobody will buy these sprouted ones, if you see a lady choosing the sprouted onions, most likely it will be me!! :)

This onion is perfect, the sprouts are just beginning to grow, the onion looks good, without any rotting or soft spots. Firm and nice.

The roots at the bottom are compact and dried, there's some new roots that can be seen growing. Sometimes  the new roots can't be seen from the outside,  they are hiding in between the onion layers. 

Peel off the dried skin 

Peel off the next layer or two. The fresh roots are inside. Depending on the onion, you may need to peel off about 2 to 4 layers, especially if the layers are showing signs of rotting and are not healthy. Just peel them off until you can see that the bulb is firm and nice.

More of the fresh roots are now exposed. See the fresh roots all around the bottom top of the onion, on top of the dried roots.

This is another onion, where the roots can already be seen right under the dried skin. All the better!

Peel off the dried skin to reveal the long fresh roots.

I would usually cut off the clump of dried roots at the bottom to make way for the fresh roots to grow. 

These are the good layers of onions that have been peeled off from all the onions. Do not throw them away. They are sweet and can be used for cooking. Great for omelette, pasta and fried rice. You can use these when you blend your paste for sambal, asam pedas or just about anything. 

The onions that have been peeled and about to go to the garden pot.

Just give them a quick rinse so they are nice and clean.

Mix some organic fertilizer in the soil and plant the onions, with the sprouts up. Place the pot where they can get full sun, and do not let the soil dried up. They will be most happy in lightly damp soil, under full sun . Water once a day, and on extremely hot weather when the soil is dry, water twice a day. Well that's it... wait for a week... 

.... these are exactly one week later. Water them on the base of the plant, that is on the soil. Try to avoid watering them with force over the leaves, as they might snap and bend, and would not look nice. They would still grow, but they would not look 'pretty'.!

.... two and a half weeks later. All the bulbs are growing great! Look at the bended leaves, blame it on the rain!

Harvested some spring onions yesterday morning. This batch is from another pot which I planted two weeks earlier than the one above.  Just harvest how much you need, leave the rest until you need them. You may harvest only the green part by cutting the leaves about 3 inches from the bulb. The leaves will grow again. But I prefer to pull out the whole plant and start over, as the leaves that grow the second time round are usually not as big. Besides, I love using the white part of the onions, really fragrant. 

Goes into my fried beehoon (rice vermicelli) for our lunch. 

I hope the above is a useful guide. It is my method of how I plant my Spring Onions and it works for me, each time. I enjoy harvesting the spring onions right from my garden, it makes me happy, having fresh organic homegrown veggie for my cooking pot. If you are trying this out, please let me know how it works for you, I would love to know. Happy Gardening!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Some harvest!

Weather has been extremely hot this past week. Other than frequent watering of the plants, did not do much gardening lately. Some of my harvest the past week :

Kangkung. The last batch. I'm using the containers for carrots, radish and sweet peas. Due to lack of space, I need to rotate my plants. Hopefully the new plants will grow well, as I do not have much luck with carrots at all! Keeping my fingers crossed! 


My 2nd harvest of Malabar spinach


Sweet Basil

Harvested the leaves for a pasta dish.


Belimbing, the first fruits after I pruned the tree about 8 months ago.

These belimbing goes into my sambal tumis ikan bilis with hard-boiled eggs.