Sunday, January 30, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award & Gong Xi Fa Cai Greetings

Miz Helen of Miz Helen's Country Cottage has graciously extended the Stylish Blogger Award to My Little Potted Garden. 

In accepting this award, the following applies:

  1. Post linking back to the person that gave you the award.
  2. Share 7 random things about yourself.
  3. Award 15 recently discovered bloggers
  4. Drop them a note, and tell them about it!

Thank you, Miz Helen, for extending this lovely award to My Little Potted Garden. I'm really honoured that you enjoyed visiting my little tiny garden! Miz Helen is really charming, she has that motherly quality and can be seen as soon as you step into her site. She's a very talented cook, take a look at her scrumptious meals and wonderful desserts and treats, you would know what I mean. Miz Helen is a keen gardener too, she has a lovely garden which rewards her with home-grown veggies for her cooking pot! Please do visit Miz Helen's Country Cottage and read her posts on The Garden Gate. I especially love her post on The Garden Journal. Thank you, Miz Helen!

Seven things about myself !
  1. I love spicy food, the spicier the yummier! I eat chili almost everyday, either in a spicy dish or as an accompaniment!
  2. I failed miserably at growing my own chili plants! They never survived after the first flowers! Perhaps they saw a 'hungry chili eater' who is always "staring" at them, and that gave them a scare! But I'm still trying!  
  3. I have always been interested to grow my own herb plants, mainly to be used in my own cooking pot.  I am planning to add on the varieties of herb plants that I have at the moment, this may take a while, but I'm not in a rush, will do it one at a time. Planning is the most important key factor to me. Got to do lots of reading up on these plants first.
  4. I'm really frustrated at not being able to successfully grow my own tomatoes. Well, I did once, with only one fruit, that does not count at all! Still trying, I have a new batch of cherry tomatoes seedlings now, keeping my fingers crossed for this! Wish me luck! (I need lots of it!)
  5. Love to visit all your gardens! Love to see all the veggies and blooms, some I have not seen before!
  6. I'm still waiting for Book 4 on the Eragon series, though, by the time when they do publish it, I've got to start all over from Book 1! Memory is not as good as it used to be! Signs of getting old? Nah.......!
  7. Wishing for a bigger garden with grounds! 

I am honoured to extend this Stylish Blogger Award to these following fantastic blogs, at random order :


I would like to wish all my Chinese gardening pals, family and readers,  


Chinese New Year comments

May this year of the RABBIT brings you good health, great happiness,  wonderful love, joyful laughter,  sweet contentment, lots, lots, lots of prosperity, and all the good things that life can offer! 

Will be away for a week, see you when I get back!


Saturday, January 29, 2011


Tarragon is another herb plant that I bought from Sg. Buloh in August, the same batch with the dill. I did a search from the web, and found out that this variety is the French Tarragon.

These are some interesting facts about tarragon from the web :

"Also known as Artemisia dracunculus, tarragon is a perennial herb and the leaves are used for seasoning, especially vinegar.

Tarragon grows to two or three feet tall and likes moderate sun, preferring a little shade during the warmest part of the day. It grows well in a rich loamy soil that holds moisture, but drains well. Mulching is beneficial to this end.

Tarragon is unique in that during growth, it seems to have little aroma, yet after the leaves or tops are harvested, the oils concentrate and start emitting their unique tarragon sweet smell, similar to freshly cut hay.

Tarragon propagates best through root division, planting the divisions at least 18 inches apart. Since tarragon has a shallow root system, care must be taken not to damage the roots when weeding, and special care must be shown during the winter after transplanting, as the root systems will not have developed fully.

Tarragon is used in vegetable dishes and soups, mild cheeses, egg dishes, fish and white sauces."

The plant started to flower in November, and this interesting info from the web states that there are approx 6000 seeds for each gram of dried seeds! Can you believe it! 

It grows very well during the first few months and even harvested some leaves for my dinner!

These are the leaves which I "harvest" from the plant for a baked chicken, see photo below, 


 Unfortunately, the plant starts to show signs of wilting after it started to flower, 

The flowers of a tarragon plant, yellow in colour and really small

Are these seeds? Further research from the web states that "French tarragon can only be grown from root or stem cuttings, or by dividing an already established plant. Even if your French tarragon blooms, the chance of it actually setting seeds is virtually nil."

 That's all the "seeds" collected

I'm not sure whether I did it right. The flowers are still visible although it is dried. It is extremely small, so it is very difficult to see. These may not be the seeds after all. They may just be the dried flowers! The only way to find out is to sow the "seeds" and wait for them to germinate! 

This is what's left, I pruned the branches, hoping that it will grow new leaves! I propagate some of the stems when I pruned the plant and keeping my fingers crossed that they will root. If all these three methods fails, then I guess, I just have to pay a visit to Sg. Buloh again!

Does anyone knows about the seeds of tarragon? Would appreciate for more details on this. Funny thing is, a search from the web for a picture of the seeds are fruitless. 

There are much for me to learn about growing Tarragon!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sawtooth Coriander Seeds

It has been almost five months since my last post on sawtooth coriander in September. It has grown quite huge and many young seedlings have appeared by the sides of the pot. The seeds was harvested in December, they are really tiny!

The photos above were taken in September when it started to flower. The flower does not look like a flower! They look more like a cluster of leaves grown together to form a flower-like pattern and in the centre are the seeds which look like the green version of conifer seeds!

This photo below was taken a few weeks before I harvested the seeds. You can see from this photo, the flowers has multiplied, when I counted it was more than 50. And the flowers are spread out to a few 'tiers' from one single stem.  It gets too heavy and taking up space, and they are rather spikey, so I cut off the flower stem at the bottom as soon as it is shows signs of drying. 

This plant can be really big, see how one plant spreads out and occupies the space of the pot.

Many young seedlings growing at the sides of the pot.

The dried seeds.

The seeds are extremely small. (They look like small little bugs, don't they?)  From the 50 over flowers, the seeds collected are only about 1 teaspoon! But imagine if the sowing of these seeds is 100% success, then, that will a big number of plants!

So far, there has been no signs of any flowers from the rest of the sawtooth corianders! I'm really hoping that they will flower soon, as there would be more seeds to share.  I'm liking this to "Seed Week" over at Kebun Malay-Kadazan girls.

Happy Gardening !

Monday, January 24, 2011

Dill Seeds

About 3 months back, I have done a post on dill, here. These are the photos which I have posted earlier in that post. To summarize, I bought this dill plant from Sg. Buloh, along with several other herb plants. My dill plant has since wilted. The flowers are really very beautiful. Grown in clusters of umbels, with tiny yellow flowers. When I did a search from the web, found out that dill is an annual herb with a short life span. How short is short? I've got no idea!

These are the seeds which I've collected. I tried sowing them once but did not germinate. Soon after that, I found some young seedlings among few of my pots! They must have self seeded as the pots are placed around the pot of dill. 

 Found this young seedling and ....

another one.... 

another one growing among my corianders. Got to replant this in another pot soon.

Hopefully my dill plants will grow healthily and provide me with more seeds to share. I'm really looking forward to save other seeds, but my experience in seed-saving is still very new and there are many things that I'm not sure. Apart from the seeds, the leaves are usually picked when mature and dried and then stored for uses in the kitchen. Do leaves already dried on the plants serve the same purpose? I saved the dried leaves from my dill plant before disposing of the plant when it wilted. The smell of the leaves are still wonderful. Any advise from anyone regarding this? Any difference between the leaves that were picked and then dried, and the leaves already dried naturally on the plants?

The only other seeds that I have saved are from my sawtooth coriander. There will be another post on this.

I'm linking this post to "Seed Week" over at Kebun Malay-Kadazan Girls, a fabulous blog about home-grown veggies and blooms, really a pleasure to read and an inspiration for "green-horn" like me!

Happy Gardening !

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Four-Legged Garden Pest! Caught Ya!

Cats generally are very cute, adorable and extremely "free-running". You may own a cat, and in the case of my neighbour, seven cats!, Cats can never be locked up in the house the whole day and expected to stay indoors without ever venturing anywhere they so desire! Except, of course, if you keep them lock up in a cage and of course, it is not a right thing to do! They come and go as they pleases! 

Look at these little kittens. There are actually four of them. An orange one is not in the picture. Aren't they cute? Do not let their cute faces gets to you, they are really a nuisance to my garden! I do like cats, when I was young, our family had a cat, a dog, a guinea pig, 2 ducks and a chicken as our pets! 

Three older cats, relaxing at the back of the owner's house.

One of the kitten, hiding behind the pot of curry leaf plant when it saw me. Guess what he did before that ..... 

It overturned my pot when it tried to climb onto it! This pot is half full, so it is not very heavy! It's okay, little one, there's another pot or two for you.... take your pick! 

Wanted to go into my pot of chives, I caught him sleeping on my chives one afternoon! I then poked all around the pot with 'satay sticks'. He did put a paw in, intended to go into the pot, look around at the sticks, put a tip of the chive into his mouth, and changes his mind....

well, this looks like a nice spot to sunbathe! Into my pot of curry plant he lies! ...... 

But not for long, decided to get away from this human creature who is staring at him, clicking away with some black instrument! But that chives is really tempting, couldn't help it,  push one down and sniff... got to go... that human creature is after me!

My new kangkung seedlings! One of the cats dug a hole and I guess you know why! It "poo-ed" and of course, the flies had a party! I sprayed with water-based aerosol and later, scoop it up to dispose of it, and guess what, little crawly maggots are underneath! Yucks! Yucks! Yucks!  Sprayed again, and a few hours later, did the dirty job of disposing it off. Sprayed one more time, left the pot in the sun for two whole days, covered with some bamboo sticks, just in case the little cuties thought this is their private potty pot! Threw the kangkung away, that was one whole packet of seeds! 

There's more ....

I have two little yam seedlings planted on the ground. One of it was dug out and guess what they did again? The flies had another party!

My french beans plant which was growing well, wilted within a day. Upon inspection, I noticed that the bottom stem has been snapped in two! How could this be? I then remembered that the day before, I saw the kittens was climbing on my belimbing tree, when they jumped down from the tree, they landed near my french beans, but I thought nothing of this! They must have snapped the stems when they landed!

They love my kitchen too! A piece of mackerel fish gone missing, a packet of unopened anchovies bought from the morning market mysteriously has traces of holes and tear marks on the plastic with some anchovies sticking out.  A large piece of promfret (luckily it was still in the packet) was found on the floor at my kitchen door, because the packet was too big to go through the holes at the grill.
The last straw was when I took some meat from the freezer, put that packet in a bowl filled with water to defrost, close it with the food cover, and went outside to hang out my laundry. When I came into the kitchen, guess what I found, a wet kitchen floor, the bowl and cover in one corner, but the packet of meat still intact on the floor. They did not manage to take that away in time! Saw the culprit outside, it was a stray cat!

Because of these cats, do I have to close my kitchen door all the time? I like bright sunny kitchen with nice ventilation! I should really buy some wire mesh to protect my pots, and send the bills to the owner! I had a 'chit-chat' with their owner, who says that she doesn't have the time to care for so many cats and intend to send the kittens either to the SPCA or to give away to some friends, keeping only the older ones. I told her what her cats did, I know that she is not to be blamed for what her cats did, but as the owner, she is responsible. She laughingly told me to buy a cat spray (what is that?), supposedly to keep cats away if sprayed at that particular area!  Maybe I should and pass the bill over to her! Well, I did told her that I will shoo them away with water and elastic sling! Guess what? I have her blessings!
Not to worry, I won't use the elastic sling, I'm not that cruel, maybe extremely mad, but not one to hurt any pets! Besides, I don't own any elastic sling!

I have a gun in my kitchen now! My son's toy water gun has some good uses after all!

And yes, my neighbour and I, we are still friends!

Happy Gardening !

Friday, January 14, 2011

Of Cherries and Berries!

The last two weeks has been very busy, clearing my potted garden. Most of my plants are not growing well, have to get rid of them and start anew.  My belimbing tree has not been spared too. It has gone from lush to 'botak'! Not to worry, it will grow soon enough, maybe  in six months time, it will be lush again with new branches and leaves. It is getting too high, almost touching the telephone cable lines at the top, and also almost touching my neighbour's roof!  

This tree has given me lots of belimbing fruits these few months! The grounds were covered with fallen fruits, when I came back from my short holiday.  Harvested all of the fruits last week and gave away to several people. The makcik selling nasi lemak in the market was very happy! 

These are all that's left! Picture was taken this morning. This little bunch is enough for my sambal tumis. Got to wait for at least 8 to 10 months for next batch of fruits!


Went to Sg. Buloh two weeks ago, and bought a few plants. If you have read my post on Acerola Cherry, you might remember that I cut some stems from a tree in Ipoh and took them back to propagate. The roots did not sprout. Well, I bought a small plant from Sg. Buloh and it only cost RM5.00!! I have no idea it is that cheap!

There are even a few cherries on the plant, but they are all green. Now one has ripen.

The flower of acerola

Beautiful, striking ripe red acerola cherry. I'm waiting for it to turn a slightly darker red, which will taste sweeter!

Waiting patiently for it to ripen!

Spotted some new flowers today! Not many, but quite a few scattered here and there! I was thinking that I should have bought 2 or 3 plants instead! Maybe on my next visit ...


This is another plant which I bought from Sg. Buloh. The miracle berry plant. Bangchik from My Little Vegetable Garden has mentioned about this berry in his blog.  I bought this for RM8.00. According to the seller from the nursery, there has been quite a huge demand for this plant. 

Interesting info on miracle berry, excerpt taken from :

Miracle Fruit (Synsepalum dulcificum), sometimes known as the Miracle Berry, is a plant native to West Africa. The berry has a mildly sweet flavor; however, the fruit is treasured not for its own taste, but for the fruit’s unique effect on the taste buds.
Miracle Fruit contains a glycoprotein called miraculin, which binds to the tongue’s taste buds when the fruit is consumed. Miraculin acts as a sweetness inducer when it comes in contact with acids, causing bitter and sour foods to taste sweet, temporarily. This effect usually lasts between 30 minutes and 2 hours.

Miracle Fruit is available in three forms: The actual berries (which are usually frozen due to their high perishability), freeze-dried fruit granules, and miracle fruit tablets.

Experiencing Miracle Fruit
  • Berries : Put one berry in your mouth and gently scrape the fleshy part off the seed. Swirl this around your mouth for 2 minutes before swallowing.
  • Freeze-Dried Granules : Place approximately 1 gram of the granules in your mouth and let them slowly dissolve on and around your tongue. Wait at least one minute before swallowing.
  • Tablets : Place one tablet in your mouth and gently swirl it around with your tongue until dissolved.
Once you have consumed your Miracle Fruit, the tasting can begin!

Miracle Berry is suitable for growing in a pot! This is great, seeing that I do not have ground space! Waiting patiently (well, almost!) for it to flower. According to the info from the web, it will start to flower when it reaches 1-1/2 feet in height and will start to fruit when it reaches 2 feet. This is a great plant to have in the garden, as this is recommended to be grown in a pot. I should have bought one more! Have to wait for next visit to Sg. Buloh!  Are you planning to get one (or two) for your garden?

Happy Gardening !