Sunday, February 27, 2011

Monday, February 21, 2011

Old Ye Faithful!

My faithful old belimbing tree, has never fails me! I cut off the top of the tree as it was getting too big and less than two months later, lush branches has grown. And that is not all, it has continue to flower, and I thought that it will only flower perhaps six to eight months later!

Such a pretty sigh! So happy to see the lush green leaves!

Flowers growing at the top of the stump!

Flowers growing at the bottom, close to the ground, and some fruits too!  That's not all, there are more flowers all over! Amazing, isn't it! Looks like since it has less branches and leaves to nurture, all the nutrients goes into growing more flowers, which is great!

My chives! Finally look more like chives instead of weeds of grass! These are extremely, extremely slow! Guess how old are these? They are seven months old! I'm gonna harvest them soon and use the pot for something else, as I think that these are a waste of space and time. Look at the 'bountiful' yield! Just enough for my omelette! The next time I'll look for clumps of established chives to plant instead of from seeds, which seems to take forever.

Komatsuna, seeds courtesy from Diana, Kebun Malay-Kadazan girls. Thank you Diana!

The seeds of komatsuna

Yam! This is only about 2 months old. They will be ready to be harvested at around 10 months, it will be a long wait! Hope that it will continue to grow healthily!

Happy Gardening !

Monday, February 14, 2011

Beware Of the White Beetle!

My curry leaf plant has been infested by this uncommon leaf beetle, for the second time. The first time when it happened,  I did not  recognise this insect or bug, all I know is, the larva is really, really disgusting! I did a search from the web and almost all the info on the web states that curry leaf plant is practically pest-free as most pests do not like the rather strong smell of the leaves! Upon further search from the web, I've found out the name of this pest is Tortoise Beetle.

Excerpt from What's That Bug in reply to a query by someone in Malaysia who found this bug on her curry leaf plant too :

This is the larva of a Leaf Beetle in the family Chrysomelidae, possibly a Tortoise Beetle.  Providing the name of the food plant, curry, should make the identification easier.  We found a Local Beetles’ Battles page of the Asian Entomology Collection and Studies website, that pictures a Tortoise Beetle, Aspidomorpha deusta, and the quote:
“IN 1994, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia entomologist Prof Mohamed S. Mohamedsaid noticed strange white beetles on curry leaf plants. Careful study revealed that the beetles came from a genus restricted to Sri Lanka where it is represented by one species, Silana farinosa, commonly known as the tortoise beetle.
‘The occurrence of Silana farinosa feeding on curry leaves in Malaysia is probably a very recent introduction. It has never been reported before in the country,’ he says.
‘Aspidomorpha deusta’ is a common tortoise beetle east of Java. This foreign species was found on a beach off Kapar, Selangor. –
‘It’s very unlikely that its presence would have gone unnoticed, for the host plant is also an important crop,’  he explains, adding that the leaves of the plant are an essential ingredient in Malaysian cooking, especially curries.
The taxonomist, who works with UKM’s Centre for Insect Systematics, reckons the creatures might have been feeding on dry curry leaves when they were unwittingly packed into someone’s luggage and brought into Malaysia from Sri Lanka.
‘They are real pests as these popular plants are endangered by them,’  he says, adding that the curry leaf plant had never before been attacked by insects as it emits a powerful smell.
More recently, another species of foreign tortoise beetle was found on our shores.
‘In all my years of studying beetles, which included combing the beaches of Malaysia for tortoise beetles, I have never encountered a specimen belonging to the species collected in March last year,’ he says.
According to Prof Mohamed, Aspidomorpha deusta is common from Java eastwards to Papua New Guinea and Australia.

We then found photos of larval Silana farinosa on the photomalaysia website, and they appear to match your photos.

This is the Tortoise Beetle

The larva are usually found at the underside of the leaves.

This is only from one stalk of leaves, more than half of my plant has been infested.

They are extremely yucky! Just by looking at them, gave me goose bumps! I have never seen any yucky larva like this before!  The only way to get rid of them is by removing them manually, this was the information I got from one of the sites which I read when I was browsing for the information months ago. I've even printed out the article but I lost it somehow.  Remove them manually? I shudder just looking at them! So I cover the whole top with a plastic bag and just cut the stem off, since the plant has already been infested rather badly! When the plant was infested previously, I did try to get rid of them by spraying with organic spray and even homemade ones, but without any success at all.  

Cut the whole top away

After about a week, new shoots have started to grow. When it happened the first time, I was careful and always on the lookout for this beetle. There was one of two every now and then, but I always managed to get rid of the matured beetle before they started to breed. But then, due to my  lack of attention after that, by the time I checked, I was too late! The plant has been infested by these yurky larva again. And my poor plant has got to be 'chopped off' again!

 Photo taken this morning, about a week from the above photo.

Look at what I've found under one new leaf this morning!

Have you seen this white beetle before? This is one beetle that you would not want for your garden! Remember, get rid of them before their larva destroy your plants!

Happy Gardening !

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Harvest Spring Onions, The Express Way!

Spring onions are my favourite! I constantly use it for garnishing, stir-fry in meat, chicken and fish dishes, stir-fry noodles and in instant noodles too! There's always a bunch of spring onions in my fridge.  Look at the lovely green, these are from my potted garden.

I bought these already sprouted onions from TESCO. When the next time you go to TESCO or any other supermarkets, make sure to visit their corner "REDUCED - TO CLEAR" section, they would usually clear the leftover veggies which are not that fresh anymore by reducing the price. What I look for are the onions! Found a packet of big onions already sprouted for only RM1.94 per packet! What a bargain. Took these home, clean them and goes into my pot, not my cooking pot, but in my garden pot!

Most of the onions already have two or three bulbs joined together as one big onion. All the better!

Peel off the outer layer, wash and clean them and I got two spring onions "seedlings" from each onion. Yeah~!

Into my containers they go, already thinking about my menu when they are ready to be harvested!

Two weeks later, see how much they have grown!

Harvested these on 1st Feb, from 2 bunches, gave these to a friend. 

 Harvested these on 9/02, from three bunches

After three weeks from date of planting, full grown, fresh, beautiful greens are ready to be harvested! Half of these goes into the fried noodles for the kids' lunch and the other half will be for my prawn dish tomorrow.  There are still a few bunches left which I will harvest soon.

I'm off to TESCO again!

Happy Gardening !

Monday, February 7, 2011

A Welcoming Surprise

I'm back from my Chinese New Year holidays, and am pleasantly surprised to see that my sawtooth coriander has started to flower! I did a post on sawtooth coriander just before the holidays, on 27th January and there was no sign of the flowers at that time, and yes, I did look and look, and was actually very disappointed that there was no sign of any flowers. So this a wonderful surprise!

Wonder how many flowers will it grow? Dozens I hope! Really looking forward to save more seeds, to share!

My tarragon has sprouted new leaves! I'm so relieved! Let's just hope that it will grow healthy, keeping my fingers crossed. The ones which I propagate from the cuttings doesn't look good. There's no sign of any new leaves, they just look like dead twigs, and I dare not touch them as I'm afraid that I might disturb the new roots, if there are any! Will wait for another week and see.  I have not sowed the seeds yet! Hope to do that these few days as I'm extremely busy with household duties after back from the holidays. 

The miracle of nature. With healthy roots and the will to survive, nothing can stop them!

This really brings a smile to me! 

Happy Gardening !