Friday, May 16, 2014

Home Grown Dragon Fruit

 The dragon fruit cactus like plant has been growing at the backyard since I was a teenager. But I have never had the opportunity to eat our own home grown dragon fruit. Not that it has not bear fruit. It just that I was never at home during harvest time. So very happy I was this week to have the opportunity to harvest and enjoy our own home grown dragon fruit. Dragon fruit plant in this tropical garden of ours does not require watering. They fare very well during the drought period with neglect and without any watering. What is important to this plant is they hate wet feet, so soil must be well-drained especially during wet season. Furthermore, a lot of sun is one of the important factor for this plant to thrive.  The long dry spell and the return of the wet showers has probably triggered the plant to bear fruits again.
 The dragon fruit flower buds are really huge like the size of a torch. When this variety of dragon fruit bloom produces white flower.
 The young unripe fruit is in green in colour before it changes to red when ripen. We have never bought a dragon fruit in our entire life because it is consider exotic and pricely.
 Cross-section of the harvested dragon fruit.
 You can just eat the tiny tiny black seeds cos it is not hard, like eating strawberries when you never thought that you eat the seeds as well. The flesh is soft but not that mushy feeling similar like papaya. There are still some on the plant ripening :) .

Have a lovely weekend.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Heirloom Edamame Fuuki 枝豆富貴

 One of the edamame (soybean) varieties that we have been growing repeatedly in our garden is 'Fuuki' (富貴).  Fuuki plants has white fur on its stems and bean pods as clearly seen in the first photo. Fuuki grows very easy in our tropical garden with not much attention given, love basking in full sun and relying on rain water only. They don't need to be watered everyday, they can thrive even 3 days without any shower from the rain. The seeds don't need much water to germinate, too much water only makes the seed rot. Don't soak the seeds in water overnight. Alternate days watering is already sufficient for germination with natural light. 
 Soybeen seedlings are more resistance to tiny critters compared to French bean or yard-long bean. I have grown several group of the edible beans closely together and observed that the pest will have a feast on the yard-long bean or French bean which left the other edible beans like soy bean and others safe. The Yard-long bean leaves are edible perhaps more palatable to the critters compared other. If you are growing your food organically, you can use the yard-long bean to be sacrifice so the other edible beans will be yours. Not to be confuse, the soy bean seedling example is circle with orange, the weed can be very persistent when the rain comes often. We need to cage them as not to be stampede by geese and ducks.
 The Fuuki edamame flower is white and shape like a smaller version of pea flower. They are cousins after all. Fuuki edamame grows very fast usually in a month or so, the plant has already started to produce flowers. It actually takes only about 60 days from sowing to harvest. Good and fun for beginners as they are easy to grow.
 The forming of the first batch of the bean pod. Don't worry it will still continuously produce flowers. Usually a single plants can produce at least 10 bean pods. But they only have a short life, less than 100days after all the pods produced mature, they will decline.
 By the time the first batch of bean pods has gone fatter enough with the seeds inside are visible I started to harvest them. Leaving the younger ones to continue growing and fully matured for seeds-saving. The kids like to eat them as snack just boil with a bit of salt and the tender beans inside the pod taste very healthy delicious. It is quite challenging to leave some for seeds as it is so tempting not to harvest them all. We only have enough to repeat the cycle again and again. Sometime not enough for consumption that we only have the chance to save some seeds if nature does not permit it. Growing soy bean is not that difficult, safer to eat when you know it is not a GMO seeds. 
Ferocious Fan of Edamame.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Aerides odorata

 I have been trying to write this post when the "Aerides odorata" on the biggest durian tree on our yard bloomed that has been in line "draft" post. I am feeling much better, lose a bit of weight (burn the baby fat), enjoying motherhood and watching the kids growing up. Still totally passionate and busy in the garden. How time flies, and I have not written any post this year yet. It has always been in my mind to fullfill my promise for showing this orchid to Sean when it bloom last February. Believe me , I have missed you all. Thank you so much for the sweet messages.
This orchid plant perked Sean interest when he visited end last year. It was not even forming a long flower stalk yet but Sean seems to sense what it is. 
 Kind of interesting to watch how the flower buds look like before it blooms. As you can see sometime I can't catch up with the garden and they do look unkempt with scattered dried leaves all over the garden.
 I was really surprised when this type of orchid bloom, The shape kind of remind me of Rhino or Elephant? How about you, what does it remind you off? This type of orchid is so fragrant you can smell them metres away. No need to sniff at them at close range. I really enjoyed hanging the washed wet launrdy every morning when the Aerides odorata was blooming. The scent is really nice greeting you each morning even 3~5 metres away.
 At first I did not know there was a plant of the same species of Aerides odorata on the Jujube tree on the frontyard until the plant also produce flower blooming almost simultaneously with the ones on the Durian tree.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Last Harvest Monday 2013

 Yesterday, I decided to do a last posting for Harvest Monday 2013 since it has been a while we joined in at Daphne's Dandelions. Usually it is raining on the afternoon here as we are in the Monsoon season. Therefore limited time to get a lot of the 'task to do' be ticked off on the list. We rarely get to take pictures of the harvest now as it has always been a rush or me harvesting while cooking dashing in and out from the kitchen to the kebun. Here is an overview of some goods that we were able to harvest yesterday. Malabar spinaches, winged bean, various long-yard beans, and lemons. We also have cotton bolls to harvest from the garden. Instead of using tissues we can used organic cotton bolls as wipers.
 Sapodilla (ciku), and canistel fruit trees are always so generous producing all year round. In the land below the wind, Sabah state, there are many fans of canistel fruit which makes the market price at the moment according to our mother surveys RM8.00 per-kilogram (If you are interested you are welcome to contact us, too many for our small family). Occasionally we get pamelo or guava fruits from the backyard. The tree that produce tangerine-like fruit which my mother sowed from seeds from her hometown has also started it fruiting season.
 The native fruit tree called nam nam (fruit looks like brain), also never stopped producing. Many first-timers told us that the ripe ones tasted a bit like pear when we shared some.
 The passion fruit are ripening on the tree. 
 November and December months are rambutan season every year in our place. This year most of the rambutan trees bear fruits a lot. We have more than 5 rambutan trees fruiting happily.
 Cempedak is also very generous this month. 'Cempedak' is a relative to jackfruit but a smaller version of it. People like to make cempedak fritters like banana fritters from the yellow flesh that covers the seeds, a popular tea snack.
 We also have some Pulasan fruits to enjoy (a squirrel left a mark on the pulasan fruit in above photo). Pulasan is a relative to 'Rambutan'. Can you notice the difference of the hairstyle between 'Pulasan' and 'Rambutan'. 'Rambut' in Malay Language is 'hair', while 'Pulas' in Malay Language is 'twist'.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas and King Tut in a Merry Mood

 Wishing that everyone is having a wonderful time creating beautiful memories with their love ones during this festive season from us here in Kebun Malay-Kadazan Girls/Boys. A beautiful memory was made in our kebun (garden) this week, it was the first time that King Tut sweet pea bestowed the first bloom for us in this tropical lowland garden of ours. Well, for beginners in spring colder region it is easy to grow sweet peas. However, not in this hot humid garden of us, very rare to get them survive and blooming unlike the Butterfly pea which grows out of control here. I was not planning of having a trial growing sweet pea this year with juggling a lot of priorities. However, I can't resist when I can get my hands on the legendary King Tut Pea (Lathyrus sativus) seeds due to my deep interest to any related with archaeology especially ancient civilisation. The fact/myth that this strain of sweet pea seeds is said to be found in Tutankhamun's pharoah tomb was enough to tantalize me to grow them. Of course I am still daydreaming of one day to step on the ground where once those pharoah spend their lives. Surprisingly our 4 and 6 years old boys showing much interest in Egypt ancient civilisation as well. It is really interesting to listen to their conversation interpreting the hieroglyphics, usually 4 years old Rayyan is the storyteller to his 6 years old brother. The mother receiving difficult question to think of an answer suitable for their age. The brothers are even trying to save money so they can visit Egypt as soon as possible by keeping all the money gifts from festive season given by their elder relatives. Then asking frequently to the mother, do we have enough now??? Dear boys, the land is so faraway compare to Adelaide.
I thought my eyes was playing trick on me when I suddenly saw a flower bud.
 The King Tut seeds germinate easily and fast in par with radish seeds germination rate which was unexpected because I just sow the seeds in the soil and did nothing. The nature did all the work. All I did was observe and learn. The first time I sowed the seeds in partial shade under the durian tree canopy on a raised bed. I have a hunched that the monsoon heavy downpour will not make the pea happy.  So I was kind of thought that the canopy will somehow protect the seedlings and the raised bed will be well-drained in this wet season because peas relative don't like wet feet that much. Well there was one week when the downpour was heavy and made the stems here and there broke under the heavy ran. Moreover, I suspect not enough light to satisfy King Tut on that location. Ok now is just to troubleshoot the 'light' aspect. So I decided the second attempt was to sow the seed close to a sunny location next to the arch brought back from Adelaide once upon a time happened to be the reliable trellis for sweet peas flowering profusely. The arch looks familiar right? The garden arch must have brought us luck with the sweet pea, the spirit is there. Actually it was growing with neglect I totally forgot about it until one fine day I was collecting cypress vine seeds on the other side of the garden arch, I finally noticed that the plant is actually still growing on the spot full of weeds.
  In colder region, the King Tut pea must have been bluer compare to warmer region. Hopefully the second bud close behind to the blooming one will also show itself soon. Wonder if it will develop seed pod, that will make be very joyous, a chance to get a strain which will be more adaptable in our 'kebun' climate.
 Some of the ducks and geese at our backyard.

Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year!