Saturday, February 25, 2012

My father's farm

Aside from some herbs, lime, pandan, curry leaves and tomato, I don't have other edibles growing in my patio.However, it's a different scenario at my parent's home. My father is turning into a farmer! When he comes home from work each day, he heads straight to the yard to tend to his plants. I think he's hooked on growing. Every inch of available land is utilised and everything seems to thrive here, from papaya trees to herbs and vegetables.

This is the sweet basil patch.

The passion fruit vine and pumpkin vine are fighting for space on the same trellis.

The sweet potato vine and pumpkin vine are all tangled up together here.

Mum keeps urging me to bring some produce home. I spent the evening harvesting spinach, sweet potato leaves and other vegetables. Well, somebody's got to help eat up all these plants!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Showy balsam

I've never taken the balsam plant seriously. They're one of the easiest plants to grow and will thrive without any attention. I used to find their flowers too delicate and tiny, so I've never paid much attention to it.

Then out of the blue, a balsam plant started growing in my garden. It grew into a lush plant with beautiful green serrated leaves. Slowly, buds formed and turned into pretty rose-like flowers. I thought they weren't going to hang around for very long.

To my surprise and delight, the seemingly delicate flowers do not fall off or wither quickly. In fact, they're going strong for weeks now. And new buds burst into fresh flowers everyday.

In fact, the entire plant is covered with red blooms. Whenever I look out into the patio, I see this gorgeous plant with more flowers than leaves.

I have grown to love the balsam plant now.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Cooking with herbs

I'm beginning to use home grown herbs in my cooking. I make a delicious salad dressing using majoram. Simply stir minced majoram and garlic with cider vinegar, mustard and olive oil. Flavour with pinch of salt and ground black pepper. It works with any salad really.

When I'm making pasta sauce, I often throw in a handful of sage, tarragon and majoram to give it an added kick.

Picking leaves from the herbs helps encourage growth too.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Surprise plant

I often recycle my soil. After transplanting or repotting, I toss the leftover soil into a big pile and reuse them for planting.

It's interesting how I always get new plants growing from the soil after a while. Old seeds that were once buried deep inside get moved to the top start to germinate and grow into plants. I've not had balsam in my garden for 1.5 years now but suddenly I have a huge one growing out of the recycled soil.

So, the moral of the story is, do recycle (healthy) soil and be surprised at what you may get.

However, if the soil is infested with pests and diseases, please dispose quickly before the entire garden gets affected.