Monday, July 18, 2011

Crouching tiger under the mulberry bushes

Time for mulberry picking! Again...

Every two months, the 7 mulberry bushes in front of my house is heavy with sweet berries to be picked. Armed with a red strainer, I went crouching under the bushes to pick as many as I can before my grandson woke up from his nap.

7 mulberry trees outside the fence

after two months without pruning, they shoot out almost covering the front of the house, higher than the fence and covered completely my pondok on the right

crouching like a tiger under the bushes laden with fat juicy berries, my hand, one holding the strainer, while another busy picking the berries and popping some in my mouth...well, they are safe, no pesticides were ever used on the plants

the mulberry bushes are pruned every 2 months...well, actually they are hacked roughly by the Bangladeshi I hired to cut the grass around my house...

anyway, the pruning will automatically trigger the bushes to flower and bear fruits....I think there must be thousands of those berries!

the berries had actually started to ripen a few days before I picked them, so lots of those 'black' berries (actually they were dark purple) were on the branches and some on the ground

each tree trunk is this thick after 3 years of planting them and many had since being propagated and given to family, friends, and neighbours

one strainer laden with mulberries from 3/4 of one tree was picked....too many of them and my back was killing me!

the next day I went crounching and picking again and got another strainer full! So far only 2 trees were picked....

....and many more fell on the ground because they were too ripe, and with the slightest shake of the branches will see those berries dropping like bombs!

one strainer full of those sweet berries resulted in a 2 litre bottle mulberry juice....I have 5 more bushes to harvest with many more unripe berries on those already picked!

Im making bottles of mulberry juice and also roselle juice in time for the coming fasting month of Ramadhan in August. They are so refreshing!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Blooming for GBBD July 2011 and FF

The dry, hot and humid weather we have been experiencing here is ideal for some of my garden flowers who are showing their beautiful and colourful flowers and foliage, just in time for the monthly and weekly flaunting of flowers hosted by two of the garden bloggers, Carol and Tootsie.

first bloom of cosmos caudatus (ulam raja)

wild ruellia tuberosa

desert rose

Autumn Belle had so kind enough to let me know the name of this flower which looks like angelonia but much bigger and no fragrance. Its called Otacanthus caeruleus or Brazilian snapdragon or Amazon blue. Thank you Autumn Belle!

red malvaviscus arboreus (a miniature type of hibiscus)

tibourchina urvilleana

peach hibiscus

pink impatiens balsamina

pink ruellia brittoniana/ruellia tweediana or Mexican petunia or Mexican blue bell

blue flowers of one type of coleus

attractive colours of foliage of another

Carol's May Dream Garden is hosting Garden Bloggers' Blooming Day

Tootsie's Time is hosting Fertiliser Friday/Flaunt Your Flowers

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Friday, July 8, 2011

Soup and curry

My first calabash (labu air) picked for my pot today. I can see another 2 calabash coming out with my help in their pollination!

Its bigger and longer than the one I usually bought from the market, almost 2 feet long! So I cut it into half to be used today.

Calabash soup with prawns and slices of carrot and tomato

Then I tried the Chicken and Lemon Grass Curry recipe from Joyce of Kitchen Flavours, she has a lot of easy to follow recipes and are delicious for your taste buds! Though this time with some modifications on my part. I used beef instead of chicken (since I had chicken 2 days in a row), prawn stock instead of chicken stock (I think it complimented the fish sauce well), and a dash of curry powder to make it more spicy! Walla! It tasted so delicious especially with the coriander (daun ketumbar) and kaffir lime leaves from my garden (daun limau purut) and of course, thumbs up from my three sons! Next time I will try with chicken. Thanks Joyce for sharing the recipe!

Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Sweet butterfly peas

Locally we call it Bunga Talang/Telang. Otherwise its called butterfly pea or blue pea vine (Clitoria ternatea). Mine was given by a blogger friend and was grown in a flower bed near a chain fence for easy climbing. Its such an unassuming little plants until they bloom with the violet/blue flowers. Usually the flower petals are single with white or yellow markings in the centre but mine is a doubled-layered.

pretty violet/blue flowers

though I wish I could have the white flower variety which is seldom seen or maybe the soil composition that produces the white flowers instead of blue?

very petite vines with small but showy blooms, self-seeded but will grow lanky, so have to trim the vines to make them bushy

I just noticed that my butterfly peas (bunga talang) plant has lots of small flat pod fruits

on it

So this morning, I picked all the bigger peas - maybe will cook them in a stir-fry mixed veggie? Usually they are grown for their blue flowers to make dye or food colouring but havent heard of eating those peas but I guess they must be edible since their flowers are edible too. You can dry the flowers and make blue tea just like the Thais with added sugar or honey or make blue jelly or blue ice-cream! The Thais grow the butterfly pea flowers commercially. But more familiar locally are the blue rice (nasi kerabu).

the lovely flowers are a food source which attract butterflies, thats why they are called butterfly peas

their peas reminded me of the sweet peas I usually bought in packets at the supermarket though sweet peas are broader

today's harvest - butterfly peas and okras

the seed pods dried on the plant and kept for future planting - I dont have to worry about running out of seeds because Ive seen a few new seedlings already sprouting nearby the parent plant, since they are also self-seeded

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Its a calabash!

Remember all those hype about my guessing games on the vines with the delicate lacy light pink/peach blooms, I have on my vegetable patch? Well...finally it showed itself last weekend. It was not snake gourd, not Kakdi (a type of Indian cucumber),....its a CALABASH! A cucurbit family, scientifically its called Lagenaria siceraria or Lagenaria vulgaris or commonly known as water gourd (labu air), bottle gourd or long melon. I guess we can never trust what the packet of seeds stated - though I remember they were not calabash I planted!

Imagine....the surprise I got when I saw this dangling on the vines! Its one of my favourite vegetables which usually will be made into soup with anchovies or shrimps

......but I remembered I did a hand-polination on one female flower which later on looked like this...

From my observations, usually there were so many male flowers at one time and the female and male flowers very seldom bloom together. When the female flowers start appearing, the male ones already past their prime and started to close and whither away...So it was a lucky day indeed when I found a female and male flowers blooming at the same time and gave them a helping hand to get better acqainted!

so the mystery of the delicate lacy blooms finally solved!

Now Im paying closer attention to their blooming habits so that more calabash can be produced. Happy weekend gardening!