Monday, 28 May 2012

Reading List

Little 40-day banana plant. Looks a bit better after I fed it some composted goat manure.

Companion Planting:
Cute lil graphic on companion plants and how they are beneficial.
A more extensive list, arranged in alphabetical order.
A convenient table showing garden plants' best buddies and mortal enemies.

Prewashing Fabrics before Sewing:
I have had cotton items that I sent to be sewn, and they shrunk after I've worn them once. What a sad waste of fabric. A previous tailor would actually prewash the fabric for you if it needs it. I think I'd rather do it myself now.

Eating & Wellness:
I've always wondered what the big deal is about chia seeds. I am still undecided on whether to give them a try, but this is good info nonetheless. Perhaps as a thickener?
I've read how modern agricultural practices deplete nutrients and minerals in our body, so I was curious to know if other modern practices do the same. This list is indeed extensive: excess sugar, coffee, vegetarian/vegan diet, various medications, birth control, etc.
I haven't finished reading this whole article, but it certainly looks promising. Dr. Stephanie Cave is a doctor focused on medicine-nutritional therapy and in this article discusses sources of toxicity.

Kitchen Tips & Tricks

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Great minds think alike.. Repurposing Rain Gutters as Veggie Beds

This will be a quick one, as I am inspired by a discussion with some friends on successful veggie planting in a recycled rain gutter.

When we installed a perspex awning over our front porch, we had to have a portion of our rain gutter removed. I had the half-baked idea then of digging a hole to bury the spout for water drainage, filling the space with soil and planting veggies in it. Except I never got around to doing it.

So a few weeks ago I hit upon the idea of sticking the gutter into existing rain drains that run around the house (all kitchen/bathroom waste water goes straight into the septic tank, so our rain drains that run around the perimeter of the house are fairly clean and unclogged because only rain water runs through them).

As fate would have it, just as I hauled a heavy sack of soil out of my car, the sky darkened and drops of moisture pattered the ground. I knew I had to work fast. I dragged the rain gutter in to the drain, stuffed the spout with some rags and propped up the other end with an unused pot so excess water could drain out the spout via gravity.

The pics explain it so much better than I can:

The rain gutter nestled in the drain by a patch of daikon radish, sayur putih (Chinese lettuce methinks?) and sayur raja (I have no idea what this is called in English)

This end is propped up with a pot with rocky clumps of soil. I prolly need to use something else in the future should I want to use the pot.
Spout/hole at the other end stuffed with rags.
After this, the next step is to add soil, compost etc. and leave to mature for a few days before transplanting. It seems that the simple drainage system is working.

I should really start sowing seeds but I've been so busy lately with a cat illness. My poor Yoruichi...

Friday, 11 May 2012

Sowing the Seeds of Love..

Terung pipit in full bloom.
Update: all my cucumber plants did not survive, neither did my French beans :-( The main reason being was that I was travelling too much, so my plants were left to fend for themselves. Out of guilt before a 4-day trip I fertilised my plants with a coffee-smelling fertiliser that I thought was organic. (I thought it is okay to be a bit heavy-handed with organic fertilisers, because they don't harm your plants much). Yeah right. Too much fertiliser + lack of water (I suspect it was very hot while I was away) = dried-up plants. Sigh.

So today, seeing the weather is somewhat cloudy, I will direct sow some seeds into the ground.

  • Roselle - in a pot, 5 seeds
  • French beans - by the fence, 2 seeds, by cat enclosure, 2 seeds
  • Spring onion - in existing spring onion pot
  • Chives - on kailan bed
  • Coriander - in existing coriander pot
  • Loofah - in DIY pot made from soil bag

Didn't take any pictures today as I was a bit rushed for time. But here is a picture taken 2 months ago, when my chillis were still healthy and blooming. I did not eat any of these lovely chillis as I wanted to save them for seed. Then disaster struck: the leaves started to wilt, then the fruit, then the whole tree. The source of the disease is from another chilli plant I foolishly bought, thinking all the while parts of it looked a little bit wilted due to the hot weather.

Juicy purple chillies. Alas, thou art not mine to keep!

Good thing is that I still have a couple of these plants which survived the wilt. I hope this means the survivors have become immune to the disease.

Live long and prosper! Insha Allah.