Gardening update in January …

Well, there is not a lot to update about as there is not much gardening to do, really … as we are in the midst of winter. It is more a question of trying to keep alive whatever plants that I have right now … so that when spring is here, they can start growing and rejoicing in the warm weather!

Furthermore, I have also decided to take it easier this winter so as to spare myself from having to keep a constant vigil over my little babies by starting them a little too early. For those who had followed my blog last year, you might have remembered that by this time, last year, I was busy acquiring new seeds …  and that I had even started sowing a number of those seeds!

Oh yes … I was extremely overzealous last year. I was so intent on trying to get a head start on my gardening season (by starting my sowing early) … that it was painful to lose quite a number of them when the cold season dragged on longer than I had expected. Not only did I waste time by sowing them early and by having to take care of the seedlings to ensure their survival … but I also wasted my precious seeds when a number of them died while waiting to be planted outside (and some when I put them outside before the weather was warm enough) as the cold weather (and even snowfall) dragged on until nearly into the summer season!

So this year … after having learnt from the bad experience of last year, I am taking things easier. As I still have a lot of seeds from previous years, I refrained from buying any this year … except for one. I just could not resist getting my hands on the Anatolian black carrot seeds when I saw them being offered on e-bay lah! 🙂

And the only seeds that I sowed in January were the peas and the broad beans. But I am not growing them for the pods or the beans … but rather for their shoots. Unfortunately, as I had chosen to leave them outside on the balcony, they have not sprouted yet.

In addition, I have also decided that I was not going to grow as many varieties this year as I did last year. Instead, I shall focus more on those that I know from last year’s experience will grow well on our balcony and taste equally yummy.

However, as part of the excitement in gardening is in the experimenting … so I will still try to grow a few that I failed to grow successfully last year … if only to see whether I can get them to grow and, hopefully, be able to taste the produce this time.  After all, I did not get to taste my broad beans and runner beans until I tried growing them a second time.

And so, to kick-start my gardening post for 2014 … here are my edible ‘houseplants’ …

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The usual plants (screwpine, lemongrass and curry) … as well as some new friends … waiting out the winter season in the living room.

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Apart from regular trimming of the leaves, I have decided to put a plastic ring around the lemongrass plant to prevent it from taking up too much space.

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My two-year old screwpine (pandan) plant has started to give birth to some babies, I am happy to note. 🙂 A cause for celebration, definitely, … as I had lost its sister plant in autumn as well as the second group of little seedlings that my dear friend Nit had brought me a year ago.

Curry plant

Unfortunately, the same could not be said of my curry plant. From all nice and green (left picture taken in late December), the plant now sports a baldy look after it was attacked by some kind of bugs which caused the leaves to fall off.

However, I am not too worried as I know that a curry plant is quite resilient and that it can bounce back as long as its roots are healthy.

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And true enough, new shoots have started to unfurl … and, by spring time, it should be growing healthily as long as I make sure that the problematic bugs are kept away.

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This red Hungarian round pepper plant was the opposite of the curry plant. It was all bare stem when I decided to bring it inside in December to try and wait out the winter season … and, today, new leaves have started growing so that, hopefully by spring time, the plant will be bushy once again.

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In fact, it has even started to form flower buds … several of them … but unfortunately, all the flower buds will dry up and fall off. A bit of a pity … but as long as the plant continues to grow well, I am sure it will start to flower again when the warm weather returns … and I shall get to enjoy my red Hungarian round peppers once again.

Black Hungarian peppers

Fortunately, the black Hungarian pepper plant is doing a little better than its cousin. Although only a very meagre number of the flower buds continue to flower and develop into fruit (and only to have the developing peppers to dry up and then drop off) … but at least, the plant is producing!

However, with these pepper plants indoor … the battle with the aphids continues even into the winter months! haizzz …

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This cape gooseberry (ground cherry) plant is also patiently waiting out the winter season in the living room. It continues to grow taller and taller … but after the initial flowering and fruiting when I first brought them inside in December, there has not been any more flowering.

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Obviously, the dry air inside the living room is not very conducive to fruit production. These gooseberries dried up and fell off the plant before they could develop to their full size. And even when I tried eating the biggest of those that had fallen, it was sour!

Oh well … even if they are not producing any fruit, as long as these plants continue to grow well, indoor, I am happy … as it means that I am spared from having to sow their seeds and that I shall get to enjoy their produce much earlier, too!

There is, of course, still one more plant that I am trying hard (and praying hard) to keep alive in the living room until the warm weather arrives. But I shall share about that one in the next entry … as I think it deserves its own post! 😉

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6 thoughts on “Gardening update in January …

  1. My thumb is not THAT green either 🙂 … but I persevered, especially for those plants that I really wanted to grow, and I tried to learn from my failures by continuing to grow them again and again! Anyway, just hang in there, even if your plants look skinny now, once you have got to know them better, I am sure that they will become green and lush for you! But yes, fertilizer is a must for most plants, especially during their growing season. Try to use an organic fertilizer because I feel that the whole point of growing edible plants ourselves is so that we can have something organic to eat. Good luck!

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  2. Thank you for the feed back. I have ordered a indoor compost for my pandan. My pandan is very skinny. I don’t have a green thumb. All my plant looks very skinny…ya… Fertilizer….I need to give my plant fertilizer 🙂

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  3. Hi Su Yin, I did not really pay much attention to the humidity level required for the pandan and curry plants. They did fine outside during the warmer months and when inside the heated flat during the cold months, I would water them only when the soil feels a little dry to the touch. I do fertilize my pandan and curry plants, but only in summer and only because I was doing so for my other edibles. Apart from that, I leave the two plants pretty much on their own. Yes, I grew the curry plant from seeds. The seeds took ages to germinate so you will have to be patient.

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  4. Do you know how much humidity level those pandan and curry plant need? I planted my pandan in my toilet and I put a fan heater , min temp 70F . So far so good. Just that the outer leaves is turning a little bit brownish. Do you fertilize your pandan? I am also interested to plant curry tree. It grown from seed?

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  5. Waalaikumsalam Kak Maz. Glad to hear that you have received my little gift. It certainly took long enough to reach M’sia. Yg I hantar ke Sg dah lama sampai … but better late than tak sampai langsung!. I hope you will like the taste of the black trumpets. Sorry lambat respond sebab memang sekarang lagi tak ada mood langsung nak berblogging!

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  6. as salam CT, what a nice surprise, i received your mail today. terharu tengok mushroom tu. i will cook italian pasta nanti. thank u so much, really appreciate it. and the chives ni nak simpan freezer dulu sbb cuaca sangat panas masa ni. mungkin semai semangka dulu i nn syaa Allah. my plants ada yg mati balik dari jordan so semangat down sikit untuk gardening but again never give up, nanti pergi beli lagi pokok…. kadang i gelak tengok pokok u duduk dlm rumah….takpe oxygen banyak..

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