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.