Cekur or Sand Ginger or 沙姜

Uncommon where I now live; common where I used to live.
It’s mid-Spring but it feels like Summer! So what better time to begin my Split-&-Spread task.

Cekur/Sand Ginger is actually a beautiful plant which I now use as a seasonal groundcover ~ it just hibernates and hides in late Fall and Winter. Its a tropical plant so its growth is somewhat erratic in the northern hemisphere, but its aromatic rhizomes and leaves which I use as a seasoning and/or marinade is worth the challenge.

Cekur as groundcover

When the leaves show up, I take it as a call to propagate, to make up for my kitchen use in the coming months. This is a very tender rhizome so I use only an old metal teaspoon and my bare hands to retrieve them.

Rinsed to check for active roots

For now, those with active, fat, white roots will go into a “crib” to be covered thinly with rich soil. This will help to develop roots and a couple of green leaves and for 2017 I plan to spread them out to different spots around the garden.

Root development “crib”

My motto: what you like and can’t find in stores, you grow … at least try to grow. :mrgreen:

A Hive of Activity ~ Beesy, Beesy

We were little worried last week about our busy clumping bees. It wasn’t the usual buzzing around when some housekeeping, or should I say hivekeeping, is in operation. They were just in a cluster which, since it’s Spring, made us wonder if they were prepared to swarm.

Preparing to Swarm???

DH decided to do a quick check ~ to see if it was their space or their population growth that might have contributed to this clump being formed.

Checking the top bar hive.

It was actually quite “full” of comb (both honey and brood) so he added a few new bars and removed some boards, giving them more room to make new comb.

Quick inspection & remedial action done.

Notice in the top photo that an entrance has a stopper. When the hive was young & new combs were being built, space and doorway guidance were helpful, so 2 openings were sufficient, but now …
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Street Photography ~ Street Food

On the streets of Penang – no kitchen; no fancy food court; no angst on my part.

Fried “Flat Rice Noodles” – from the back of a truck. Yes, she fried & I ate. Yum! Yum!

Steamed dumplings.

Fried Noodles and Blanched Noodles.

Street Fruit ~ to me, Street Art.

Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge – April 21, 2017

 An underground Mass Rapid Transit Rail-track
A historical building’s walkway
Escalators in the Museum

and an old road … but now a Highway
All in tropical Singapore
~ shared on Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge – April 21st

When the Growing gets Tough

… the Grower gets Going… to keep it Growing!

It all began 5 years ago when I wanted to have a temporary trellis to grow some beans. It was easy. I simply went to Home Depot, got some PVC water pipes, some L and T joints and a string trellis. I measured the pipes, cut them up, hammered 3 pipes vertically 18″ into the soil, connected the top portion with the joints and used some tie-straps to hang and fasten the string trellis. Less than $10 and voila! trellis was done.

The beans progressed to gourds and the gourds progressed to Passionfruit, which grew with such wild passion, I began to foresee a forthcoming calamity. Yes, after 5 years the pipes were no longer standing 90° with the soil and the string trellis were kind of “blowing in the wind”.

My pipe and string contraption.

I’ve had fair, good use of this impromptu trellis so something needed to be done ~ hopefully without cutting off all the fruiting vines and killing those precious Ladybugs and their cocoons nicely tucked in & on that little green wall. I kept asking that question till finally the husband decided to come up with what I call a “slip-and-grip” replacement.

Fastened to pipe; 18″ above the soil.

A carefully measured Made-in-Garage wooden trellis (which is patterned with a space for the kitchen window in case of later preference) that was lugged and slipped behind the pipe & string trellis contraption, to be gripped with metal fasteners drilled through the wood frame and the metal pipes. The metal pipes have been hammered 3ft into the soil and the wood trellis sits 18″ above soil level. It’s definitely more rigid than PVC pipes & strings.  😆

The vines (& some remnant trellis strings) are now tied onto this new brainchild and it is my ardent hope that it will give at least 10 years usage.

I’ve trimmed most of the lower portion of the string trellis and now have more sunny space to insert some forthcoming Spring seedlings.

Wooden trellis fastened to a metal pipe.

Time to thin some herbs and cool season vegetables below and pay close attention to lots of Passionfruit buds now waiting to bloom. To all potential Passionfruit growers, prepare a steady, heavy-duty trellis for that vine because when it takes off during the growing/fruiting season, it needs heavy support OR you will have some weighty work trying to save that monstrous plant.

Hay, Hay, Hay, it’s Magic… ♪

It’s that time of the year.
It’s time to “repair” the path around the house and we use hay. So I drove to a feed-shop (yes, not a home repair or DIY store) to get my fix-it material. For USD8.50 a year, which is the cost of a bale of hay ~ half laid on now & half for filling up later when needed, how wrong can you get?

2″ of spread out hay

No needle in this haystack, hay path, whatever you may call it…

I am no guru of Permaculture but I’ve come to the conclusion that trial and error is the best means to find out what works (& what doesn’t) on one’s own miniscule plot of land. So far, our hay path works well. :mrgreen:

Hash House Harriers ~ Please Be Aware

Yes, it will be forever … “ON ON!”

The HHH is a fascinating group of fun trail runners now spread out globally. It began in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in the early 1930’s when a group of British residents decided to have some fun and began this kind of fun-run which ended with some nice cold beer and lots of laughter. Read the History of the HHH.

Now sadly, Harriers, I think you will have to change your marking material &/or avoid going through any urban areas with crowds and heavy foot-traffic. I’ve attached a Link to a TODAY news article of a recent incident in Singapore. Why on earth choose a running trail to go through a Mass Rapid Transport (MRT) station is beyond me.

Photo borrowed from news channel

Use a whole toilet roll or a couple of carrots tied together or some peas, even luminous thick bio-degradable bands but please … no more white flour! White powder is not cool anymore.

So, fellow HHH runners in Singapore and elsewhere please play it safe with markers and re-think your routes.

“ON ~ ON … “

Shallot Buds and Blooms

Almost everyone eats Onions … except some vegans and staunch Buddhists.
Every supermarket, wet-market, sundry store (as we call them in SE Asia) sells Onions ~ red onions, sweet white onions, yellow onions, bunching onions, etc.

But do consumers/gardeners bother growing onions? If they do, do they buy onion sets or seeds for each year’s planting? I’ve tried many ways of regrowing from store bought ones and nursery cultivated ones but they only reproduce for 1 season. As I do not have enough space all kinds of onions, I’ve concentrated on 2 which I really like and use often – Shallots and Walking Onions, encouraging them to reproduce themselves continuously.

An earlier post shows the seeds from the Shallot parents but this Spring I’ve decided to share some photos of Shallot buds and blooms which if one actually observes, goes through beautiful stages of Ma Nature’s work-of-art and creation.

Allow a few to live their 2-yr lifespan & buds will appear in the 2nd Spring.

Nicely packaged bunch of buds.

The 1st bloom (or the eldest child so to speak).

Each flower has 6 Petals and 6 Stamens with pollen covered Anthers.

Deep within each flower is a Locule with Ovaries

More flowers bloom each day.

Almost all in bloom awaiting Pollinators

A Pollinator caught in action!

Soon it will re-seed and re-produce ~ just like Ma Nature intended ~ continuing its species when given the chance to.