Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Organic lemongrass – from market to garden

Here’s another plant that you can grow from what you buy in the market :)

Lemongrass, or Cymbopogon citratus, is used in cooking in Malaysia – though not as much as in Thailand. It gives a spicy lemony flavour to food, and anyone who tried Tom Yam (the Thai seafood dish) will recognise it. It’s called serai makan in Malay (literally ‘lemongrass eat’), distinguishing it from serai wangi (‘lemongrass fragrant’) or Cymbopogon nardus, from which citronella is extracted – it’s effective in keeping mosquitoes away, but is invasive.

WW just stuck two of the stems we got from the market into the ground; actually they had been in the fridge for some days – and I was dubious about whether they would grow. But after about a week one of them started to sprout

They prefer full sun, or light shade, and a loamy soil. After 12 days the second stem was growing too. They don’t smell of anything yet though.

Eventually, it can become a largish clump of ornamental grass – for the moment it will stay in the pot until we can decide what to do with it

Here are some tips for American gardeners who want to try it; and some more advice and well as recipes.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Growing organic mint from cuttings - Update

Sorry for the long hiatus – got a lot on my plate at the moment…

Here’s an update on the organic mint cuttings. The ones I put in the water have failed miserably

there was one leaf valiantly hanging on when I took this photo, but it soon went too. Maybe I should have changed the water? Or used clean water originally? I dunno…

Anyway, for the other ones I planted most of them died, but some survived and are starting to grow :)

This pot is an experiment – it has no drainage (originally used for ‘water cabbage’ or Pistia stratiotes) – so it fills up with water. This is not good for mint in theory, which prefers drained soil, but I have put the pot in a place that does not get most of the rain, and empty it out after rain; I’m wondering whether, when there is enough mint growing, the plants will draw up and use the water – meaning it will not get waterlogged.

There’s a high chance that won’t work, so I moved some to another pot where it also seems to have taken root.

I had a sniff at the leaf the other day and it smells really fresh and nice! I can’t wait to have enough to be able to harvest and put some in my tea in the morning :)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tiger Orchid and Dragonfly

Just a short one. There will more pictures of the my parents-in-law's blossoming Tiger Orchid, or Rossioglossum grande later on, but the other night there were two dragonflies on it for some reason. And I found out that a flash at night can have a useful effect sometimes (the black background).