Sunday, November 30, 2008

Vegetable greens in the CG

These have been some of the vege greens my neighbour has been taking care for the Elderly Corner. All of them are grown from seeds ... When grown to a good size they are harvested on a Friday evening and then stored at the Elderly Corner. The next day, a group of volunteers will cook enough veges to feed about 50 elderly folks. This is part of the community work that the community gardeners do to help the poor in our community.

Vegetable greens grown are Kang Kong, Sharp Spinach, Kai Lan, Chye Sim, Sweet Potato leaves.

We are also trying to grow the asparagus, cabbage and a kind of vegetable that looks like a species of the Tang Oh but it's gigantic in size. This plant I noticed that neither insects, snails nor bugs would attack. It definitely has the makings of a natural pesticide. The only problem is that not everyone likes the taste of the Tang Oh vegetable.

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Harvest Time (Kai Lan)

It was the first time in my entire life harvesting the Kai Lan greens. I helped my neighbour pulled those veges off the soil and there you see her cutting away those holely leaves to make them more presentable for the cooks who were cooking for the folks at the Elderly Corner of the RC. I must say it's back breaking work. Now I truly appreciate those green veges that I eat knowing the back breaking work the farmers go through to take care of them before the harvest.

Here you see some neighbourhood children who visit the garden. We let them help us weed a bed of Kang Kong planted for the Elderly Corner. Some enjoy it and of course some don't LOL
This acitivity helps the children to train their patience.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Rooting Stem Cuttings of Mints, Purple Basil, Lime

In these two bottles of water are the mints which Herb Lover from GCS donated to the CG. I also added a purple basil cutting and 3 small lime cuttings from the CG. Thanks to Herb Lover who gave me tips on getting successful roots from stem cutting, I hope that these will be successful rooted too. These mints will be planted around the Cymbopogon citronelle when they grow stronger.

Method :

Select a healthy stem with a growing tip.

Make a slant cut about 1 cm. below a leaf node.

Strip all the leaves away from the stem and leave about 2 to 3 leaves at the growing tip.

Immerse the stem in water and watch the roots grow in about a week's time.

Change the water every two days to prevent mosquito breeding.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Hydrocotyl asiatica (Pennywort)

I read about this herb from petunialee's blog and found it pretty facinating. This plant seems to be very versatile. It can grow in water with the pot submerged and also in the soil. I have transfered some of the stem cuttings with roots to another area in the CG. When transferred the plant went limp ... let's see how it grows in the new area.

This herb is good for elevating concentration and also for sleep too. Read all about how Petunia prepares it for her family.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Hort Park GH Glass Houses

Behind dd M are the glass houses which keep the experimental plants from the cooler climate. for propagation. All the flowers here live in air-conditioned glass houses ... what comfort they have while the three of us were sweltering drops of perspiration in the sun. The blooms were big, beautiful and colorful too. However no fragrance of flowers could pass through those glass walls.
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Hort Park GH Ideas for planting herbs in CG

This was what I really came to Hort Park for :-)
How to mix and match herbs when planting them in the garden to make them look attractive.
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Hort Park GH Recycling Garden

Here's the recycling garden which is close to my heart :-) Interesting set up in the way they display the containers recycled from old common everyday things. This is giving things a second chance to be useful again. I wonder how many of us have second chances in our lives. I'm sure we have many .... so let's count our blessings.
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Hort Park GH Flowers

Here are some of the beautiful flowers seen at the hub ..... Can you name any of them?
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Hort Park Gardening Hub Visit

Here I was on a hot and sunny Saturday afternoon visiting the gardening hub to source for ideas on how to and what to plant in the community garden. It was information galore and creative gardening paradise for all green fingers and also the not so green ones too :-)

Here goes the many species of cactus, terrarium set ups, species of air plants and insectivorous plants too ... all found at Far East Floral at the park.

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The latest trend in gardening a wall .... I love the set up .... great for decorating barren and ugly walls with nature's greenary.
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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Bee Invasion

My ds J was helping me to loosen the soil at the garden bed near the Loofa Creeper when suddenly he shouted at me .... "Mom , why so many insects ?" I turned around and realised that they were small honey bees hovering around his head and then he got stung on his finger while trying to brush the bees away from his head. He then quickly moved away from the area.
I supposed his movements of raking the soil with the changkul must have alarmed the bees cos' he was doing it quite near the hive area. Thank God that he is alright .... the tiny swelling lasted for a while and then the swelling went down.

I understand that bees are important pollinators of flowers for fruits to form. There must be lots of flowers around the area which resulted in the bees making their hive there. On checking the GCS forum about these bees, I realised that these bees will move house eventually to another area and there may be a couple more of such hives in a big garden. We may even find honeycombs which are usually left behind when the bees relocate. Only if the hives get too big
then we will call in the exterminator.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Gardening paraphenalia and baby cuttings

My first time carrying this into the CG to plant cuttings for plant exchange :-)
As you can see I'm also a recycling freak LOL I spent less than $5 putting this together.
I only bought the rooting powder from Fairprice which cost about $3/-

Presenting my baby cuttings .......

Purple Basil


Mosquito plant


That's Chawanmushi ... moi ...planting the Mosquito plant :-)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Tree Planting Day

23rd of November 2008 was designated a tree planting day in all the community gardens.

So we all tried our best to tidy up the bare garden while waiting for Mr. Yeo Guat Kwang to arrive to do us the honour of planting a Longan tree here. His arrival marked a frenzied of tree planting activities ..... so my dh also got to plant a tree in his lifetime :-)

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Here you get a glimpse of the fruit tree area at the CG, and the leaders of the CG ...that's James and Rick. Even Mr. Lim from National Parks was here to give technical advise and was discussing with Iris about fertilisers. Then some last minute tidy-up with May Sim ...our chinese physician and Iris, our fervant gardener who had been working so hard to get the garden presentable.

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Breaking pots, planting and watering hoo ha...s :-)

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Mr. Yeo posing with our first organic papaya .

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Citronella Plants for repelling mosquitoes.

There have been dengue cases around this area in Hougang and so I'm apprehensive when working in the garden. The future plan of this garden is to allow the children at the childcare centre to visit the garden and also to have a go at gardening. I'm thinking how to keep mosquitoes at bay. I came across the idea of planting Citronella plants to help repel mosquitoes and so went on to search for answers regarding the effectiveness of having these plants in the garden. Knowing that Green Culture has a forum board, I posted my question .... the link is here ... Citronelle to keep mosquitoes away.

Members from the board have been so kind and patient to help me answer the question .... though the effectiveness of the plant in the garden didn't seem too positive but I'm not giving up!

So far I understand ..... Pelargonium citronella (also know as the Mosquito plant) has some effects provided the plant must be shaken by the winds to distribute the citronelle fragrance and also a plant that looks like the lemon grass .... Citronella also know as Cymbopogon nardus.

Here are the pics of the two plants .....

This is the Cymbopogon nardus .... looking like lemon grass. Photo contributed by Dnn from Green Culture.

This is the Pelargonium citronella also know as Mosquito Plant.

Once I get hold of the plants, I'll show you where I planted them LOL

Saturday, November 22, 2008

You want to do gardening ?

That's what my 10th floor neighbour asked me last week. I've never really gardened before cos' all my life I've lived in HDB flats and maybe the only gardening I did was to grow a few Money plants and some green onions some years ago in my flat. I gave them up after I discovered mosquito larvae were breeding in the money plant pots and insects attacked the green onions I planted in my mini terrarium.

The community garden (CG) needed help desperately as they were trying to rescue a badly overrun medicinal herb garden. The herbs were planted organically to help cancer patients using alternative medicine to help them during their chemotherapy. The organiser was reorganising the way the CG was run as a TROLL had apparently visited it ... pulled out many of the plants and signages that were done sometime back.

I've seen this garden grow cos' I usually look at it when I pass by as I return home walking from the bus stop. It was lush some months back and I've seen a couple of people working in it. Now with many plots empty without plants and plans and overrun herbs .... I can't help feeling sad for the many trials it had endured. I can only try my best to see what can be done and hence the birth of this blog ...Gardening Dream Inspire.

Let the pics do the talking ....

The CG looks pretty bare now except for the medicinal herb section and my neighbour has been desperately trying to plant as much as she can. I heard that tomorrow the Minister will be here to plant a tree.
Plans for the garden .... (roughly from what I understand) The garden to have ....

Vegetable garden area
Culinary herb garden area
Medicinal herb garden area
Flowering garden area
Fruit Trees garden area

Big plans to have but so few helping hands .... I would appreciate it if I can have some positive suggestions from those who have experience in helping in CGs ....
Meanwhile I will try to identify plants, make signages, source for ideas on how to plant seeds and cuttings successfully, weed, water, pack seeds to exchange for plants etc, etc ....
I believe my days are really going to be filled .... :-)