Monday, November 9, 2009


It is now the rainy season in Malaysia and the East Coast region is flooded with people being moved to 3 evacuation centres. This happens every November and December when the North East monsoon sweeps into the East Coast and unburdens its load. Vegetable prices have increased 100 %. We are grumbling and moaning, but there is one smart lady who will not have to worry about this.
Madam Loo in her vegetable plot protected with fencing from "friendly" dogs who need to squirt frequently. Ceylon spinach with purple stalks climbing on the fence . This vegetable goes into making a soup flavoured with salted duck eggs. Banana trees fruiting
Hairy gourd - a herbaceous climber and salad vegetables.
Simple technology and the vegetables are growing so well.
Just when I had got over the envious feeling of the the hugh winter melons on my neighbour's fence, I uncovered Madam Green Fingers during my morning walk. Madam Loo is 84 years old, lives with her daughter's family and has 3 grandchildren. Her exercise is potting in her vegetable plot every morning after the family has left for work or school. She must have seen me "oggling" as she came out the back door. She's very friendly and spoke only Cantonese, a Chinese dialet I am not very fluent with. But, we crossed the language barrier and had a good half hour conversation with some sign language.

The large purple banana flower can be stir fried or cooked in coconut milk.
A large variety of vegetables, fruits, gourds and aloe vera in pots
All planted on government land at the back of her house
Hairy gourd covered with short silky white hairs for soup. The best ones I have seen are only a quarter of this size. This can feed 20 persons.

All these are planted in her back yard. She uses natural fertilisers (vegetables and fruit peelings and rice water). Do you know that water from washing rice before cooking is pretty nutritious for plants. I did explain to her how I wiped out my vegetable plot with too much fertiliser, how the insects were enjoying the vegetables more than me and how punny my egg plants and gourds grew.

She is a gardening encyclopedia and lectured me on how to water the plants (not using the garden hose and drowning them), plant seeds into pots first and how to mix soil. She gave me 3 hairy gourd seeds which I preciously wrapped in my sweaty hanky. I asked her permission to photograph her vegetables, she asked me to take some photos of the gourds once the plant bore fruit. I don't think I will get the gourds as large, something half the size will make me happy.

1 comment:

  1. Those banana trees look so good! I would love to have a banana tree. I'm glad you found a neighbor to talk to about gardening. She seems like an expert.