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Archive for January, 2010

Finally We have Chiku!

January 27, 2010 Leave a comment

If I remembered correctly, I bought my Chiku plant (Manilkara zapota) 8 months ago and only recently it started to fruit. This tells me that my plant takes 8 long months to acclimatise to my growing condition! The previous flowering seasons did not produce any harvest for me as the flowers just wither away and usually there is less than 5 flowers every round of flowering.

IMG_1901Developing Fruit! 

Not long ago I decided to try my luck using some fruiting fertilizer, NPK (12:12:17 +2MgO), in the form of blue pellets. Guess what? It works like magic! The current round of flowering has more than 28 flowers! It’s probably due to the acclimatised plant and the additional boost of nutrients from the fertilizer.

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Flowers and more flowers!

The fruit is developing slowly and I just can’t wait for it to ripe and taste my “fruit of labour”. Flowers of the Chiku plant  will emerge from the growing tips of the plant where new leaves are formed. Therefore, pruning your plant is not a good idea!

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What’s next? Tarragon!

January 23, 2010 2 comments

I am now in a “herb fever” and trying lots of different herbs I can find the supermarket. Two weeks ago, I bought a packet of French Tarragon for my propagating quest. There were quite a number of cuttings in the packet and I decided to trim all of them for propagation.

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This time round, I tried another combination using perlite + vermiculite mix and used rooting powder. This is the best result I got so far as all eight cuttings have rooted successfully compared to the other methods I tried in my previous post.

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My herb collection has increased from a mere Rosemary plant to five other herbs today! They are easy to grow and very suitable for apartment growers, since we are receiving less than 6 hours of direct sunlight.

Dairy Farm Nature Park

January 17, 2010 Leave a comment

My friends and I made a trip down to the newly opened Dairy Farm Nature Park today. The Nature Park is located along Dairy Farm Road off Upper Bukit Timah Road. Formerly a dairy farm owned by Cold Storage, it was a farm of its kind nearest to the equator in the world and had attracted experts to study and learn its success.

dairy009 Wallace Education Centre, the restored cowshed

Now the cowshed had been converted into an education centre where visitors can learn more about the history of the farm and  the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. The main highlight of the park is the Singapore Quarry, located at the south western end. The view is simply breathtaking and majestic where I suddenly felt so small compared to the granite walls upon me!

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Breath taking view of the Singapore Quarry

This abandoned quarry has now become home for many species of birds and plants including the critically endangered Little Grebe as well as other insects. The walking trails are very similar to those in Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserve, paved with tar or granite chips. However, there are undulating grounds and slopes where one had to climb. Not too tiring though and definitely a good route for cross country runners.

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       Endangered bird, Little Grebe

Along the way to the quarry, there are lots of interesting flora and fauna to look out for. We had seen lots of colourful butterflies and dragonflies around us and of course some monkeys known as the long-tailed macaques. We had also witness brightly coloured birds in small flocks around the quarry.

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Dairy Farm Nature Park is place where one can go and experience something different from  the concrete jungle. The trek is not as time consuming as other nature reserves and one can easily leave the trail for a quick snack at the nearby Rail Mall. There are also tracks that will lead you out of the trail fairly quickly since the main roads are less than 5 mins walk away! Do take some time off to visit this new Nature Park!

Dwarf pineapple in bloom

January 6, 2010 Leave a comment

It’s dwarf pineapple again! Some may feel so bored when I started to repeat such posts. However I had received countless of emails on this plant, many asked for their growing conditions and availability. Generally dwarf pineapple (Ananas nanus), requires at least 4-6 hours of direct sunlight to do well. Although this plant can be grown in bright light, the plant’s growth is generally slower than those under direct sunlight.

postxmas002 Purple flowers!

It has been an exciting week to see the flower spike started to blossom. Row by row from the bottom, the purple flowers started to emerge and bloom. These tubular white centered flowers add to the colourful display of the entire plant! The entire flower spike has red, green and purple colours!

postxmas001 Top view is just as spectacular!

The colours will fade away after all the flowers had bloomed, leaving a white pineapple fruit with green “top”. The green top can also be propagated into a new plant! Dwarf pineapple is definitely an interesting plant you can try to grow in your garden!

Successful Herb Propagation

January 4, 2010 2 comments

Recently I started propagating three different herbs. Two of them being the easier ones, Oregano and Marjoram had successfully developed roots! These cuttings are bought off the supermarket’s refrigerated shelves which these herbs are used for culinary purposes. Marjoram was the first to root, all four cuttings survived the two week long rooting process in the potting mix of 1:1 perlite and vermiculite. The mix was kept wet all the time.

postxmas007 My propagating dish with Sage and Marjoram

At the initial stage when the cuttings were placed in the mix, they all went limp within the next hour and I admit they gave almost gave me a fright! Luckily they started to perk up and stay green and strong. No rooting powder was added to this method, which is different from the earlier post on propagating sage. In fact, I had some sage cuttings in this method too and they do better than the others in soil with rooting powder. However, they have yet to develop roots.

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Roots developing using the perlite : Vermiculite potting mix 

My marjoram cuttings are now potted in the standard potting mix, 1:1 burnt earth and compost. They will be in under bright light for a day or two before I introduce them to their permanent spot with some direct sunlight.