Month: February 2015

Tale of Two TimTams

You may notice in a Malaysian supermarket that there are TimTams, and then there are TimTams.

Tale of two TimTams

Tale of two TimTams

The higher shelf TimTams are made in Australia, weigh 200g and cost RM13.75.

RM3.29 ones

RM3.29 ones

On the lower shelf the TimTams are made in Indonesia, weigh 120g, cost RM3.29 – that’s RM10 less, or a quarter the price for just over half the weight – and feature the notice, “Not for sale in Australia or New Zealand.”  None of that nasty free trade for Arnotts, then.

RM3.29 ones

RM3.29 ones

Now, I don’t actually want to eat these, but I have in the past, and the expensive ones do taste better.

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Growing stuff on hot concrete – gardening in tropical Penang – what’s growing in February2015

Another month of sunshine, which is not a surprise since around Chinese New Year is the hottest time of year.  We had a little rain about three times, including today, but not much rain actually fell.

I put a lot of papaya seeds in the ground. Quite a few papaya came up in pots, where I didn’t really want them, and almost none came up in situ, where I had put seeds, and thus I wanted them. So today I transplanted them from where they’d come up to the back lane.

transplanted papaya

transplanted papaya

one is already falling over.  It died in the end

one is already falling over. It died in the end

papaya

papaya

These papaya I transplanted a few months ago

Then tonight I read that papayas hate being transplanted.  Well, I have done it plenty of times before and they survived and grew, but perhaps it set them back a bit – I don’t know.

What I also read:

  • Sun Light: Grow best in full sun. Papayas love the heat and sunlight.
  • Fertilize: Papayas are heavy feeders and require regular fertilizing. Adding compost is also recommended.
  • Water: Papayas have large soft leaves and evaporate a lot of water in warm weather, so they need above average watering.
  • Soil: Papayas do best in rich soil that is high in organic matter. Make sure your planting location and soil has good drainage to avoid root rot.

See more at: http://www.tropicalfloridagardens.com/2011/06/27/growing-caring-for-papaya-trees/

Since then a lot of seeds I put in germinated, but some of the transplanted papaya died – snails and mealy bugs, mostly were the cause, plus the roots didn’t hold them upright securely enough.

I put some passion fruit seeds in, and snails killed one pronto, but I then protected the other sprouts, and now they are about two or three inches tall.

snails attack passion fruit seedling

snails attack passion fruit seedling

I’ve seen a grasshopper around, and some leaves eaten like the one below.  Fortunately they are the mature plants’ leaves, so it’s no problem.

grasshoppers eat passion fruit vine leaves

grasshoppers eat passion fruit vine leaves

happy hibiscus

happy hibiscus

This rat somehow or other it got itself into this bin and couldn’t escape.  They can carry nasty diseases so it’s not safe to let them stay around.  Around twice a year I have to trap one.

this rat looks cute - somehow or other it got itself into this bin and couldn't escape.

this rat looks cute – somehow or other it got itself into this bin and couldn’t escape.

Squirrels attack a passion fruit once every three days at the moment, so I protect them with these tea envelopes from Daiso.  Mostly it works.

squirrel protection

squirrel protection

I always thought mulch was good.  But it turns out it is hiding snails.  So I removed it.

mulch

mulch before removal

snails

snails under the mulch

A pumpkin actually grew to maturity.

pumpkin

pumpkin

A papaya came up from seed.  The blue pea flower is staying for the moment.

papaya

papaya

I tidied up the concrete garden.

green

green space

The squirrel got this passion fruit.

squirrel attack

squirrel attack

attacked

squirrel attack

After this I harvested almost all remaining passion fruit, except for the ones that felt very light, and thus probably weren’t ready.

harvested

harvested

The lime tree ha never been very successful at fruiting.  I am now getting a few small fruit.

lime

limes

It’s a happy time of year for bougainvillea

bougenvillea

bougainvillea

I moved and repotted a couple of bougainvillea

bougenvillea

bougainvillea

Elsewhere, happy bougainvillea

bougenvillea

bougainnvillea

bougenvillea

bougainvillea

Now I am sundrying leaves for one or two days

leaves

leaves

and then I crunch them up when crispy, and put them into the compost

crunched up

crunched up

growing

growing well and happy with lots of water

this

this is even happier this week

them

them – forgotten their name

Over the past year I have put a lot of mock orange seeds into the soil.  The previous years they have germinated and come up sometime around Christmas or after. Then I could transplant lots of seedlings into small pots, and give them away, or grow them bigger. But this year it hasn’t happened. No little mock orange plants. It’s disappointing.

growing well

mock oranges growing well

I can sometimes see the birds land on this mock orange and eat the ripe seeds

1

bird magnet

mock orange seed

mock orange seed

These passion fruit seedlings which I grew from seed and put into the soil last month are growing really well

2

these passion fruit seedlings which I grew from seed and put into the soil last month are growing really well

I have pruned the passion fruit vines right back.  I probably should have done it before Christmas, as the vines are growing again now, but with all the rain for the last months of the year they were flowing then.

pruning passion fruit

pruning passion fruit

What I am not sure of is if I should prune back to the wood, as below, or leave some green stem and leaves, as above. I did both to see.

pruning passion fruit

pruning passion fruit

plumbago

plumbago

As of last week the rest of the papaya seeds I had put in have come up.

papaya

papaya

blue pea

blue pea doing well as I water daily

blue pea

blue pea will survive without much watering, but are happy with the water

boug

bougainvillea is getting better the longer the hot days continue

boug

the transplanted bougainvillea is doing OK

boug

the other transplanted bougainvillea is surviving

Due to all the rain last year the passion fruit season has been very long.  There are only about three left on the vine, and I notice there is a flower, but it probably won’t produce fruit.

passion fruit

pretty well the last passion fruit of this season

Let’s make a traffic jam – that’ll be fun

The morning rush hour is roughly 7AM to 9AM.  A good time to do non-essential road work, and make a long traffic jam, holding up thousands of people.

So about 7AM, I am told, they set up the signs, initially blocking two lanes, but by the time I was there, 45 minutes later, blocking only one lane.  Nevertheless, the jam extended back to at least way up Gurney Drive.

 

Gurney Drive

Gurney Drive

Gurney Drive

Gurney Drive

Northam Road

Northam Road

Northam Road

Northam Road

start of road works

start of road works

start of road works

start of road works

the actual road works

the actual road works

once past the blockage it was clear

once past the blockage it was clear

around 9am - this is the completed job

around 9am – this is the completed job

now no jam

now no jam

I apologise if this work was urgently necessary, due to a burst main or something.  But there was no sign of this.  And, as usual, no information about what is happening, and no advance warning so that drivers could take an alternative route.

As for me, I took the car home and walked instead.  I normally don’t walk as cars splash me with water if it’s raining – but it’s the dry season – because cars park on the footpath and force me – and motorcyclists riding on the footpath – to walk onto the busy road, and because of those motorcyclists. etc. etc.

cutting mangoes

The way I learnt to cut mangoes is as follows:

Stand mango and cut from top down on one side of the seed, and then on the other side of the seed.

2015-02-10 10.42.16 (Copy)

You can peel and eat the small amount of mango that remains around the seed. Then cut through the flesh across and down, not pressing too hard so the skin remains uncut.

2015-02-10 10.43.03 (Copy)

Then press the middle of the bottom of the mango and the cubes you have created separate.

2015-02-10 10.43.15 (Copy)

I just then scoop the cubes out into a bowl and eat with some passion fruit and / or cream, if I have them.

Otherwise you can freeze the cubes if all your mangoes ripen at once.

Waterlily mangoes

2015-02-09 08.51.53 (Copy)

Golden Waterlily mangoes are on special at the moment in Tesco, for RM6.88 per kilo. They have a sweet, light taste.

We cube and scoop out the fruit and freeze it for any surplus.  You can eat it as it is thawing – with cream, ice cream, or on its own, and it’s delicious.

for that late autumn feeling in Penang…

If you would like a bit of that late autumn feeling in Penang, although admittedly rather too warm for autumn and it’s February, head over to the small river near Sussex House.  Cross the river on the bridge from the Sussex House car park…

1-2015-02-07 15.48.36 (Copy)

the bridge you cross

… and you can wander among the bare deciduous trees with their fallen  leaves underfoot.

desciduous trees

deciduous trees

crunchy fallen leaves

crunchy fallen leaves

desciduous trees

deciduous trees

warm "autumnish" sunshine

warm “autumnish” sunshine

warm "autumnish" sunshine

warm “autumnish” sunshine