Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Enjoy Fresh Vegetables by Planting Your Own

This is the third time I worked on this piece of vacant land in front of my house to prevent it from becoming an eyesore and a breeding place for all sort of pests.  By turning it into a vegetable plot it will provide me with fresh home grown vegetables as well as provide me with a good exercise to sweat it out and remove those toxins from my blood system.
The first time I started working on this idle patch of land in front of my house was in March 2009. I had to stop barely after 3 months later because the land owner brought a team of surveyors to demarcate the boundaries of his 3 house lots.
Seeing that nothing was being done by the landowner after a year I worked on the land again but had to stop during the monsoon of 2011 due to the area becoming water logged as the drain that used to drain the area was clogged up with sand and debris. Together with two other neighbours we cleaned up the drain and constructed a concrete sump to prevent further clogging, thus rendering the area to be usable again.

This was how the area looked like way back in 2009. The area was covered with rumput buluh or rumput bulu (lopatherum gracile) and semalu (mimosa sp).
 I had asked my neighbour Pak Mat to join me in working the area as he had done so the fist time with me. Being old he preferred to maintain his small plot of maize and watermelon planted in rubber tyres filled with soil to raise its level for fear that a heavy rain may submerge his plants.
Pak Mat's garden.
 Pak Mat's sole watermelon  fruit only managed to grow to palm size. I doubt it can grow any bigger than this as his soil in the tyre is very limited.

Clearing up the area was much easier this time around as a neighbour had used the area for his cattles to graze and thus the grasses were kept low. In March this year I started to plant up the area with the usual vegetables which is easy to plant and which I love to eat. Yes you guessed it right, kangkong and bayam again.
A few beds were made and planted.

The initial two beds of kangkong (ipomea aquatic) and bayam merah or red spinach (Amaranthus gangeticus). All the beds were four feet wide at the base and 9 inches high with varying lengths.

 A simple shallow well was dug to provide the water. Since the land is close to an irrigation canal, the seepage from it kept the water table high. Should the well dry up when the canal is not functioning during the rice harvesting season, I will have to water the plants using water from my tap.

Another bed was added to accomodate the exess seedlings that needed to be thinned once the seeds germinated. The cangkul was all the tool I need to cultivate the soil.

More beds were created and by now I have added the ubi setelo or keledek or sweet potatoes (ipomea batatas), ubi kayu (manihot sativus) and serai or lemongrass (cymbopogon) to the list of plants found in my vegetable plot.

The kangkong was easy to plant but somehow the red spinach failed me and I had it replaced with sawi or choy sam to the Chinese.
Young kangkong plants will taste great especially if it is fried with belacan. I prefer it in soup with rice noodles garnished with a rich dose of fresh prawns.

The sawi (Brassica sp.) or choy sam to the Chinese isn't our favorite vegetable and after the first crop, I stopped planting it.

My first bed of sweet potatoes and beside it the newly planted tapioca bed.

The maize plot is growing very well. Soon I will have them boiled.

The plot is enlarging.

Where I threw my previous crop of red spinach, a new crop emerges. What luck.

My gardening tools with my gardening shoes.

My sweet potato is nearing maturity after 3 months.

The exposed tubers after some digging.

The harvest from the first bed of keledek. Though not much, the nearest neighbors will get them too.

The proximity of the vegetable plot to my house made it possible for me to tend to the plants daily.

With enough exercise working on the plot, I am eating well and putting on weight. I am looking forward to Ramadhan and hopefully a month of fasting will help to shed off some fat. The produce from the plot will be shared with the neighbors some especially those that suppled me with seeds and manure. It will be payback time and thank you Allah for allowing me to gain some pahala sedekah.


Pak Idrus said...

Great job Zawi. I do envy you.

How I wished I have land nearby to do what you did. True, the best exercise of it all.

Have a nice day.

Oldstock said...

Pak Zawi,

You have green hands... rajin bekebun. Alhamdlillah rezeki dapat dikongsi sesama jiran-jiran.

Pak Zawi said...

Pak idrus,
I am indeed lucky to have that vacant land right in front of my house. Fortunately none of my other neighbors dared to touch the land as the owner is not staying near here.
Yeah it is good exercise.
Have a good day yourself.

Pak Zawi said...

I am an agriculturist, it will be a shame if I fail to plant such easy to grow vegetables. There is more than enough for my family of two so giving them out to the neighbors is a matter of course. The pahala is better than whatever money I could get from selling the produce.

Keringat said...

Alhamdulillah Pak Zawi, the keledek looks good. Sira keledek for kueh berbuka this coming Ramadan can be a good option. Keep up the good work. Very healthy lifestyle indeed !!

Pak Zawi said...

Alhamdulillah, Allah gives me the chance to produce food using my own two hands. It is indeed a healthy lifestyle as I get to eat fresh vegetables everyday. It should be a lifestyle of all Malaysians if we were to the ever increasing food price nowadays.

Al-Manar said...

As an agriculturist by training you certainly have shown your skill. I own a piece of land adjacent to my house and it if full of lalang. I have made saveral attempts to have it done the way you have but managed to get as far as clearing the lallang. I tried weedkiller which killed but not the little hardy schrubs. I need your skill to get the first step of seeing the earth clear of these unwanted vegetation.

Pak Zawi said...

The only chemical weedicide that can slowly and surely kill the lalang is those that contain glyphosate such as Roundup. It will systematically kill the root and deprive the plant of it's food. Since it is a narrow spectrum weedicide it kills only a specific variety of weeds which is the narrow leaves weeds such as grasses including lalang. The best way to get rid of lalang and most weeds is to dig up the roots and burn them if the area you are working on is small. That is the way I do it. I remove all roots and also stones and other materials that will not disintegrate in the soil.
InsyaAllah you can do it.

Temuk said...

Seronoknya, Pak Zawi! Seronok sihat, insya-Allah, + seronok hasil. The plot beside mine is also vacant. It's about 15,000 sq ft. The owner came over about 10 years ago, saying to me he'd build a house on the land soon. Nothing done till now. My neighbour and I have to keep the plot "semakless" using the service of a "weed killer". Unfortunately we don't have the time & energy to plant anything on the land.

Selamat menyambut Ramadhan mulia. Semoga segala amalan kita diredhai Allah.

Pak Zawi said...

In Malaysia there are too many idle land not being used for anything. The government should play a part in making such idle land productive.
When my late mother was alive I remember tilling other people's land to plant rice, tapioaca and many other crop on neighbours land with their permission of course as the owner was not using the land for anything. So no one can claim not being able to plant anything for the lack of land to till.
In your case somebody in your neighbourhood should approach the land owner to work on the land and make it productive as 15,000 sq. ft of land is more than enough to grow vegetables for some families.
Selamat menyambut Ramadhan Al Mubarak.

~Covert_Operations'78~ said...

Wow, well done, Pak Zawi! I love gardening too! I love the pic of the watermelon. It looks so cute, like a toy.

Carolyne Neo said...

My mother always emphasizes us to eat vegetables. I know vegetables are good for health but I’ve never grow them once by myself. But, I did help my mother to grow her vegetables sometimes by taking care of the vegetables. It’s quite fun actually and who knows growing vegetables can be a new hobby for us. Seeing all the wonderful pictures of the vegetables that you grew is really inspiring me to plant vegetables at my backyard. It is more efficient and I don’t even need to waste my car oil just to go to the market when I have my own fresh vegetables that I can get at home. Just great!

ivy said...

Ive always wanted to eat freshly plucked vegetables from the garden. Not only its pests free, its also organic.
You showed such dedication to your garden and motivate your readers with your experience. And as a result you have a beautiful garden and also enjoy fresh vegetables everyday. Thank you for this informative blog. :)