Life's better with cake and a sprinkle of fairy dust
My husband tells me I have the touch of death when it comes to gardening.
In my defense, I’ve only killed a couple (okay, four) pots of money plants in our bathroom. And lost a kaffir lime plant to a poorly-ventilated kitchen in my rental apartment before I got wedded. I blamed it on the bad fengshui, Plus the pot of rosemary which died from root rot (or over-watering, whatever). And the Mexican Coriander that nearly got annihilated sitting on our kitchen windowsill. Even the cat grass wasn’t spared.
So, I’m not going to win a medal for Most Beautiful Garden any time soon, but hey, our apartment is on the FOURTH floor and our kitchen windowsill really only gets 12 minutes, max, of direct sunlight every morning. Believe me. I timed. While grieving the demise of the cat grass.
So imagine my delight when our lovely neighbour in the first floor unit offered me the use of the grassy patch in front of their home to grow anything I wanted, in return for all the bread and pastries from school I’ve been plying them with.
It’s been less than 2 weeks and my little herb garden is looking pretty good.
I divided the Mexican Coriander that was on its last legs into 3 little plants, threw away the one with withered roots and repotted the other two that were still good. Managed to save those and they revived after a week of strong sunlight, some organic fertiliser pellets and a few days of heavy rainfall.
There’s that pot of basil I bought from the market for $5. It thrived and grew 15cm in a week. It also started to flower, so I pinched off the tips of the flowering stems to encourage the plant to produce more essential oil, ie. more flavoursome leaves.
The following week, I went back to the same stall and bought a Pandan plant, so I can make desserts like green bean soup and cook nasi lemak. The nice aunty gave me a $1 discount. Woohoo. There are mostly still baby leaves and hardly any aroma. Guess nasi lemak from home-grown pandan won’t be happening anytime soon.
What else… Ooh, that little plastic container of soil in the backgound? My classmate in baking school passed me some mature basil pods from her garden. I’ve never planted basil from seeds before, so let’s have a go.
Those clusters of dried flowers? Each little cluster consists of 4-6 blooms. Each tiny bloom holds 2 pairs of tiny, black basil seeds. Best to do this on a piece of white paper. Those seeds are tiny! I harvested about 24 of these tiny seeds and planted them inch-deep in potting mix. Fingers crossed, we’ll see seedlings in about 4 weeks.
Did you know that basil seeds, when rehydrated in water for a couple of hours, forms a gelatinous membrane around itself and becomes a popular addition to many Malay drinks and desserts?
Does this ring a bell? Yeap, same stuff. To think when I was a kid, I seriously thought they were tadpole eggs.
I’m slowly building up a list of plants I want to grow in my little herb garden. Mostly herbs and spices we use in our home cooking and baking like coriander, rosemary, parsley, dill, thyme, lemon balm, Thai basil, chilli, kangkong… My husband thinks I’ve gone barmy.
Touch of death? I’ll show you.