Among the greenery in my garden, there's actually stuff I grow to eat. The odd herbs and fruit trees somehow complete what I would like my garden to be.
Herbs are easy to grow in our climate. It's the choices that's bewildering. There's always the perennial question posed by my husband, ' Where is the space??' Tongue in cheek, I say, 'On my head!!'
The aromatic mint is easy enough to grow. Just tending and lightly brushing the plant is enough to give an unmistakeable minty aroma. It spreads by underground creepers. Many a time one needs only a few leaves. If there's none in one's garden, the supermarts sell a whole bunch and inevitably the rest go to waste. The shoot and tender leaves are eaten fresh as ulam or to flavour ulam dishes such as kerabu ( mixed salad) and nasi kerabu ( herbed rice).
For the asam laksa ( soured noodles), asam pedas ( hot-soured soup) and tom yam 'devotees', the daun kesum ( polygomnum minus) with its light aromatic smell , is a sure winner. Easily they can be mistaken for another weed! For a different flavour to the fried rice, cut some fresh and sprinkle on top. What a difference it makes !
My brother -in -law, Mus gave me a small variety of banana. He calls it 'pisang serendah'. Translated it means ' low banana' which is exactly what it is. At your waist height, the bananas when ripe, are easily plucked. They do not need to turn the ripe yellow one is accustomed to. Just a little hint of yellow and it's good enough to eat! And there's always the ready platters for the odd Indian banana leaf meal . Eat and dispose!
I've had bumper crops of the limau kasturi which is such a delight. Hot days means ice -cold quenching citrus drinks. Squueze them and mix them with syrup to your taste. Cheers! Cut in half, it is served with fried noodles and soups. For the sambal belacan, it is the juice that gives the tangy flavour.
I have only myself to blame for the scraggy guava tree. Previously the flowers were aborting.It's so important to give plants a good headstart.Thankfully Nature is all -giving! Finally fruits are appearing. Yes, the pollinators are busy. I asked the nursery man for the seedless variety and I hope to taste a sweet harvest.
Another favourite local fruit of mine is the starfruit which is full of Vit C. However, it'll be a while before any fruit develops. When it was Chinese New Year, I visited a nursery just outside my alma mater, Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus,Taiping. I was hard pressed to make a choice of fruit trees to plant. There's always the question of space. I'm keeping my fingers crossed it will give me good quality fruits - all because it's the farmer's pick!