QUOTE OF THE MONTH: "We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses."-- Abraham Lincoln

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Monday, 24 November 2014

Back to the winter

It's been quite some time since I posted here. I really don't have a reason for that, even though, there was lots of things I could have shared, but, I didn't. Though, I've been a bit busy off late with some of my responsibilities (both personal and professional), one thing never took a backseat, and that's my love for gardening. I've been gardening all the time, and as I said in the last post, there are lots of things happening at my rooftop garden, more importantly since winter has set it.
This time around, it's the dianthuses that I bought and planted in pots. None of the plants grew quite big, all three of the four saplings I bought, and which survived, are blooming now. Though the colours, were a bit disappointing after expecting to get varied colours, I suppose, the results are not as much disappointing.

The pink dianthuses are adding a bit of colour in my garden, which these days are beautified by the return of the blooms of the red and the pink roses, the orange and the yellow marigolds. And there are literally hundreds of chrysanthemum buds in the 5-6 pots having chrysanthemum plants, and most of them will be blooming within a week's time, atleast the orange ones will.

Dianthus Plant
The small dianthus plant bearing the flower buds.
Dianthus Bloom
A pink dianthus bloom.
Dianthus Bloom
Another dark-pink dianthus bloom, with a white ring outwards.
Dianthus Bloom
Another dark-pink dianthus bloom, with a white ring outwards.
Dianthus Blooms
Pink dianthus blooms, two different colours in different plants.
Here's some shots from the dianthus blooms my garden has got. Dianthuses are pretty beautiful looking plants as the variety of colours and patterns these plants are available in, makes them perfect for beautifying the front porches, sides of walkways. Since I have limited space, I can't really get on the great colour effects I've seen dianthuses showing, but anyways, I can enjoy whatever colours these plants provide in the limited numbers.

The next installment this month, will be cover my chrysanthemum plants bearing hundreds of buds and I'm expecting a colour riot right on my rooftop, hundreds of cream orange and white coloured chrysanthemums blooming in my 5-6 chrysanthemum pots. It'll be a scene worth experience, and worth a year's wait. I'll be back, right before the month ends, to share the development in the chrysanth blooms.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

What's Growing - Malabar Spinach

My gardening adventures, has always been a mixed bag of activities, a bag, that I like quite a lot and do like sharing here as well, and quite proudly. While I vie to make my garden beautiful in terms visual beauty, my mother has been towards functionality. While I get flowering plants and seeds, she's been trying whatever eatables she could plant. A couple of weeks back, I posted about the brinjals/aubergines/eggplants for which she asked me to get the saplings of, we planted the plants and after a couple of months, we were able to harvest a good produce from around half a dozen brinjal plants. The scarcity in rainfall did have a serious impact on the produce, and the plants, were quite unable to produce to their full potential. Since then we have harvested some really hot green chillies as well, again from a couple of plants in some pots. I bought lotus seeds, planted them and have got the plants now.
My mother, a couple of months back, had bought some Malabar spinach as vegetable from the market. She decided to have a few stems planted in one of the pots, to see if it really becomes a plant, and to our luck, one of those stems did grow to become a plant. Malabar spinach is a leafy plant, leaves and stems of which are consumed as vegetable. The leaves of the plant are particularly thick and have a typical gloss which makes the leaves quite showy in the green colour. I decided to find some nutritional information from sources like Wikipedia, as I normally do in posts featuring most of the edible plants, we grow. Here's some information about the Malabar spinach.

Common Name: Malabar Spinach, Poi/Pui, Indian Spinach, Ceylon Spinach
Botanical Name: Basella Alba
Type of plant: Vine, creeper.
Native of: Known as a native of Indian Subcontinent, Southeast Asia and New Guinea. It is known to have been naturalized in a number of other countries, primarily because it is used as a vegetable.
Sunlight: Loves full sunlight.
Colours: Foliage - Light to dark green. Blooms - white to purplish.
Soil Conditions: Isn't very fussy when it comes to soil conditions. But does best in fertile soils with good amount of moisture and organic contents (humus).
Propagation: Stem cuttings, seeds.
Varieties: Apart from the green one featured here.


Minerals
Calcium, Ca
109 mg
Iron, Fe
1.2 mg
Magnesium, Mg
65 mg
Phosphorus, P
52 mg
Potassium, K
510 mg
Sodium, Na
24 mg
Zinc, Zn
0.43 mg
Copper, Cu
0.107 mg
Manganese, Mn
0.735 mg
Selenium, Se
0.8 µg
Vitamins
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid
102 mg
Thiamin
0.05 mg
Riboflavin
0.155 mg
Niacin
0.5 mg
Pantothenic acid
0.053 mg
Vitamin B-6
0.24 mg
Folate, total
140 µg
Folic acid
0 µg
Folate, food
140 µg
Folate, DFE
140 µg
Vitamin B-12
0 µg
Vitamin A, RAE
400 µg
Retinol
0 µg
Vitamin A, IU
8000 IU
Vitamin D (D2 + D3)
0 µg
Vitamin D
0 IU
Metro Greens: Malabar Spinach
The small plant that grew from the small stem that my mother planted
Metro Greens: Malabar Spinach
The small plant started to grow bigger.
Metro Greens: Malabar Spinach
The growing malabar spinach vine. Notice the shine on the leaves.
Metro Greens: Malabar Spinach
The growing malabar spinach vine. Notice the shine on the leaves.

The plant, infact, the vine, which has grown from a small plastic pot to become a more than 12 feet long vine has now reached the blooming stage, with the plant bearing quite a lot of buds. I think, I'll let it bloom and bear fruits, to try planting the seeds from the next year. Since this vine is really easy to plant and needs absolutely no care and growing so big in a small pot like that, I can say that it doesn't need lots of space as well.
Metro Greens: Malabar Spinach
The growing malabar spinach vine. Here are the small buds that I noticed a few days back.
Metro Greens: Malabar Spinach
Here's small buds that I captured with my cellphone camera today, afternoon.
Metro Greens: Malabar Spinach
Here's small buds that I captured with my cellphone camera today, in the afternoon.
Metro Greens: Malabar Spinach
Here's small buds that I captured with my cellphone camera today, in the afternoon.
In the upcoming posts, I have a lot of options to share with you. My chrysanthemum plants have started bearing buds, with all the plants now featuring small buds, which, I think will give me blooms in the upcoming week or so. Then I am yet to share the lotus plants which now have small round leaves typical to lotuses. Then I'll be having this Malabar spinach vine blooming by the next week. I'll be back with something from these in the upcoming week. Till then keep trying and HAPPY GARDENING!