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Monday, December 11, 2017

How To Grow Rosemary in the Tropics

1 tiny seedling in a BIG pot in July 2017.

The same seedling in December 2017.

7 tiny seedlings in generous pots in July 2017.

The same seedlings in December 2017.

Soil Mix
50% perlite + 50% Jiffy potting mix. However, any off the shelf cactus mix will work.

Sun Conditions
As much sun as possible. In the summer, near Aix en Provence, rosemary gets 10 to 11 hours of direct sun in temperatures of 40 Deg Celsius. They LOVE the sun. The more sun you give them, the faster they grow.

Water Conditions
They hate wet feet. Never water at night. Always water the rosemary at the time when the sun shines directly on its leaves. This ensures immediate transpiration throughout the plant and prevents wet feet at night.

Rosemary roots are susceptible to root rot. Once the fine tendrils of roots begin to rot, the rosemary will be unable to uptake water and nutrients. The leaves will begin to curl. The bottom leaves will turn brown.

If you do nothing, the root rot will spread and your rosemary will die.

How To Rescue a Rosemary Plant from Root Rot
Uproot the plant. Trim off the rotted roots. Be THOROUGH when you trim, or the root rot will spread. Then, your plant will die. Remove as much soil as possible. Lay the plant on DRY newspaper to dry out. When nice and dry, repot into CACTUS mix. 

Remember to note the percentage of roots you have removed. You will later need to trim the same percentage off the leaves and stems too.

Placement of Rosemary
Place under glass roof to get direct sunlight but NO RAIN. Rosemary hates rain. It hates daily watering. I only water when I feel the pot is very light (i.e., soil is fully dry). Feel the weight of your pot before watering. Feel the weight of your pot after watering. Water only when soil is DRY.

When watering, water generously until water drains out the pot holes below.

How to Rescue a Root Bound Rosemary
Most people prune the leaves of the rosemary to eat. However, to ensure the long term survival of a potted rosemary, it is important to trim its roots too. When the rosemary's large roots fill the pot, there is no space for the fine roots to grow. When that happens, there is again insufficient uptake of water and nutrients. The bottom leaves will turn brown and wither away.

A potted rosemary plant needs to be pruned at the roots and repotted in new cactus soil at least once a year. A video speaks a thousand words. Click HERE.

How to Fertilise a Rosemary
I give worm pee, Guanito pellets, Phenix pellets, gypsum powder, home made kitchen compost and worm poo. These are all organic fertilisers. I mix everything in water and steep overnight. Then, I water to all my plants, rosemary included.

I water all my plants with this very dilute fertiliser solution. It is always better to give very diluted fertiliser water, than to give a lot of fertiliser pellets. Too much fertiliser pellets will lead to fertiliser burn.

Rosemary From Nurseries or Cold Storage
It is in the financial interests of rosemary growers to...
- get a full and lush pot of rosemary in as little time as possible
- NOT facilitate the long term survival of your rosemary plant.

Hence, growers will crowd 4 to 5 seedlings to a pot. The rosemary hates having its roots crowded. If you want your rosemary to grow big, you need to give the roots ample space to grow, failing which, your rosemary will become root bound and die.

Hence, when you get a pot from the nursery, tease apart every individual plant and repot in its own generous pot with ample space to grow. Then, ensure a lot of direct sun, very little water and very well draining soil.

Kaypoh Jee

We have had a clutch of Zebra Dove eggs hatch in our garden. The babies grew up and forage in our garden for seeds and insects. They are very tame. They like to fly into the house to explore and to investigate what we are doing. Since they are a mated pair, I have named one bird, "Kaypoh" and the other bird "Jee". The female bird is Kaypoh and the male bird is Jee.

Together, they are Kaypoh Jee.

Milo has killed 2 birds previously already. After getting scolded, he has understood that he should be gentle. He did try to be gentle this time but the bird still suffered abrasions and lost feathers. I am quite sure that Milo means no harm. He simply does not know his own strength.

Anyway, he was sorry. We can tell because we made him sit in Naughty Corner. When we came back 10 minutes later, he was still in the Naughty Corner. Usually, if guilt is not weighing on his conscience, he gets out of the Naughty Corner the moment we leave the room. Misdemeanours like running out the gate for a jolly run around the neighbourhood is apparently not a sin in Milo's books. He barely even agrees to sit in Naughty Corner. When he does, he has that Roll Eyes This Is Unfair Look on his face.

This time, he looked very sorry.

Milo in Naughty Corner.

Kaypoh is doing well, eating a lot and is very perky. Jee comes by often to visit her. I don't dare to let her go because I caught some mynahs circling the cage. They can tell that she is hurt. If I set her free and her feathers are not grown back, the mynahs will kill her.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Childhood Dream Come True

The irony of my life is that I never dreamt of all the most treasured blessings that I do possess. The childhood dreams that I had, usually did not come to pass. I dreamt of becoming a Princess. Nope! Didn't happen! I dreamt of living in a renovated shophouse. Then, I discovered that they tend to be dark houses, with the occasional ghostly inhabitant. My dream crumbled to nothing. I also dreamt of living in a castle (goes with being a Princess you see) but castles are very cold places in winter, and cost a lot to heat (which offends my bank account).

I dreamt of owning a doll house. Other girls had doll houses. I never had one. Now I have one! Yay! It is not as nice as this one HERE, but still, I love it.

The fridge has ice cubes, bottles of cold water, milk, butter and cheeese. The telephone comes with 2 thick phone books and its own table.

The piano comes with a piano score. The oven comes with a shepherd's pie and cookies on a tray.

The meal is set for 4 people, with lemonade, pizza, cake, ice cream and a salad.

Little Boy's bedroom is in the loft. See how full his schoolbag is? Apparently, he does Music in school.

The Daughter's bedroom is at the top of the tree house. She has her very own patio and a sweet, girlie room.

I insisted to have a garden. The Husband can read his newspapers in the lovely armchair too!

Finally, I now have an outdoor bathroom with a clawfoot tub!

The toilet adjoins the bathroom.

The laundry room comes with a laundry basket, softener and liquid detergent.

There is even a garden swing!

The buffet table has a vase with flowers. The study desk has a pencil sharpener, pencils and a crayon.

Apparently, my helper's childhood dream has also been fulfilled. She saw me, head bent over my tiny furnishings and she asked, "Can I help?" Forthwith, I am not sure who had more fun - she or I. It has become quite interesting to get up in the mornings to see things moved around in surprising ways. Then, I proceed to move them somewhere else.

It is like the characters got up in the night and moved around, but sigh... I know it is my helper.