Saturday, July 11, 2009

Thriving again

Pots of dill waiting to be given away
My mini-terrarium method of growing from cuttings. 
Beautiful curry leaf berries.
Bushy Terragon grown from a sprig given by a neighbor.
Sage thriving from a sprig given to me by a dear friend.
Thyme and basil just released from its plastic protective dome.

Thriving again

My herb patch was hit by a swarm of red spider mites which were extremely difficult to eradicate. Fortunately they did not attack my precious European herbs but attacked the butterfly pea till they all perished. Even the passion fruit vines were not spared. I tried everything from soap water vegetable oil emulsions, neem oil and even sourdough starters to glue them. The only thing I did not use was chemical based pesticides as I did not want to poison myself ingesting pesticides. I had to re-grow all the butterfly pea again. This time round, I spread the seeds from two different plants to ensure cross-fertilization.  The plants are thriving again with many seed pods hanging on the vines.

Just as suddenly as they had appeared, they were greatly reduced in recent weeks and the plants seem to be thriving again. I wish I knew the reason and can only guess that it was because of the cooler weather. It is yet again another example of the maxim that difficulties do not last forever.  I am reminded again of Adi Shankara's Vivekachudami (Crest Jewel of Wisdom).

My herb patch has grown because I found an effective way of growing herbs from cuttings given to me by friends or bought from the supermarket. The cuttings are dipped in rooting hormone and planted in a sealed plastic container with a little water. The moisture is sealed in and the cutting does not dry out while the leaves are still able to make food. Over a week or two, the roots will sprout and the cutting can then be transplanted onto the soil. After transplanting, the plant is capped with the plastic container for another couple of weeks. It protects the vulnerable young plant from the rain, wind and insects.



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