Browsing Tag

birds

City

Aloe Vera assault

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I haven’t had much luck with growing food this past winter/monsoon season in Singapore. Weather aside, my plants have been on the receiving end of avian assaults, some have been pecked at, some even uprooted. This is the first time it has ever happened in our garden.

I was already pretty miffed when I had lost some nasturtium plants, a baby winged bean, rosella fruits and seedlings, and a cos lettuce plant. The initial suspects were the chickens, but the lack of footprints conveyed that we have a light-footed thief on our hands. Recently, I realised that a band of mynahs enjoy loitering in that area, and I would see the odd spotted necked dove, plus there’s this solo friendly bird that was suspiciously hanging around the scene of the crime today. So it could be any or even all of them.

But it was upon seeing all my aloe vera plants in this horrid state that had really peeved me off. I need to really net my plants now. These birds must be really hungry to have considered eating this, and seeing it’s quite bitter at the skin, I’m surprised that the birds enjoy this so much. Or maybe they are thirsty, or maybe they like its jellied texture.  Some research online showed that many birds enjoy eating aloe vera.

As much as I believe in leaving plants in their natural state, I’ll have to keep them all enclosed in netting. It’s either sterile gardening or no gardening, I’m afraid. So I won’t be starting any seedlings till I get some netting. I’m back to Australia next week, so expect Autumn updates soon!

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City

Rambutan season is here!

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It’s rambutan season, something that my family and I have been looking forward to, but it’s not just us that have been anticipating harvest day for this subtle flavoured fruit. My garden has been getting all kinds of feather-cloaked visitors, and our 60-year old tree recently attracted a flock of colourful birds, which my friend has identified as moustached parakeets. I’d not seen them before, and they brought vibrancy to the property with their bird calls.

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It’s not unusual to find rambutan shells littered on the ground, and once in a while, we find a seedlings growing in different parts of the garden, even in our compost bin! Evidently, the birds and bats are doing a good job of dispersing seeds.

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Ants are enjoying them also…

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This year’s harvest wasn’t our best though. Because we didn’t prune the tree this year, plus there has been more wet weather than usual of late, most rambutans developed powdery mildew on the outer skin, which is unfortunate. It was still enough to share with some friends and family, so we are grateful that we had a fair bit to go around.

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Not so long ago, we had two of these trees, but the second one was a target of termites, and wasn’t doing too well, so we removed it. Since then, our remaining tree has grown to become more luscious and looks healthier than ever. It also helped that we fertilised it with chicken poo at the roots.

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Our garden certainly needs more fruit plants. Most of our trees are either pine trees or of the flowering variety, which are my parent’s preferred kind of low maintenance plants. When my grandma was around, we had lots more fruit and vegetable plants, we even had geese. It’s time to grow this garden to its full potential.

We have some new plants, courtesy of my brother and sister-in-law, who have had some success growing papaya plants from seed on their apartment balcony. They brought over four healthy looking plants and transplanted two in the ground, and two into pots. If all goes well, we will have some juicy papayas by summer!

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