Count Your Blessings!

With love and passion, everyone can have a nice garden...Elaine Yim

Count Your Blessings!
Count The Garden By The Flowers, Never By The Leaves That Fall.
Count Your Life With Smiles And Not The Tears That Roll.
..... Author unknown.

Knowing me, Knowing you..... Aha.....!

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Friday, June 25, 2010

From the Garbage to My Garden and the Kitchen

“From the Garbage to My Garden and the Kitchen”, a copyrighted post, was written for My Nice Garden blog by Autumn Belle @

I have been growing pineapple plants from the crowns of store bought pineapples since 2004. I grow them all in flower pots with a diameter of about 1 foot. I put a roller at the bottom of each pot, just in case I need to move it around. Each pineapple costs me RM 2.00 - RM 5.00 (about a US dollar) depending on the type of pineapple and the mood of the vendor. I normally use the pineapples for prayers and after that, I'll eat it or use it to cook curry or make pineapple fried rice. Now, instead of throwing the crown into the garbage bin, I use it to grow a pineapple plant that will bear fruit for my kitchen use.

Growing pineapples is a long term investment, judging from the fact that I have to wait at least 18 months before it starts to flower.

The above plant was grown from a single crown and it is more than one year old now. Sometime ago, it started to 'reproduce' and ended up with additional 6 offsprings. Now, it looks as though I have 7 pineapple plants in a single container. They are so close together I can't differentiate which is the mother plant and which are the suckers, slips or ratoons. How nice if all of them flower at the same time! Maybe I'm getting too greedy, hah?

This baby is just a few months old. It seemed to have firmly rooted on the soil. Only one pineapple plant here. I used to have some blue Torenia fournieri in my garden but it had died back and disappeared completely a few months ago. I am planting some pink ones now. Recently, the blue torenias reappeared in my garden and I can find the little ones everywhere, from the front to the back yard. This one has moved in to live with my baby pineapple plant. Meanwhile, I don't mind since it makes the pot look good anyway.

I have a link below which may be of interest to you regarding growing pineapples in temperate zones. The site is called Tropical Permaculture.

How to make Pineapple Fried Rice - My simple homemade DIY recipe:
Fry some finely chopped garlic in cooking oil and a few drops of sesame oil in a heated pan. Add in some chopped pineapple flesh. You may also add some prawns, mince meat or finely chopped french beans if you like. Stir fry until fragrant. Next, add some leftover rice and stir fry until the rice look like it is jumping up and down the pan. Make a hole in the middle, add an egg and let the egg half cook before you mix them all together. Add some salt and pepper. Using leftover rice that is more than a day old makes the fried rice taste better.

For expert recipes with exact measurements, please visit Kuali at my sidebar. Search using keywords, "Pineapple Fried Rice" .

I have some leftover turmeric rhizomes so, I place them in a pot of soil. It seemed to take ages but I was overjoyed to see 2 new shoots popping out. Isn't it like magic? This dried up thing just came alive!

I have some leftover lengkuas (galangal) too. We use it to make delicious dishes. It looked quite old and 'beaten' when I placed it in a bag of soil. This is a used polythene bag, recycled from that of another plant that I had repotted. The lengkuas 'hibernated' for a few weeks before new shoots appeared. I have since transplanted it on the ground. I hope it will grow enough foliage to make the small area look exotic.

This leftover ordinary ginger took the longest to germinate new shoots. First I wrapped it in some old newspapers for a week or so before I placed it some soil in a small flower pot. I waited another few weeks before shoots appeared. Then I transplanted it to the ground.

I use ginger in almost every dish that I cook. I took the most ginger during my 100 days confinement period after childbirth and delivery. Anyway that was a long long time ago.

Can you find the caterpillar? It is under my watermark. This guy is good at camouflage, ain't he? He has walloped most of my pink vinca plant. But never mind, it's okay.

Please help me identify this plant.

It looks like Indian Borage. I have been growing it for 6 years and it is driving me crazy not knowing it's name. Can you live with someone for so long without knowing his/her name?

Some clues:
Someone gave it to me saying that I can make tea with the fresh leaves as a remedy for high blood pressure and diabetes. She said the name was lemon basil. It is the staple food for Blastoise my pet tortoise.

Thanks to Anonymous from The Kebun, a Homestay, Organic Farm near Kuching, East Malaysia who provided this link, the above plant has been identified as Gynura procumbrens, a medicinal herb. It's malay name is Pokok Sambung Nyawa  or Life Extending Plant. I have never seen this plant bear any flowers.

Scientific name: Lyssa zampa
Common name: Laos brown butterfly
It is a species of moth from the Uraniidae family and commonly found in Malaysia and Indonesia. It's wing span is between 100-160mm and flies from June to August. Its larvae feeds on the endospermum species of plants. (Source: Wikipedia)

Do you know him?

This "flying trapeze" found hanging from my bamboo plant is about the size of my palm, which is 6 inches or 15cm in diameter. It can fly quite fast. It can be a moth or butterfly. I photographed this fella at about 9am in the morning of June 12th, 2010 which coincided with the first day of the 5th Lunar month, a new moon day. Oh, yeah, on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month is our Dumpling Festival (Duanwu Festival) cum Dragon Boat Festival. I just found out about the photograph date coincidence when I checked back my original pictures and it is ringing some superstitious bells in my head now.

While doing research on the internet, I found that in Thailand, people make a blue drink from the Butterfly Pea (Clitoria ternatea) flowers. They will serve it with a jar of sweet pandan flavoured syrup and a citrus fruit. So I did an experiment and made my own blue drink. Without the syrup, it is almost tasteless. However, when I added a few drops of calamansi (citrus lime) juice and stirred, the solution turned purple. Magic, magic, magic!

This is my entry for Fertilizer Friday. Tootsie, here I come! To visit other FF post, please visit Tootsie at Tootsie Time. Click here.

Note: Updates to this post are highlighted in blue, links provided in red.


  1. The plant you want to identify is called 'Sambung Nyawa'. Excellent in salads or as a simple ulam.

    More information available here

  2. Yes, sambung nyawa is the name mentioned by many. We do grow them in pots, and so easy to propagate through cuttings.

    About pineapples, normally they produce little babies to coincide with the imminent maturity ending up with fruits. Maybe that pineapple love producing little babies than producing fruits...


  3. Yay Autumn Belle..such a cool! Lovely read..! That butterfly or moht is it super large? it looks like a giant in the photo! And I would love to have a magical drink of fun!! yay!
    have a happy day..enjoy your beautiful garden!

  4. Dear Autumn Belle, A very unusual posting containing so many different ideas not least for someone as green fingered as yourself. The blue drink is, I feel, a little strange but would certainly add colour to a party.

  5. A few years ago, I used to collect the pineapple crowns from a fruit vendor who saved them for me. I grew them in pots but when the rain started they all rotted. Now I am seeing that you are growing them it has encouraged me to try again. That drink looks like something from Dexter's laboratory! Becareful you may turn purple :-)

  6. Wow I should try growing pineapples indoors . I would love to see the flower anyway. I once planted some ginger root , inside, in a pot of course, but it never produced a flower. How do you make pineapple fried rice ?

  7. Autumn Belle

    So much of interest here... but I'm having a difficult time with Blotanical's picking! It doesn't seem to want to register.
    The drinks look inviting, too! Love the idea of growing the pineapple crowns.
    Back to trying to PICK,

    aka Bay Area Tendrils/ Alice's Garden Travel Buzz

  8. What a wonderful post! I love growing pineapple plants from the leaf crowns of the fruit, even though I have never lived in an area were they fruit very easily. When I was a kid and we lived in Germany I planted a bunch of them and left my poor grandmother with a bunch of big spiky potted pineapple plants when we ended up moving to the US. I have also grown ginger and tumeric from store bought roots. There is something so satisfying about them sprouting so quickly.

  9. talk about not wasting a thing!!! You sure get you money's worth on a pineapple. Great post

  10. First, how big is that moth? Second, I would also love if you would share your recipe for pineapple fried rice.

  11. All along I thought the butterfly pea is just an ornamental plant. My mom grew this plant from the seeds she bought in one garden store. When they started to produce pods, our gardener said the seedpods are edible. I've learned something new again today about this plant. Not only can you eat it, you can drink it too.

  12. Hi, everyone.

    Thank you very much for the comments. I'll be updating this post with the answers.

    The Kebun (Anonymous), thank you very much for helping me identify the mystery plant. I will insert your link in the update to my post.

    Bangchik, you are very right about the “sambung nyawa” plant and the pineapple plant behaviour. Wise words indeed.

    Kiki, Diana,

    I will update my post with the answers on the size of the moth/butterfly and pineapple rice recipe.

    Don’t worry about the vinca plant. It won’t die. It will only turn ‘botak’ (bald). Soon it will grow back all its leaves. It is a survivor. Sometimes I think that is how the vinca plant becomes stronger and stronger, haha!

    Edith, Melanie, Helen, Redneck Rosarian, Solitude Rising,
    About the butterfly pea drink, I do not know how they make the drink in Thailand. I am not sure if boiling is necessary or we can consume it raw. In Malaysia, we use the flowers to extract a natural blue food colouring dye to make desserts and rice cakes.

    Melanie, in your planting zone, it is an achievement to be able to get the gingers to root and produce shoots. Maybe there is not enough sunlight and warmth to get it to flower.

    Alice, thank you very much for informing me about the pick problem at Blotanical. I’ll hop in to check my post.

    College Gardener, I couldn’t agree with you more. You are so right, speaking from experience.

    Siteseer, my late father had taught me this method of growing pineapples from crowns and I have been doing it for 6 years already. I think in our equatorial climate zone, we can do it all the time and many others have been using this method successfully.

  13. I had a pineapple a long time didn't live long where I had it. I have often thought of using the crown to try to start one...I am heading over to that link and check it out! thanks for the inspiration...your flaunt today is awesome!
    thanks for linking in!

  14. and i bet the one with the calamansi tasted better of course with honey or sugar too..

    too bad no calamansi here

    btw you have a lot of plants!

    happy weekend

  15. Interesting post indeed.
    I really enjoyed reading it.

  16. you mention about living with a plant and not knowing its name and that can be frustrating but sometimes fun to give it a name of your own and then one day see a picture of it somewhere and then discover what it is really called or maybe never knowing, some plants are just mysterious...

  17. Glad you that you manage to find the plant name after so long.
    And clearly that is really not Indian borage. Indian borage is often mistaken for a mint.
    Do check the details in my blog - you will able to identify it together with all the details.

  18. I am late! We also have a medicinal plant named 'sambong' but it is Blumea balsamifera, with velvety leaves, odoriferous too. I am not familiar with that one.

    Your pineapple can be forced to flower simultaneously by ethrel, 1,000ppm and spray. Or you can try putting chico (Achras sapota) when it starts to soften, enclose the plants in PE bag with chico inside, or kakawate leaves or ripening cooking banana, or ripe squash fruit peel.

    I love that concoction of your butterfly pea. We have mnemonics in college RBB or BRA. When red turns to blue the solution is basic, otherwise when blue turns to red, it is acid. hehe. YOur little experiment just shows your Clitoria ternatea juice is good to neutralize acid in the tummy!


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