Thursday, 28 August 2014

long overdue post : grapes

I’ve six grape vines, four of which unknown variety which i bought in Cameron highland and the other 2 are Muscat Hamburg and Alphonse Lavelle. The vines were neglected until i hard prune it in early may because it blocks the sunray from my potted plant.  One of the vines started fruiting at the end of May and ripens just a few days before Eid ul Fitri celebration. Since i never fertilized my grape vines the fruit is smaller than supermarket bought grapes. Every evening my daughter and i will pluck up a few grapes off the vines and pop it in to her mouth.  The grapes were very sweet.  Our activity lasted for a week until my niece who returns home discovers it! Three weeks ago i hard pruned the vines again.  Two of the vines are setting fruit while the rest are showing green bud. Each of those buds will produce several shoots that grow leaves and flowers. This time i fertilize my vines.

newly formed grapes

grapes  getting bigger

ripe grapes

stalk left behind

this photo are taken today 3 weeks after hard pruning

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Fruit of my labour

I'm very busy lately hence no post for a while  but never too busy check and pluck ripe fig every day.   Since last 3 months i start picking ripe home-grown figs. Out of 70 odd pots of 31 varieties of fig that i have, 15 fig trees are fruiting and in various stage of maturity. However the harvest is not bountiful since only 1 to 2 figs ripen every day which is barely enough to feed my 11 months old daughter.  


black malta

 Of the varieties that i have, black Madeira (i recently was informed that it is most likely Coll de Dama Negra) is very slow grower but it never disappoint me because it never stopped fruiting (i have 20 plants) and it is very sweet.   

barely ripe black madeira
starting to ripe

honey oozing out from the eye

ripe black madeira
My daughter favourite is celesta, the fruit is slightly bigger than big marble but the fruit is beautiful with its violet colour skin and  is very sweet, no wonder it is known as sugar fig. Currently i have 5 plants and planning to increase to 10 so that it is adequate to feed my family.
under the full sun the colour is darker

celesta grown in partial shade

Sal’s is the first fig that ripens; it is a sweet dark fig which also taste good. I let it hang on the tree till it is almost shrivel, umm!!Yummy.

Ripe Madeleine fig is beautiful as well as sweet and big but Texas blue giant is bigger. 
madeleine fig
perfectly ripe madeleine fig
I was so surprised when i taste Texas blue giant fig because it is good. According to my reading big fig has mediocre taste.  Its eye is partially open  and tend to rot once the beetle get into it. For the time being i have to wrap the fruit but later the plants go in a greenhouse. 

almost and fully ripe texas blue giant

rotten fig; no thanks to fig beetle
 This is the only green fig that ripe so far, an unknown portugese fig, i call it green Portugal. the color will turn to light green when it is ripe, sweet and have a nice acid and sugar balance.
green portugal
 Negronne is another dark fig, the color is as dark as Sal's and it is almost as sweet as celesta.

This is another dark fig which i lost its tag. The fruit turn from green to purple yesterday so it was just barely ripe but i couldn't help myself.  I pluck it, even though it is not juicy yet it is really sweet. I think it will be sweeter than celesta. I'll have to wait for a few more days for the verdict, got to try a really ripe fig.

unknown dark fig

So far i'm very pleased with all the varieties that are already fruiting. My advice to fig hobbyist in Malaysia is not to get caught up in fig fever.  Study each variety characteristic so that you have a cultivar that is compatible with our hot and humid climate as well as tasty fruit.