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Taman kebun dapur

Oleh Rohaniza Idris

Edible Garden juga berfungsi sebagai kebun dapur.

Konsep Edible Garden mengandungi pokok herba, sayuran, ulaman dan buah-buahan 'EDIBLE Garden' yang diilhamkan isteri Perdana Menteri, Datin Seri Jeanne Abdullah mencuri perhatian ramai ketika Festival Antarabangsa Landskap dan Taman Malaysia (LAMAN 2008), baru-baru ini. Begitu juga pada Pameran Pertanian, Hortikultur dan Agro Pelancongan Malaysia (Maha) yang berlangsung sehingga semalam, yang mana di laman sayur, pengunjung berpeluang melihat beberapa contoh Edible Garden. Apakah itu Edible Garden? Edible Garden jika ditafsirkan ke dalam bahasa Melayu bermaksud taman boleh dimakan. Ini bermakna taman yang dibangunkan mengandungi tumbuhan yang sesuai untuk dimakan atau pokok herba, sayuran, ulaman dan buahan. Bagaimanapun, kebiasaannya Edible Garden ini menampilkan tumbuhan jangka pendek iaitu tumbuhan yang hidup dalam tempoh satu hingga enam bulan. Namun, ada juga tumbuhan kekal yang boleh hidup lama yang sesuai ditanam di Edible Garden, seperti kayu manis, tanjung, serai dan pandan. Posted by Berita dari gunung at 1:20 AM Labels: pertanian

Food from the garden

Story and pictures by GRACE CHEN

To be truly productive, grow your own food. WHY take the trouble to grow your own food in an age when everything can be purchased from just a stones throw away? For want of an answer, the best person to speak to is Haji Mohd Arif Rahmat, 79, who was only 10 when the Japanese army invaded Malaya in 1941. Though this retired headmaster has not divulged the details of his life during that period, it is a well known fact that folks from the banana currency era had to grow their own food to survive. These days, what used to be known simply as plots for growing your own greens has taken on a fancy name: edible garden. But to Arifs generation, the ability to grow ones own food was a way of ensuring survival.

Haji Mohd Arif Rahmat needs only a pot with a bit of soil and hes ready to plant.

Having grown up in an era which put a premium on thrift, Arif likes to share the fact that he has never had to buy a single leaf of ulam nor any of the local fruits like durian, langsat, mangosteen or cempedak. As he puts it plainly, I have always believed that to be truly productive, you must be able to grow your own food. But thanks to modern abundance, it is no longer necessary for us to resort to growing food for the family. However, there is a legion of avid gardeners out there

who will think nothing of sinking their hands into mulch, coaxing the soil to produce a harvest that they could confidently tuck into. It is also common for growers of edible plants to share their passion as well as the fruit of their labours with their relatives and friends. When she has visitors, Eunice Quah, a freelance designer in her 30s, usually takes them to her herb garden to introduce them to her collection of plants. Here, smell this. Its lemon balm, she would say. Or Youve got to taste this. This is stevia, which is sweeter than sugar. And it is! Most times, growers of edible plants also rank quite highly in their friends and familys popularity list. Before Arif moved from Kedah to Kuala Lumpur to be closer to his three children, he had a 1.69ha orchard that was a favourite among his grandchildren and their parents especially during the fruit season. They would help themselves to the durians, mangosteens, cempedak and langsat in the orchard.

Tall order: Ong with her 1.829m-high kailan. It was grown from a cutting given to her by another gardener friend.

Six months after settling into his ground floor apartment in Wangsa Maju, Arifs place is now bursting with greenery from the host of potted plants he has planted. They include limes, mint, turmeric, ginger, curry leaves, lemongrass, kesum (laksa leaves), sweet potato, cekur (sand ginger), kuchai (Chinese chives), coriander, screwpine and tulasi. His little garden is now a popular spot for his daughter-in-law, Yasmin Medeonus, 48, who is a great cook. All you need is a pot with a bit of soil and youre ready to go, he says. Quah agrees, as she is also growing her sage, rosemary, sweet basil, thyme, marjoram, mint and other herbs in pots and planters boxes in her Taman Tun Ismail home. Ong Suan Huah, 65, who lectures on green architecture in UiTM, has been planting long beans, convolvulus, spinach, brinjal, bunga kantan and basil on the backyard plot of her

Section 17 home in Petaling Jaya for some years now yet she still feels amazed by the sight of her growing plants. Its an awesome feeling when you see your own brinjals hanging from the vines. You feel like such a genius even though you know that it is all nature at work. I guess this is because you know that you have nurtured your plant from seed to bush. Ong started growing vegetables when her grandson, Anton Siew, now six, was born. Her main reason, she says, was that she did not want her grandson to ingest the harmful chemicals that came with the bought varieties. She began with Chinese kale (kailan) grown from a cutting given to her by her husbands relative in Ipoh. After the success with the kailan I went a bit mad and started to try my hand at mustard greens, French beans and mustard celery. But I was not successful with this lot. Still, it is thanks to Ongs effort that Anton and his younger sister, Trinity, five, love to eat vegetables, which is not often the case with most tots. This is because home-grown vegetables are nothing like the ones bought from the market. Like my kailan, there is no bitter aftertaste. There was also a time when we had long beans and we chopped them up for omelettes. They were crunchier and sweeter than any of those I had ever bought, says Ong.

Keen gardener: Partini prefers to potter in the garden rather than watch TV in her spare time.

Dispelling the idea that she has green thumbs, she says she wasnt successful at gardening before. To explain, she goes back 15 years to the time when she went on a field trip to Cameron Highlands with her colleagues. There, they visited a nursery and she emerged from it with her arms full of potted plants. They eventually died from want of attention, she says. These days, though, she will spend entire weekends tending her plants. The moral of the story is, only when you are passionate about your plants will they grow, she says.

Initiative, agrees Partini Safrudin, 35, the Indonesian housekeeper of Alex Wong, a recording artiste and Elvis impersonator, is the important factor. Though her employers double-storey bungalow in Ara Damansara has only a small patch of land for gardening, she has managed to plant rows of screwpines, a papaya tree and daun salam (Indonesian bay leaf). In my case, its for want of something to do. I dont like taking naps or watching soap operas all day. So I plant things, which in turn rewards me with a sense of satisfaction and helps me to relieve stress, she says.