Urban Gardening: Interview 4

Ex-secondary school teacher Ms Pua Yoke Fang started a small but sustainable compact garden in her Island Glades home in Penang upon her retirement 2 years ago. Over the past year, the many stages of pandemic-related Movement Control Orders had given her more time at home, which she fully used to expand her little garden.

An avid gardener, she grows vegetables in all kinds of pots and containers and in any space available – in front of the house, on the balcony, even in a mini garden inside the house. In her garden, she planted seeds of purple round eggplants that she obtained from CAP’s seed sharing fair last year. The seeds were sowed in a recycled container.

She has managed to grow a variety of other vegetables too: eg Brazilian spinach, kacang botol, bendi, sayur manis, long beans and sweet potato leaves. And she grows a variety of herbs – serai wangi, pandan leaves, curry leaves, peppermint, basil and ginseng Jawa. The herbs are used in her daily cooking.

Brazilian spinach.
Green Ceylon spinach. 
Curry leaves.
Potato leaves. 
Round purple brinjals.
Pokok Tin (Fig Plant).

She also plants fruit trees such as figs, passion fruit, lime, ciku, rock melon, starfruit, guava and nona. Some of the trees are already bearing fruit. Some are yet to fruit, but she doesn’t mind the wait. Just looking at the plants in her garden is enough to make her happy. She’s happier still if she’s able to harvest the vegetables and fruits grown for cooking.

Ms Pua shares her home-grown cili padi with her neighbours. It gives her joy when neighbours come around to admire her plants. There’s a sense of security when you eat the vegetables that you grow on your own, it’s well worth the effort spent in the garden, she says.

“Gardening is really good… good for physical and mental health,” she concluded.

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