When it’s grown in your own garden, everything tastes yummy!
Living in an apartment or a condo may have its perks and downside, too. It may be inconvenient for folks who love gardens or the outdoors.
A Malaysian woman proves this wrong by creating her own mini garden on the balcony of her condo unit. She can make her meals using the vegetables she grew in her magical mini garden.
Known as ‘Lady of Leisure’ by family and friends, Ms. Evangeline Lim has been growing her own herbs and vegetables for years, right at the balcony of her small condo unit.
“[It’s] pretty tiny that I myself have to squeeze through, and it’s quite impossible to get an overall shot of the ‘balcony’ (more like an A/C ledge) given the sunlight glare if I were to take a frontal view from my living room,” Ms. Lim shared on Facebook.
Currently, Ms. Lim works at the Yayasan Sime Darby Arts Festival (YSDAF) as a festival director and as an independent consultant for an events company. On Facebook, she is the founder of the group Plant Swag and Kabut in the Park.
“It was an unfortunate but beneficial circumstance that made me decide to start gardening,” she recently said in an interview with SAYS.
“It was in 2015 when I had crutches to support my walk and I had to quit my job. I stayed in bed all the time and was unemployed. Even my friends started teasing me about being the ‘Lady of Leisure.’ I was very depressed at that time but I kept reminding myself about the strong women in my life and that’s what motivated me.”
“I missed my gradmother so much and how amazing she was at gardening. I decided to bring justice to her memory and followed in her footsteps through gardening. I did a lot of reading and researching while I was still recuperating.”
“As my leg got stronger I started to put the lessons into practice. I chose to focus on edibles because I was home a lot and felt it would be more useful to me since I had to cook more often too.”
Since then, Ms. Lim decided to stick to the alias ‘Lady of Leisure.’ She claims that it is a reminder for everyone that no matter how busy or difficult life would be, we can still have some leisure time to do what brings us happiness.
Even in a small space at the balcony, Ms. Lim was able to plant and harvest all types of edible vegetables such as capsicum, tomato, cili padi, curry leaf, basil, among others.
She began gardening at her parents’ terrace house and continued when she moved into her former condo unit. Although her previous condo had no balcony, this did not stop 33-year-old Lim to grow her own fruits and vegetables indoors.
In her new condo unit with a balcony, she can grow fruits like rockmelons and mulberries, and various vegetables like capsicum and variegated mani cai (sayur manis) to name some.
[bold] During the Movement Control Order (MCO), Lim began planting long beans, groundnuts, sweet potatoes, and passionfruit.
“I also grow my own cotton plant, so I can avoid buying cotton.”
Ms. Lim reveals that it was fortunate to have her favorite plants that grow very well because of the Malaysian weather.
“The Hibiscus Acetossella (Cranberry Hibiscus) is my favorite for its edible foliage that has a refreshing sour flavor akin to Roselle’s flavors, her maple shaped leaves, and cranberry-colored Hibiscus flowers that can easily be harvested and made into tea.”
“My other favorites are these selections that are easy to grow, have low pest risks, and has a variety of ways it can be enjoyed – Brazilian spinach and sweet potato leaves which can be stir-fried or used in soups; mulberries for breakfast bars and desserts; Lacinato kale which can be enjoyed raw or juiced; and the longevity spinach that is suitable raw or stir-fried. All of which also do well in our tropical weather,” says Ms. Lim with much pride on her achievement.
Pictures she has shared has proven that 90% of her plants are regrown from kitchen leftovers. She says you don’t need expensive pots and lots of fertilizers to plant these edible fruits and vegetables.
Disposed boxes and plastic containers can be used as seed pots. They can be gathered and collected from groups who recycle them.
“Most of my plants are regrown from my kitchen leftovers to minimize my food wastes. Through my Facebook group, Plant Swag, members are able to swap or give as gift or sell seeds and plants to help expand our collections,” she explained to SAYS.
Growing her own garden on the balcony has saved her trips going to the supermarket due to the pandemic since she has enough food stored in her condo for up to two weeks. Here are some photos that prove how delicious her meals are from the vegetables she grew in her own garden!
Adding to her harvested fruits and vegetables, she combines some roasted chicken breast, chickpeas, smoked salmon, or tofu to make her favorite healthier meals.
“There are a variety of salads that I can make, and eventually add homegrown edible flowers to top them up. Salads are easy to make and stored overnight in the fridge for consumption the next day. Great for a busy lifestyle.”
“It doesn’t matter if you only have a small space where you live. You can create even just a small garden right in the comfort of your own home! Know what fruits and vegetable plants work best at your space and store them where the sunlight shines directly,” Ms. Lim advises.