Building edible garden (Part 2 Soil Preparation)

The soil is from our rice paddy and it is clay soil. Clay, silt, and sandy soils all behave differently and have different needs.

The clay soil is mixed with potting soil, organic fertilizer and also rice husk to add some organic elements.sun dried rice husk

Separating out the rocks and clumps. 



Building our edible garden (Part 1 Construction)

There is something satisfying about honest hard work, as the phrase “bread labour” coined by Scott Nearing. This is an experiment to labour for our own food.

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Previous attempts at cultivating the garden failed, primarily due to lack of people caring for it. The first caretaker was good at it but he was temperamental. During his many down moments, the garden was neglected and became overgrown. Then it became too much work for him to reclaim the garden from nature. The second caretaker has a bad back and didn’t like to bend! Now SC, the current caretaker, is young and eager to do manual work.

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One mistake we made before was not preparing the soil, the land was packed full of rocks. Rather than digging into this rocky layer, I decided to build raised bed instead.

Here is a great write up on the benefits of raised bed.

  1. Constructing the raised bed
  2. Soil preparation
  3. Planting and caring


A beautiful find on my morning walk, silvergrass 五節芒

This is a common perennial grass in Taiwan, Miscanthus floridulus 五節芒, commonly known as silvergrass.

They grow all over. Depending on the soil condition, some may be red but they are usually beige/yellow. This is how they look in the wild.

The unfurling of the inflorescence.




Inflorescences turn silvery as the seed sets, with the continuing flower effect of the plumes lasting well into if not through the winter.



 Ginger lily 野薑花

Scientific Name: Hedychium coronarium

Commonly known as Ginger Lily. First came across this when I first moved to Hongkong. They are intricately meshed with my HK summer days. Every weekend, I would travel all the way to a little village in New Territory from Happy Valley, via bus, then train and finally minibus, then walk through the fields of ginger lily to this tiny farm house where my pottery teacher lived.

Shanghai Tang uses ginger lily as their signature aroma.

Awapuhi, a gift from nature

Thank you Paul Mitchell, who introduced Awapuhi from Hawaii, to Ping 30 years ago. In November 2015, P and I went to Big Island to pay homage to Paul Mitchell at his Awapuhi farm, where he was buried. We brought back some awapuhi ginger roots and they seem to thrive in Taitung condition. The texture is like a very watery gel, absorbs quickly into the skin, leaving the skin feeling soft and refreshing. Instead of shampoo in the traditional sense, I see it more like a leave-in conditioner for hair and lotion for skin.