Cabbage family

I haven’t had much luck with growing Brassicaceae (/ˌbræsɪˈkeɪsii/) or Cruciferae (/kruːˈsɪfəri/), commonly known as the cabbage family. (十字花科中文名譯自舊稱Cruciferae

You can imagine how proud I was to see my pakchoy growing so well this time.

A week later, this is what’s left of them.

Finally figured out the culprit, culprits as I think there are two types of worms.

The top three are Cabbage worms I believe. The one on the bottom right of the picture is a different type of work, I guess is cabbage loopers. Unlike cabbageworms, cabbage loopers raise and lower their bodies as they move. Cabbage worms become cabbage white butterflies, which are mostly white with a few black markings. Cabbage white butterflies might seem like a pretty addition to the garden, but they are probably laying eggs on the undersides of leaves.

Prairie or lawn?

Visiting Changbin on a mentoring project, we had lunch at this location. A sturdy hut with corrugated iron roof, surrounded by manicured lawn. It’s so much better than dining in the typical road side restaurant.

As we were leaving, right behind this hut is a gorgeous prairie of wild grass, reminds me of Piet Oudolf’s landscaping design. P asked the locals “which is more beautiful?” For them the manicured lawn is beautiful while the prairie is wild and unattractive.

Living in Taitung, I noticed the vast amount of weedkiller used in the country side, as it is the cheapest and least labour intensive way to keep nature from taking over. We engaged people to 打草 but it’s getting harder to find people willing to do the manual labour. We need a creative solution for human to live with nature, be gentle to the earth while preserving indigenous biodiversity.

P.S. My friend Shu Yuan, a landscape architect, pointed out that the plants in my pictures are not indigenous vegetation.

Asian butterfly pea 蝶豆

Clitoria ternatea, commonly known as Asian butterfly pea or Bunga Telang in Malay, is a plant species belonging to the Fabaceae family. The flowers of this vine were imagined to have the shape of human female genitals, hence the Latin name of the genus Clitoria, from “clitoris”.

It is a natural food colouring used in many Malaysian desserts. In Taiwan, the fad is to make this into a colour changing drink. I made a tea by adding hot water to six flowers. No taste at all, just an earthy aroma.

In this glass I use 6 flowers with boiling hot water.

This is after 10 minutes.The blue liquid turned purple with a dash of lemon juice.這兩天整理菜園,發現蝶豆開花還結了許多豆莢。我知道蝶豆花可以染色,馬來西亞的糕點只要是藍或紫色,大概都是用蝶豆染色的。蝶豆花也可以泡熱水當茶喝,不過豆莢不能吃,當觀賞用,花只開一天就凋謝了。

蝶豆學名Clitoria ternatea),又叫做藍豆,是豆科蝶豆屬的植物。由於蝶豆的花外觀類似人類女性外生殖器因此它的拉丁語屬名被命名為「Clitoria」,詞源為「陰蒂」(Clitoris)

http://kplant.biodiv.tw/蝶豆/蝶豆.htm

Sunflower fields forever

These happy flowers brighten up the mood even on a grey misty day like today.

I can’t help marvel at nature’s ingenious design. Look at the petals and the meticulous patterns in each bloom. They really do follow the sun. This morning the flowers were facing towards the sea, which is where the sun rises and these photos were taken in the afternoon and they have changed direction to chase the setting sun.

Yam 芋頭

My neighbour came this morning, bearing a gift from his garden, a yam plant. The root has many tiny new shoots, which I removed and planted in a spot with plenty of water. Yam needs high humidity to grow well.



The part that is edible is the black part, only about 10cm in length, but double in volume once cooked.

Taiwan’s indigenous quinoa, Djulis or Hongli 紅藜

Decide to write a piece on this amazing food, since I have been in love with quinoa since 2013. The year 2013 was the year of quinoa designated by the United Nation.

We were the first to introduce this ingredient at Nonzero and collaborated with Peruvian officials to promote this ingredient. We even flown in a Peruvian chef for a month long Peruvian food promotion. So you can imagine my utter delight to find that Taiwan has its’ own indigenous variety, called Djulis in indigenous Taiwan language. In Chinese it is called Hongli (紅藜).

Taiwan quinoa from my garden, as floral arrangement.

This native crop has been eaten by Taiwanese aboriginal people for hundreds of years, who also use it to brew a traditional type of wine. The main agriculture area for this crop is in Taitung, where I live. Let me take you to see what the plant looks like and how they are grown, harvest and processed.

Djulis (Chenopodium formosanum) belongs to the Amaranthaceae family of green vegetables and pseudo-cereals, along with its close botanical relative of quinoa. Djulis is known for having a high protein and fiber content, as well as for containing eight kinds of essential amino acids. (This is all the information I could find in English, and there is a bit more info available in Chinese).

紅藜的澱粉約50%
蛋白質含量高達14%,與小麥相當,為稻米的2倍
膳食纖維高達14%,為燕麥的3倍,地瓜的7倍。
礦物質含量方面,含鈣特別豐富,高達2,523 ppm,為稻米的42倍,燕麥的23倍;鐵質與鋅的含量也很高,分為地瓜的11倍與8倍。
紅藜也含有重要的硒與鍺元素,並具有全部九種高量人體無法自行合成的必需胺基酸,例如離胺酸(lysine)、纈胺酸和組胺酸等,其離胺酸為稻米的5倍,而離胺酸可幫助鈣質吸收,促進膠原蛋白合成,幫助抗體、荷爾蒙及酵素的製造等。含有甜菜紅素(Betacyanins)、甜菜黃素(Betaxanthins)、黃酮類(Flavonoids)等抗氧化物。紅藜也有很高的抗發炎效果。

Here’s a BBC report on Djulis. http://www.bbc.com/news/av/business-38312876/taiwan-s-surprising-superfood-an-indigenous-quinoa