It certainly looks as though summer and with it, the growing season has arrived, albeit with a bit of rain interspersing the bright sunshiny days.
I am right chuffed with the success of my Vietnamese Mint cuttings. In September last year after searching all over this island for a specimen of Persicaria odorata, I was fortunate enough to contact the Poyntzfield herb nursery on the Black Isle up in the Highlands of Scotland.
Duncan Ross sent me a little plant that I coddled and nursed in my study all through the winter and into this spring. I was used to growing this herb in the sub tropics of New South Wales where it went wild in its own little bed. It is a pretty leggy plant and as the limbs fall down on the soil the leaf joints send out roots so there was always a profusion of healthy plants and plantlets in my garden.
I was so worried that I wouldn’t be able to nurture it here through a coldish winter that I looked at it daily, watered it sparingly and kept it as warm as I could. Well, come spring and the little plant just took off! Up went several leggy limbs with healthy leaves and I started to relax.
But not that relaxed that I didn’t think that I might need some back up plants just in case. I used some fine sand mixed with potting mix and a bit of compost and made up four pots, watered and ready with a small hole made by a chopstick in the middle of each pot.
I snipped off four pieces with end leaf tips and to about the third jointed leaf segment. They are quite distinctive as you can see from the photo. I cut the leaves in half to reduce any moisture loss, wet the cut ends and dipped them into some rooting powder. Popped each one into its pot and firmed the soil around the stem. No more water but I covered each pot with its own light plastic bag.
It is now about eight or nine weeks and the plantlets look superb as the photo shows. I took the plastic bags off two weeks ago and relocated all five pots to my new summerhouse which is ideal for plant life. I will still have to bring them into the study over winter though. They won’t survive in the outdoors or a unheated summerhouse.
I have a friend to whom I will give one of the plants – she likes the herb as much as I do, I think. One simply cannot make a Prawn Laksa without Vitenamese mint. It is variously called Laksa leaf, Vietnamese coriander, Cambodian mint and has other names in other languages. I have always known it as daun laksa from early days in Singapore.
It has a distinctive taste and is a worthwhile addition to any herb garden and used as a leaf in salads, soups and stews. It is terrific with chicken and with fish. It goes well with all asian food and likes a bit of chilli as well.
In the meantime, various tomato seedlings and capsicums with dwarf cucumbers, golden courgette and butternut pumpkin seedlings are thriving in the summerhouse. All my asian vege seeds are up and the coriander is healthy.
The peas are starting to look for their support and the strawberries will need protection from the birds soon.
So I am as happy as the proverbial pig in ….. The ground elder has had a bit of a reprieve for a few days but my onslaught is about re-commence!!