I try to be rational when deciding on what to grow in my balcony farm, considering factors such as sunlight requirements, whether it would survive in a container, plant size, maintenance needs etc. For example, as tempted as I am, I won’t be growing any plant trees due to lack of sufficient sunlight and its usually larger size.
But sometimes this strategy falters due to uncontrollable reasons (i.e. my mind). Because I actually do have a plant that classifies as a tree in my balcony. How? I temporarily lost all sanity and had to have it no matter what. Luckily, now after 1.5 months, it is still growing strong. Meet my one-and-only tree, the curry tree, named after its leaves that carry the fragrance of curry.
Unimpressed by its size? This may help, here’s a picture of the same plant 1.5 months ago. Tiny right?
And just for fun, here is what it could look like if planted in the ground and let to grow for years. Wow.
Good news, it will survive in containers and adapt its size accordingly. However, seeming how small its initial pot was, I knew I needed to move it into a larger pot as soon as possible.
Curry tree (Murraya koenigii or Bergera koenigii) is a relatively easy plant to take care of, the main points are:
- Container size: The plant will adapt its size to the container so the bigger the pot the larger the plant will grow. I’m using a 12-inch pot.
- Sun & Temperature: Loves sunlight and warm temperatures, but my plant is doing better in partial shade than full sun. In fact, leaves get a little droopy after intense continuous direct sunlight.
- Soil: Slightly acidic, well-drained soil
- Watering: Water when soil is dry, does not like constantly wet soil.
- Special note: They have a tendency of iron deficiency, so I added in some oyster shell powder into the soil.
March 28: Moved to a larger pot! Those on top with lighter color are new leaves!
Like herbs, you are supposed to trim it often to encourage bushier growth. With curry trees, trim directly at the center stalk, meaning you shouldn’t just pluck the leaves and leave skeletons on the tree.
April 3: Post-trimming.
Typical me, a couple days later, this was followed by freaking out because I didn’t see any visible regrowth.
April 6: Tiny tree~~~ Please grow~~~
And as usual, I freaked out too soon. Yay for new leaves! (Forgive the white spots on the older leaves, I was experimenting with diatomite earth spray and got too heavy-handed…)
Thank you for growing strong despite my experimental ways.
April 19: More new leaves!
And it continues to grow everyday!
April 21: Growing rapidly.
The new leaves are larger and are spreading much further than the older ones. Definitely did the right thing with trimming.
Two weeks since the initial growth, new leaves are continuously forming from the center. Gave them a little help with providing some balanced organic fertilizer.
Voila! With this growth rate, it may end up being a mini-tree in the near future!
Some of my favorite usage of curry leaves:
- Adding flavor to curry
Back home, we would always stir-fry these leaves in the beginning along with garlic and onion, releasing the flavor with the oil.
- When frying food
Throw in a handful of leaves when frying fish or chicken or any food choice, and it will add a curry aroma to the fried food. Plus, the fried leaves are crispy and snack-like tasty.
- Adding a punch of flavor
One of my recent successful cooking experiment is adding curry leaves when stir-frying sausage patties to go with brioche french toast. Sweet and savory, yum!
In conclusion, it’s okay to sometimes temporarily lose all sanity and do something you are “not supposed to”. Like planting a tree in a pot on your balcony. Because now, if I’m missing the smell of curry from Malaysia, all I have to do is head out to my balcony and run my fingers through my curry tree.
Yup. I can smell curry whenever I want.
The Vege Girl Project: Day 65