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Published: Friday July 25, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Friday July 25, 2014 MYT 7:42:15 AM

From dull to flourish

IN LESS than a year Yeo Seng Bee has turned his dull garden patch next to his driveway into a vegetable garden filled with enough greens to feed a neighbourhood.

The 63-year-old retired contractor said the decision to give the patch a makeover came one evening when he found himself wanting something to do.

“After Chinese New Year, I thought I would pick up gardening. That was when the idea to plant vegetables came,” he said, adding that he started off growing papaya, chives, pandan, chilli and passion fruit.

During a visit to his home in Subang Jaya, his loofah tree or Chinese okra was in full bloom with its vines circling the extended roof he made for the patch.

Loofah or better known as Chinese okra were blooming in Yeo's gardens.
Loofah or better known as Chinese okra were blooming in Yeo's gardens.

“It is a daily routine for me to check and make sure every plant is healthy and free from pests,” he said, adding that he spends about four hours a day in his garden.

When bees do not come to pollinate his plants, Yeo would help the pollinating process along to ensure the plants continue to thrive.

Whenever Yeo has excess from his vegetable garden, he would pass his would share them with his neighbours.
Ripe tomatoes from Yeo's back lane garden.

The small garden patch is not Yeo’s only green spot. There is a “secret garden” in the back lane behind his double-storey house.

Over the months, he had turned the back lane into a garden with vegetables planted in pots and soil bags.

Yeo, a grandfather of four, also built net shades to protect his vegetables from the strong sun and heavy rain.

Yeo distributes small chili plants to his friends and relatives to plant in their own garden.
Yeo gives away small chili plants to his friends and relatives for them to start their own garden.

“These plants may need a lot of water, so I don’t need to water them if it rains, and the sun is sometimes too strong,” said Yeo, who is better known as “Abee” by his neighbours.

The garden, which initially only had a handful of greens, now boasts chillies, cucumbers, lemongrass, mulberry, galangal, potato leaves, ginger, white radish, white eggplants, cabbages, okras, kai lan (Chinese kale), choy sam (Chinese cabbages), pumpkins, cherry tomatoes and passion fruit.

To his delight, Yeo’s neighbours lauded his back lane initiative and has invited him to utilise their back lanes too.

The cost to maintain the garden is fairly low, said Yeo as he does not need to purchase fertilisers.

Together with his wife, the duo makes compost out of food waste and dried leaves which Yeo said was healthy and free from pesticides.

Once a month he would purchase gardening supplies such as seedlings and soil from a trusted agricultural supplier in Puchong.

“The owner taught me everything from the basics of gardening to caring for the vegetables,” said the retired contractor.

Yeo also has a pair of lovebirds and a grey parrot in his garden, which he said kept him company when he tended to his plants.

Tags / Keywords: Central Region, Family Community, gardening

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