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Woman Shares How She Created An Edible Garden On Her Tiny PJ Condo "Balcony"

She makes yummy-looking meals out of her veggies and herbs!

Cover image via Lady of Leisure/Facebook & Evangeline Lim (Provided to SAYS)

A downside to living in an apartment or condominium is often not being able to have your own garden

One Malaysian woman, however, proves that you can still enjoy having an edible garden regardless of the amount of space you have in your home. 

Meet Evangeline Lim, also known as 'Lady of Leisure', who has been growing her own vegetables and herbs for years – and she does it all on the small "balcony" of her condo unit in Petaling Jaya

"[It's] pretty tiny that I myself have to squeeze through and it's quite impossible to get an overall shot of the 'balcony' (more like an A/C ledge) given the sunlight glare if I were to take a frontal view from my living room," she shared in a Facebook post.

Capsicum.

Image via Lady of Leisure/Facebook

Lim, who is the founder of Plant Swag and Kabut in the Park, currently works as the festival director of Yayasan Sime Darby Arts Festival (YSDAF) and as an independent consultant for an events company.

In an interview with SAYS, she shared that "an unfortunate yet serendipitous circumstance" is what led her to begin gardening

"It was in 2015, I was on crutches and had to leave my job. Being bedridden and unemployed (which my friends positively teased me as being a 'Lady of Leisure'), was a downtime for me but the one thing that kept me going was reminding myself about the strong women in my life.

"I was reminded of my grandma whom I miss a lot and how amazing she was at gardening. So I decided to do her memory justice and learn up on gardening. I started reading and researching during my recuperation in bed.

"As my leg got stronger I started to put the lessons into practice. I chose to focus on edibles because I was home a lot and felt it would be more useful to me since I had to cook more often too."

As a result, she chose to stick to the moniker 'Lady of Leisure' to serve as a reminder that no matter how difficult and busy our life is, we should still make time to do what feeds our soul.

Despite the small space, Lim has managed to grow all types of edible plants, such as capsicum, tomato, cili padi, curry leaf, basil, and other herbs

She started growing her own food back when she lived in her parents' terrace house and eventually moved into her previous condo.

Although she had no balcony then, the 33-year-old was able to grow several indoor fruits, vegetables, and herbs, including tomatoes and cili padi.

Fresh basil and herbs.

Image via Lady of Leisure/Facebook

Left: Tomatoes grown indoors in her previous home. Right: Tomatoes grown on her balcony ledge in her current place.

Image via Lady of Leisure/Facebook

Some of the produce Lim grew in her family home included okra, aubergine, gourds, and pineapples.

Image via Evangeline Lim (Provided to SAYS)

Bird's eye chili aka cili padi grown indoors in her previous home.

Image via Lady of Leisure/Facebook

At her current place, she's grown fruits like rockmelons and mulberries, and various vegetables like capsicum and variegated mani cai (sayur manis) to name a few.

During the Movement Control Order (MCO), Lim started growing long beans, groundnuts, sweet potatoes, and passionfruit.

"I also grow my own cotton plant, so I can avoid buying cotton."

Variegated mani cai, also known as, sayur manis.

Image via Lady of Leisure/Facebook

She revealed some of her favourite plants to grow that do especially well in Malaysian weather

"The Hibiscus Acetossella (Cranberry Hibiscus) is my top choice for its edible foliage that has a refreshing sour flavour akin to Roselle's flavours, her beautiful maple leaf shaped leaves, and stunning cranberry coloured Hibiscus flowers that can be harvested to be made into a distinctive tea."

"My other favourites are these selections that are easy to grow, have low pest risks, and has a variety of ways it can be enjoyed - Brazilian spinach and sweet potato leaves which can be stir-fried or used in soups; mulberries for breakfast bars and desserts; Lacinato kale which can be enjoyed raw or juiced; and the longevity spinach that is suitable raw or stir-fried. All of which also do well in our tropical weather."

Lim proves that you don't need fancy, expensive pots or fertiliser to grow plants, adding that 90% of her edibles have been regrown from kitchen wastes

She often uses unwanted planter boxes from 'Freecycle' groups or repurposes food packaging as seed pots.

From left: Thai basil, citrus leaves (daun kesum), and tomatoes.

Image via Lady of Leisure/Facebook

"Most of my edibles are regrown from kitchen waste to help reduce my waste. Through my Facebook group (Plant Swag), I also swap/gift/adopt plants, seeds, and cuttings, which helps us all to expand our plant collection," she explained to SAYS.

Having her own edible garden has allowed her to avoid going to supermarkets during this pandemic, as she was able to stay home without a grocery top-up for up to two weeks

Check out how yummy her meals look with the veggies she uses from her garden!

Her harvest from her garden to make a salad. And she used edible flowers as garnishing.

Image via Evangeline Lim (Provided to SAYS)

To make some of her favourite heartier meals, she includes roasted chicken breast, chickpeas, smoked salmon, or tofu.

"I enjoy making a variety of salads as it is an easy meal, and pairs beautifully with my homegrown edible flowers... Salads could also be made the night before and kept in the fridge for consumption the next day, thus suitable for a busy lifestyle."

"No matter your space, you too can grow your own edibles in the comfort of your home! It's all a matter of knowing what plants work best for your space and direction of sunlight," she added.

Follow Lady of Leisure on Facebook for more tips on how to grow your own food and DIYs. You can also check out Plant Swag for plant exchanges/adopting/gifting.

If you want your own edible garden, here are some plants you can start with:

For more gardening ideas:

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