Sunday, August 31, 2014


Last Saturday, me and my friends did monitoring and evaluation on several projects that have done during the last year.
Our focus on three commodities; Tea, Bamboo and Eucalyptus.
The locations that we went there was hilly upland area, it was about 50 kilometers from my house.
With cool weather, nice scenery and breeze....
Such a nice trip...

When we took a rest on the roadside while observing a row of Eucalyptus trees, I was so fascinated to a land that full of cabbages.
So green... so fresh... so lovely...

I sat on the thick green grass and imagined ...
How wonderful if  I could live there, with a wide land surrounded by hills and beautiful scenery.
That's really green world...

Beside the cabbage farm was a small tea plantation after hard pruning.
Both of them were separated by a row of Eucalyptus trees.
And at the end of the row, there was a wooden barn.
Live on the farmland is my dream.
Living on the tranquility, peaceful and self-sufficiency.
Oh... a really dream land. 

I don't know when I could realize my dream.
The price of the land is so expensive there.
A difficult dream to realize...

Saturday, August 30, 2014


Melati gambir is a flower that has beautiful fragrance.
It contains essential oil that used in so many products, especially cosmetics and perfumery.
The essential oil is used as aromatherapy for relaxing also refreshing.
It also has antiinflamation effect and moisturizing.
So the essential oil of Melati gambir is usually used in cosmetic products for dry or normal skin.

Here, this plant is well known as a plant that has so many healthy benefit.
Decoctition of this flower is usually used as diuretic, to treat urination disorder, headache, lower high pressure tension and to treat insomnia.
I hope you all have been enjoying this series and have a wonderful weekend.
See you on the next monthly series.

Friday, August 29, 2014


The main end product from Melati gambir is Jasmine tea.
Farmers only have one orientation on growing this plant, harvesting the flower buds.
From our observation, actually full blooming jasmines are wasted products.
Everyday we can find a lot of  these 'wasted products' on the farmland.

Then we took a discussion to solve this problem, how to get benefit from the 'wasted products'.
I have had an idea to make a simply syrup from these full blooming jasmine.
The idea was basic on the main end product a jasmine scented beverage.
My friends agreed to my idea, and I got an assignment to design an experiment to get a formula for the 'Melati Gambir Syrup'.
Actually, it didn't need long time to get the best formula.
Using an old concept: 50% sugar and 50% juice.
In this case, juice is scented water. 
The sugar concentration more than 50% is enough to preserve foods up to 6 months.
From my experiments, full blooming jasmine has plain taste, but the flower bud has very bitter taste.
So... selection was an interesting process on making jasmine syrup.
The best formula that we've gotten was ready to be spread.
Then we designed a training to train the farmers how to make jasmine syrup.
So they could optimize their jasmine, and get more income from their wasted products.



Simple bottling process...


Thursday, August 28, 2014


Melati gambir as a stuff on Jasmine Tea usually arrive on tea factories in the evening, and the flowers will be processed soon before the flower buds get blooming.
Jasmine tea processing is the process of absorption the jasmine scent into the green tea.
The best green tea for jasmine tea has a dark green color, rolled well, a bit of bitter, fresh, easy to absorb the smell of flowers and maximum water content about 10 %.
Then the green tea will be dried on the rotary machine until the water content of the green tea is about 3-5%.

Next process is humidification.
This process is done through the provision of water to the tea until it becomes moist tea with a water content 30-35%. 
Humidification can open the rolls of tea leaves.
It means extending surface thereby increasing the dampening effect in the process of moving the jasmine scent in to the green tea.
Then moist tea are mixed with the jasmine. 
The volume ratio between tea and jasmine is 1:2, or 2:3. 
During this process both of tea and jasmine are repeatedly stirred to get homogeneous fragrant of the tea.
The next process is taking the jasmine from the mixture, then the tea is ready to be dried for about 30-60 minutes until the water content is about 4%.

Tea factories have their own special final products.
Some factories throw out the jasmine from the whole jasmine tea, but there are some factories that keep on the dried jasmine stay on the tea mixture to keep the fragrance longer.

Now... the jasmine tea is ready to be packed and then distributed.

Next, we will talk more about Melati gambir.
Have a scented week.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


Yesterday, we have talked about harvesting Melati gambir buds.
Now we are talking about the post harvest, especially distribution.
Lady pickers usually collect the buds using plastic buckets.
Then the buds from each bucket will be gathered on a sack that made of plastic net.

The sacks are usually on black color.
They use plastic net sacks in order to keep the buds in good condition during the shipping.
Flower buds need good aeration to keep them stay fresh up to the destination.
The farmers say that black color of the sack will keep the temperature of the sacks warmer to promote the blooming, and the net keep the sack from over warming and sweaty.

The farmer usually meet with the agent of tea factories at the appointed place after the mid day.
The flower buds will be weighed and then poured in to the sack from the factory. 

The sacks from the factory are usually in blue color.
This color will keep the pile of the sacks in the truck avoid of sweating and over warming. 
Truck to transport these flower buds have a special design, that the cover of front and back is made of wire net.
So this truck will have a good air circulation.

The trucks always cross the road quickly and spread the nice fragrance along the roads.
The truck drivers are usually very capable of driving like a racer.
Yes... the buds must be arrived in the tea factory before the flowers bloom.
They're starting the bloom on the evening.
This is the critical period.
When the flowers are starting to bloom, they spread their strongest fragrance.
If the flower buds come late, so the fragrance that produced by the flowers are not maximal.
Today the flower buds have arrived at the tea factory, next we will talk about processing to make Jasmine Tea.
I hope you all enjoy this series.
Have a nice day.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


On favorable condition, Melati gambir can grow well and produce flower buds all year round.
Flower buds will pop up so bountiful during the rainy season.
These plants need enough water to set up their flower buds.

New plants from layering are usually ready for blooming about six months after transplanting, even earlier.
The peak of the flowering year are on the 3-4 years after planting.
Each plant can produce 50 grams of flower buds daily, even more.

These flower buds are picked a day before blooming.
And the buds are harvested every day in the morning until the mid day.

One day before blooming, the flower buds have pink-pale purple color.

From the picture above :
M : full blooming
M-1 : a day before blooming
M-2 : two days before blooming
Karuk : 4-7 days before blooming

Here there are Lady pickers  that have special work on picking Melati gambir buds.
They only pick M-1, and sometime M-2 accidentally picked.
Only jasmine pickers that really understand which buds are ready to be harvested.
They pick Melati gambir buds quickly and accurately.Full bloomed flowers are not harvested, cause the fragrance doesn't strong enough.
Today we have talked about harvesting the flower buds, tomorrow we will talk about the distribution.
Hope you all enjoy this series.
Have a wonderful day...

Monday, August 25, 2014


Here, Melati gambir is usually planted in dry land with good drainage.
It grows so well during the rainy season.

Melati gambir is usually planted from cutting or layering.
Cuttings and layering are taken from healthy and productive stems.
But layering is mostly applied, cause it much easier and low in risk.
The stems usually come from productive shrubs, about three years old after planting.
After two months, the seedlings are ready to be planted on the farmland.

The little plants are planted on the farms during the rainy season.
The spacing row on planting is about 2 meters in row and 3 meters between rows.

Ferlitizing is applied twice a year using compost and NPK.
Farmers usually spray some additional fertilizer on to their plants every month to promote flowering.

Pruning is the main activity to keep the shrub tidy and productive.
Old leaves, non productive branches and damaged shoots must be pruned.
Pruning will promote new productive shoots.

Pest control is a must...
Green caterpillar is the most serious bug on this cultivation.
They can make serious damage on the plants.

Look this poor branch...
All buds were damaged only in a short period.

Grasshopper also make some damage on this plant.
They make holes on the leaves and also the flower buds.

Next, we will talk about flowering stage.
I hope you all enjoy this series.

Sunday, August 24, 2014


I'm sure everyone have known about this popular flower.
With so many different names, also so many varieties.
White petal and beautiful scent... so interesting.
This flower is often used to represent purity or sincerity.

In Indonesia Jasmine is called Melati.
There are so many varieties that grown here.
From so many varieties that I have ever known, I'm really interested to Melati Gambir (Jasminum officinales).
Yes... we are turning on the time to the past.
On 2007, me and my friends did a little observation about this flower.
Such an amateur observer, I think....
We did observation to several plants, especially endemic plants.
So, this week I will re-explore this plant as a monthly series.

Here, there are two varieties of jasmine that grown commercially for it flowers, they are Melati menur (Jasminum sambac) and Melati Gambir.
Melati gambir is usually cultivated on smallholder farms. 
The Province of Central Java is the center of Melati Gambir production.
There are some locations as centers of cultivation, they are Purbalingga Regency as the biggest producer, Batang, Tegal and Banjarnegara 
On these area, the plant is grown as second commodity after food crops.
This flower is mainly used as tea fragrance on jasmine tea.
The specific purpose and specific market makes this plant is rarely cultivated on large scale.

Next we will talk about the cultivation of this jasmine.
Please enjoy this series...
Have a beautiful week with my jasmine!

Saturday, August 23, 2014


Hi... look !
Can you find my balconies?
Sorry, it's not easy to get a good angle on taking some pictures of my house.

Lets peek my eastern balcony...
My Queen of the Night got blooming three times this month.

And the Pare (bitter gourd) vine is showing me its little fruits.

And I found the over ripening Pare too...
Such a nice color... so striking!

The celery and sawi kriting are still growing well here.

Although I have to watering twice a day, or they will get drought...

Ya... they usually look so poor on the afternoon, cause the weather is too dry.
But, they will fresh again after watering.

The two pakcoy remain are growing so well.
My girl is really love it, and very often picks the lower leaves to be stir fried.

The only one red lettuce Lolo Rosa looks so stunning, and of course cheering my balcony.

Two endives look so poor...
I guess they got over sunshine, and I moved to the part shady area.
I hope the cooler temperature and shady will make them better.

I hope this dry season will not so extreme, so it will safe for my garden...
Happy gardening..
Have a wonderful weekend...

Friday, August 22, 2014


Today, I attended a wedding reception in another town.
Ya... my friend held a wedding party for his daughter.
Such a simple party but so impressive.
As usual we take home a pack of souvenir.
But I got special souvenir from this party.
I took home a pack of souvenir that consisting of so many traditional foods in the paper bag, and the surprising gift was a plant seedling.

I got a seedling of Gaharu (Aquilaria malaccensis).
Gaharu is a tree that produces resinous heartwood calls agarwood,oud or oodh.
The agarwood is the raw material for perfumery industries.
This is a plant that has a high economic value.
The material produced by this plant (agarwood) is so expensive.
Agarwood and its essential oil gained great cultural and religious significance in ancient civilizations around the world.

I have to think hard to find a suitable space for this plant.
Oh ... please... where...

Thursday, August 21, 2014


This is the new collection of Brassica that grow well on my garden.
We call it 'Sawi Keriting' or curly mustard.

Ya... the young leaves look so curly, but the older looks flatter and more green.

I sowed ten seeds for a trial and all germinated.
The seedling grow so well, and now we are seeing so many beautiful rose-shape plants on my garden.

The leaves are so crispy and sweet...
I pick the older leaves repeatedly.

I have made so many dishes from this mustard.
Soup, noodle-salad, steamed with peanut sauce or just stir fry.

Such a lovely plant...
We really love it, almost everyday we pick the leaves for our daily meal.

As long, I didn't meet bugs yet (I hope never...)
The picture above is a row of curly mustards on my eastern balcony.
They look so nice, and so promising.
They will provide greens as vitamins and minerals source for my family.