MCO did wonders for Terengganu teacher’s strawberry garden

Strawberry_Tokki now has 1,200 strawberry plants in 12 varieties, which include the ‘Sanuke mime’ and ‘Shogun’

by BERNAMA/ pic source: Strawberry_Tokki Facebook

ANYONE visiting Ramli Yusof’s home in Kampung Berangan Pak Ayu, Bukit Payong in Marang, Terengganu, would think they were in Cameron Highlands because of the lush strawberry plants growing in his front garden.

The religious teacher from SK Bukit Payong, also known as Ustaz Ramli (picture), said he started growing strawberries two years ago as a hobby with around 50 plants.

When the Movement Control Order (MCO) started in March, however, he had more time to spend in his garden and now has 1,200 strawberry plants in 12 varieties, which include the “Sanuke mime” and “Shogun”.

“If it wasn’t for the MCO, I wouldn’t have this many plants. During that three-month period, after online lessons and finishing my schoolwork, I would spend time in my garden.

“Now, at the break of dawn and before heading to school, I spend at least an hour in my mini strawberry garden (called ‘Strawberry_Tokki’),” he told Bernama.

The 55-year-old said he has loved gardening since he was young and learnt to grow strawberries from his friends and YouTube.

He said they are easy to grow and hardy plants.

“The most important thing is to keep the soil moist and provide enough fertiliser. I’ve also used a net to protect the fruit from birds,” said Ramli, who tends Strawberry_ Tokki with his wife, Norizan Pipeh, 51, a teacher as well.

Strawberry_Tokki was opened to the public about five months ago (only Friday and Saturday) and according to Ramli, visitors from near and far have been coming nonstop to see and taste his sweet strawberries which are bountiful depending on the weather.

“There have even been people who have brought their elderly parents to see the strawberries because they wouldn’t be able to tolerate the journey to — or temperature in — Cameron Highlands.

“But since Covid-19 cases started rising, I’ve limited the number of visitors in order to adhere to the standard operating procedures,” said Ramli.

He said he doesn’t charge an admission fee and visitors “can even eat the strawberries for free”, however, strawberry stolons can be purchased for between RM15 and RM20.

He said he started promoting them online since last month and has received good response.

The grandfather-of-three said he hopes that his strawberry garden will grow to have more than 3,000 plants someday. — Bernama