Monday, September 22, 2014

Growing tomatoes

Knowing how much I love to grow my own food, my dear friend Hakim brought some tomato seeds back from Bangladesh for me. Even though I've not experienced much success growing tomatoes (except for the Italian cherry tomatoes), I sowed the seeds in several pots and crossed my fingers.

All the seeds germinated. Some seedlings died and I was left with three healthy plants. One started to wither after bearing one fruit. I removed it after it dried up completely.

I continued to tend to the two remaining plants and voila, they're producing tomatoes! Each time I see them, I spot new fruits emerging. The first one is beginning to turn orange and I can't wait to taste it.

Growing coloured greens

It has been a while since I posted but in case you're wondering if I have given up... well, no. I'm still growing vegetables at home! In fact, I am growing nice coloured 'red' greens (what an oxymoron) like red mustard and lettuce.

This company in Singapore (www.pocketgreens.com.sg) imports an interesting range of seeds that germinates easily and grow well in our climate. As you know, freshness of seeds is important as it translates to a high germination rate.

Take a look at some of the plants growing in my balcony right now.

This is red bak choy. As you know, we're always told to eat more coloured vegetables, so I'm very excited to be able to grow them organically at home!
 Despite our hot climate, the red romaine lettuce (below) grows well too. They even survived the heavy downpours that we've been having lately.
The best looking ones are the red mustard. The leaves may look delicate but they're really resilient. After a heavy downpour, I was dismayed to see them flattened by the rain but to my surprise, the leaves sprung up shortly after and looked even more fresh than before.

I harvest the larger leaves for salad and let the plants continue to grow new leaves. They're my current favourite - pretty and tasty.
 I sowed some kai lan seeds too. At first they were growing slowly, but after I transplanted the seedlings to a bigger pot, they began to flourish. I went away for 4 days and was surprised to see how much they have grown.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A salad fairytale

It reads like a fairytale. Buy salad, eat the leaves, grow the stump and eat more leaves. Well, it happened right here in my patio.






















The robust regrowth of new leaves is quite amazing. I made a large salad out of them. In fact, I find the new leaves more tender and tastier after the regrowth.

Salad leaves with tomato, sauteed onion and portobello mushroom, walnut, raisin and parmesan.


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Capers

Have you ever wondered what capers really are? You know, the sour and salty stuff pretty much like miniature olives usually served with smoked salmon or carpaccio?











I always thought the little pickled thing is a fruit until I came face to face with them in Sicily. They are actually the unripened bud of the flowering plant! They grow wild everywhere in the rocky valley of Scicli. The best thing is, they're free for anyone who is diligent enough to pick though it can be back breaking work!

Reading David's post reminded me of my encounter with this fascinating plant few years ago. If you wish to know how the buds are prepared for eating, he describes it very well here.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Regrowing lettuce























One of the lettuce stumps rotted away after a week but the other one kept producing new leaves. I am so pleased with how the experiment is going!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Regrowing vegetable stumps

I like experimenting with plants. I've tried growing different kinds of edibles from seeds and cuttings in my patio. My recent experiment with a salad green that I purchased from the market was a success.

















The salad vegetables came with healthy roots. After cutting the leaves for salad, I planted the remaining heads in soil. On the second day, new leaves were seen sprouting out from the stumps.

Day by day, the leaves grew taller and larger. The photo below shows the stumps exactly one week after I've planted them. At the rate they're growing, I will have a new crop of salad greens in no time.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Growing mustard greens

















I know, not many people can appreciate the bitter taste of the oriental mustard green but they're so lovely to look at. The leaves are big and showy and they grow so quickly, they can really perk up any garden. Just give them plenty of sun light, fertiliser and room to grow.