Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Lemon balm surprise

















Look at the lemon balm! You wouldn't believe they were almost dead and bald just 2 months ago. I saved them from the trash bin and plonked them in a large pot in a corner of my patio.

They continued to look miserable for weeks. I almost gave up on them and even stopped looking that way. Then yesterday, I was shocked to see how lush they have become! The rainy weather must have done wonders to the dying plants. I'm so thrilled that they're doing so well.

If you have never grown lemon balm before, you're really missing out. The leaves, when rubbed, smell zesty and so refreshing, just like a lemon. If you're wondering what you can do with the leaves, this blogger has all the answers for you - 12 things to do with lemon balm.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Cabbage in Singapore

I feel like showing off my cabbage because they can be difficult to grow in our hot weather.

They've been growing in my pot for a couple of months and are just beginning to look like cabbage now.  They're so pretty, they really are the show stealers in my garden. I doubt I have the heart to eat them when they're ready.



Rocket is the best






















If you can manage to grow rocket (arugula) successfully, treat them well and you'll get to harvest the leaves for a long time.

The plants I have are already many months old and they're still going strong. New leaves will grow as you cut the old ones. In fact, I tend to forget to harvest them until the leaves are so big and peppery.

I like to add them to my pizza for that extra kick.Needless to say, they are great in salads too.

Sunflower

When I was at our neighbourhood pet shop recently, I asked for a handful of sunflower seeds. These are big ones that are used to feed hamsters and guinea pigs.

I sowed them in a pot and even though several of them germinated, only one managed to do well. Due to the size of my pot, the plant grew to about my height and produced a beautiful flower.

For an entire week, the flower gave me so much joy each time I looked out the door. It was prettiest in the mornings when the gentle sun lit up the petals.





















Now, all the beautiful petals have fallen off and the bees and ants are busy doing the pollinating work. I'm just waiting to collect the seeds so I can grow a field of them!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Swiss Chard

Lately I have been having great fun growing lots of exotic vegetables. Those living in temperate climate might not understand the fuss about growing vegetables like swiss chard or beet in our hot and humid weather but I like the challenge.

I know we don't really eat kholrabi here but that didn't stop me from growing them. The red kholrabi grew so well in my garden!

Currently I am growing kale, red beet and swiss chard. What I have noticed is they grow really slowly. I'm not sure if it has anything to do with the heat, but I find that the best way to overcome this problem is to harvest them when young.

In fact, growing babygreens has many advantages. You don't need much space as they can be grown on shallow trays. Growing them as baby greens also mean you do not need to deal with pests as they can be harvested in 2 weeks. They can be organically grown too.

The photo below is swiss chard that is ready for harvest.



Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Tomato and mango salsa


















 The tomatoes may be small and sour, they were perfect for making salsa. Adding sweet mango makes it even better. Toast some thinly sliced baguette and spread the salsa on top to make bruschetta.

The recipe for salsa is simple:
1. Dice tomato and mango.
2. Mix balsamic vinegar (or lemon juice) with olive oil and finely chopped garlic.
3. Toss in some chopped onion.
4. Pour dressing over the salad and garnish with coriander and black pepper.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Tomato story

Having grown cherry tomatoes (Roma variety) and regular tomatoes (seeds from Bangladesh), I find growing Roma is more rewarding because the plant stays strong and keeps producing fruits for more than 6 months.

While the latest attempt using seeds from Bangladesh was quite successful with about 20 tomatoes on the plant, it started dying soon after. Now, I'm left with many fruits on a dead plant.

Unlike the crisp and sweet Roma, these tomatoes are sour with thick skin. That explains why the deep red tomatoes are still on the plant!