Saturday, January 31, 2009

Deformed finger

This is what will happen when you neglect your lady finger plant! Look at how small and twisted the lady finger is! I think it is cute actually.

I planted the seed in a really small pot and didn't bother to transfer it into a bigger one. The plant was scrawny but managed to produce a single flower which developed into a fruit, albeit a twisted one. It looks like a ram's horn now.

My potato buds are growing into proper leaves now. I hope it will continue to develop into a proper plant and give me lots of nice potatoes!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Garden update

It's the first day of the Chinese New Year and I am so tempted to change into my gardening clothes! There's work to be done. The brinjal seedlings need to be put into bigger pots and I want to sow more vegetable seeds. Then I realised I'm out of gardening soil. All the shops are closed for the holidays. Looks like I'll have to get some from the farm when I go for dinner tonight.

I'm beginning to follow my father's footsteps. Mum always complains that he spends his Chinese New Year holidays pottering around in the garden. I think it's a fantastic way to relax, do something useful and take a break from all the eating.

My onion bulbs are finally producing shoots. It has been 12 days since I planted and I was beginning to wonder if they're still alive. Looks like they are alive and kicking. Phew!

Here's my box of kai lan. When I was at the market yesterday, the lady at the vegetable stall was promoting her locally grown kai lan. I bought some (5 small plants for S$1) for taste-test but haven't cooked them yet.

I am so proud of my radish plants. Can you see the white radish protruding from the soil? I can confirm these are not carrots now.

Here's a nice and healthy lettuce growing in my planter box. They do look juicy.

After I transfered the tomato seedlings into bigger planter box, they're growing so well now. Now all I have to do is wait for them to mature and give me red, succulent fruits!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Farm life

If you can see the stuff growing at our farm, what I have in my little patio garden is pathetic. Then again, land is so precious in Singapore, my parents are the very lucky few who can enjoy the farm life in our little urban city.

We planted this hibiscus years ago and it has never stopped flowering.

Our passion fruit plants are only a few years old but they're always laden with fruits.

This lime plant has lots of limes too.

Our dragon fruit plant produces fruits every now and then.

Sweet potato leaves growing in abundance.

Orchid farm

I decided to shoot some close ups of our orchids while I was cutting flowers for my friends today. These are only some of the commercial varieties grown by my parents.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

One month old

How time crawls in the garden, my vegetables are finally 1 month old. Still some way to go before they make it to the dining table.

Strong winds, harsh sun and dry weather are not exactly the best conditions for these young vegetables but they seem to be doing well. They're always thirsty, so I have to keep watering them several times a day to keep them happy.



Chye sim.

Kai lan.
I planted this last Sunday while I was cooking curry. One of the potatoes had shoots growing out, so it presented an opportunity to grow a potato plant in my patio.

I sowed some egg-plant seeds weeks ago. They took a really long time to grow to this stage. Maybe they need more shade and water.

Dawn surprise

At 6am in the morning, when the skies were just beginning to brighten up, I spotted a big yellow bloom on my small pumpkin plant. Ah, the joys of waking up at the break of dawn!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Cherry tomatoes

This is my father's cherry tomato plant. It's laden with clusters of fruits. He is a champion gardener!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Little helpers

Gardening is alot more fun when you have little helpers.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

My edibles

I decided to take stock of the edible plants in my patio. Check out my list.

I have two pumpkin plants (below) growing in the planter box. They definitely need more space to flourish but it's funny how they're already producing flower buds at such a tender age. This planter box is like a bin where I toss in all kinds of seeds. I counted two citrus babies, a little peanut plant, some cilantro sprouts, two chilli padi and lots of tiny shoots of a flowering plant found in our estate.

I'm keeping these ladys fingers (below) for the seeds. The pods are drying up which means I can sow the seeds soon.

The rosemary plant I bought from the nursery is a wise and useful investment. A few sprigs of fresh rosemary stuffed in roast chicken make alot of difference to the dish.

This curry plant is tiny but it has served me very well. Some of the stalks are bare because I have used the leaves to garnish my curry dishes.

This is lemon mint but I have not incorporated any of it in my dishes yet. I must have tried it once and the kids didn't like the strong scent.

I grow the mint plant (below) in a big pot together with chilli padi and rosemary. The mint, being an aggressive grower became too straggly. I cut it down until it was almost gone but look at it now. It's coming back with a vengeance. Again, I hardly use the leaves for garnishing. The tiny plants are from the chilli padi pods that have dried and scattered all over.

My lime plant is simply bursting with fruits! I think I can make lime juice soon. I like having a lime plant around the house so I can grab a handful for making salad dressing or dips.

My tomato plants are almost a month old and they're still growing so slowly.

The lettuce are beginning to look like lettuce now. They're very delicate and need alot of water to stay hydrated. I can't wait to make a salad.

Here's what's left of the kai lan after Rusty's rampage. They look somewhat skinny.

My chye sim and spinach are nicely taking shape. They're probably in the right spot of my patio with just the right amount of sunlight.

My kang kongs are too lanky because of too much shade. I should have moved them to a sunnier location earlier.

I finally got my act together today and planted the onions. The reason for the delay is a valid one. I wanted to use disposable paper cups to grow my plants. I spent days scouring supermarket shelves and stores and was told that the manufacturers have stopped producing paper cups/bowls but not paper plates! How can this be possible?

I am disappointed that firstly I cannot find biodegradable pots to plant my seedlings, and now my other alternative of using paper cups is also not possible.

After thinking for some time, I decided to try planting my bulbs in styrofoam bowls. They may not be biodegradable but at least they are well insulated and I can easily make drainage holes.

The onions are planted and arranged in my planter box so that I can move them around if necessary.

Finally, here is the apple of my eye. My carrots! Or they could be radish? Who knows? They're growing so robustly, I can't help but show favourtism towards them. I simply can't wait to see what surprise is in store for me when it is time to harvest!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I'm sow ready

Finally we had a burst of rainfall yesterday after a hot spell. I'm sow (forgive the pun) ready to start sowing more seeds in my patio garden.

When I was back at my parent's farm yesterday, I saw three huge truckloads of fertile soil in the yard. Dad is priming the plot for vegetable growing. Mum showed me bags of ladys finger, spinach, kai lan and other vegetable seeds in the fridge. Dad says I should come home and start growing vegetables now that everything is ready.

Until then, I should continue growing stuff in my patio. I am planning to plant some onion bulbs so I can have spring onions fresh from the garden. It's also time to transfer the tomato seedlings into bigger planter boxes. The spuds in my pantry are starting to grow shoots, so the timing is ripe to grow some potatoes too.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Bad dog!

Rusty dug up part of my Kai Lan patch during the weekend. He used to trample on my plants while we were living at the farm but so far, he has not destroyed anything in my patio. He hardly ventures out to the patio on his own actually except to sunbathe.

Maybe he was throwing a tantrum because I didn't bring him to the market with me. Or he could be digging for earthworms. My kai lan shoots were growing so well but now some of the uprooted ones have died. So annoying. If he does it again, I will ban him from going near my vegetable patch.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Veggies - 20 days later

I was at a customer's restaurant yesterday and got excited when I saw their own vegetable patch in their backyard. They're growing potatoes, spring onions, herbs and some young vegetable seedlings that I couldn't identify.

Anyway, I promised more photos of the vegetables growing in my garden. It has been 20 days. We've had relentless amount of sun and little rain, so I have been watering diligently in the morning and evening.

This is a tray of tomato and eggplant seedlings (below). They're less than 3 weeks old and look at how tiny they are compared to the carrots which I had sowed at the same time.

The carrots (below) have grown so much in less than 3 weeks but I'm rather puzzled what kind of carrot I am growing here. I bought the seeds from a wholesaler. These are sold loosely without any packaging, hence sans instructions or guidelines. The leaves certainly do not look like the typical frilly carrot leaf. Mine are certainly anything but frilly, maybe cos they're Asian carrots. I suppose you'll know when I harvest the carrots. I'm not sure when they'll be harvested but do check back my blog from time to time.

The rest of vegetables below were all sowed 20 days ago. Some are growing faster than the others but they're definitely too young to be harvested. I read somewhere that a gardener could harvest baby pak choi in 25 days. I am wondering if I read correctly because my vegetables are nowhere near edible stage yet!

The one above with the spiky leaves, without the white labels, is kangkong. Apparently they're the fastest growers in my vegetable garden now.

At this point, I must emphasise that it has been difficult for me to gather information on growing local vegetables even after trawling the internet. I am curious to find out what kind of carrot I am planting and when I can harvest them. I don't want to pull them out when they're too young. My best friend has suggested that I should plant carrots in transparent pipes so that I can monitor the length. Well, trust an engineer to come up with an innovative suggestion. That's a really good one. I should try it next time but first, I must look for transparent pipes.