Saturday, February 28, 2009


Woo hoo! My tomato plants have started flowering!

Even the tiny chilli padi plant has produced fruits!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Hello Casey!

While I was at World Farm this morning, I saw a person who looked vaguely familiar. Indeed, my suspicions were correct. I bumped into my reader Casey of Plant Stories.

I was so excited that when I walked up to introduce myself, I uttered, "Hi, I'm TT!! Err, (aka) Blur Ting..."

She looked a little puzzled at first. When I left World Farm, I realised I should have told her I'm Ms Green Fingers!

Ah, this is a case of having too many blog identities!

There's something about...

There's something about homegrown veggies that keeps them irresistably fresh even after more than a week in the fridge.

Before I started growing my own vegetables, I would get my supply from the local wet market or supermarket. When I get home, I would wrap them up carefully and store them away in the fridge's vegetable compartment. The vegetables will start to go limp and yellow after 2 or 3 days. If I don't cook them within 4 days, chances of them ending up in the bin is very high.

Recently I harvested the last of my chye sim vegetables from the patio, washed them and stored them away casually in the fridge and forgot all about them. After languishing in there for more than a week, they still looked fresh and crispy when I took them out this morning. The delicate white lettuce that I picked a week ago are still perky and crisp too.

Wow, this is beyond my expectations. This really sets me thinking about what chemicals have been put into the commercially grown vegetables that make them so inferior.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

They've sprouted!

The seeds that I sowed 3 days ago have sprouted. They weren't there yesterday which got me a little concerned about the soil. I used normal garden soil mixed with black lava sand this time round instead of the special seedling mix. I'm glad this works too.

These little ones are spinach seedlings:

The ones below are kai lan seedlings:
These are chye sim planted a couple of weeks ago.

I've also sowed some new kai lans here:

The one below is lettuce seedling. I've been tardy in keeping records and labels. I planted two different kinds of lettuce some weeks ago. I've got to wait until they get bigger before I can identify them.

Here is the other lettuce seedling. I know how all the seedlings look identical. These are not the true leaves yet. I find it's useful for me to blog at every stage so that I can always look back and track their progress. Well, the blog has become a very useful tool.

The one below with the sharp leaves is kang kong. Can't go wrong with this one.

Here's how much my brinjal (egg plant) has grown.

The potato plant is getting quite tall and straggly, I had to use bamboo poles to stake.

Due to the hot weather, the orchids have started blooming. These plants were left behind by the previous house owner. Here's a white dendrobium with purple tongue. We grow this variety commercially in our orchid farm too.

Here's a purple dendrobium.

I like this white dendrobium with blushing pink the best.

I bought some of these plants recently. Some withered and died due to the heat. After moving them to a shady spot, they're starting to reward me with pretty white blooms.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Patio garden update

I have been moving things around my garden the past few days. I've fertilised my tomato plants and moved them to sunny spots. I guess there is nothing much to write about. It's better I show you some photos.

Oops, this is not a plant but a Harlequin Shrimp from YK's marine tank. Somehow it was in my camera. Isn't it pretty?

Now, here are some one of my tomato plants. The one in the middle is my favourite because it's the sturdiest and healthiest looking.

I've finally transferred the badly neglected brinjal seedlings into bigger pots. This one here is growing slowly but steadily.

I'm doing yet another experiment. This time I'm planting vegetables in black bags to see how well they'll grow. I've just sowed the seeds today. It'll be weeks before they mature but I've learned to be more patient.

Finally, here is a chilli padi plant grown from a seed of another plant in my garden.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Spicy radish

My radish looks so succulent and sweet, I decided to eat it raw. Big mistake! It was crunchy and juicy but woah, it was spicy! Yah, so spicy I spat it out immediately. I wonder if it'll taste better after cooking.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Bountiful harvest

It wasn't that long ago when I was so curious to find out if the seeds I sowed would grow into carrots or radish. Well, the mystery was later solved and now they're ready for eating. I pulled out every single one today to make way for another new batch of vegetables. I have to make efficient use of the limited space in my patio.

Here they are. They're all rather small, averaging about 15cm. These were grown in a styrofoam box which probably limits the growth.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Hey good looking!

I swear my tomato plants are secretly doing their growing up at night. Each time I see them in the morning, they have expanded vertically and horizontally.

The potato must be conspiring with the tomatoes too. It has entered a growth spurt since I topped up soil to cover up the exposed roots several days ago.

I picked some lettuce and all my kangkong for dinner tonight. The stirfried kangkong was tender and nice but the lettuce was rather bitter. I wonder why?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

All over again

I woke up to the sound of rain at 5am this morning. It's a welcome relief after weeks of scorching heat. I must have picked the worst time to grow vegetables because they're such water guzzlers that love wet weather. Imagine how much more succulent and tasty they would have been if not for the dry weather.

Save for the lettuce, my vegetable patch is now bare after my harvest. Now I recall my well-meaning friend 's (at World Farm) advice to sow every few days for a constant supply of veggies. A new crop takes about 6 weeks to mature. That means I'll be buying vegetables for the next month or two.

After tasting the fruits of my labour, I don't think I'll ever enjoy buying leafy vegetables from the market anymore. I'm sick of tossing out limp and yellowed vegetables from my fridge. Store bought vegetables don't keep very well.

It has become a habit to walk to the patio with a pair of scissors to snip off some vegetables when I'm cooking noodles or soup. It's a new lifestyle that I really love.

I had better start sowing seeds this afternoon instead of moaning and pining for crisp and crunchy vegetables.

Veggie feast

I finally harvested and cooked all my spinach and kai lan for dinner tonight. I kept waiting for my spinach to grow taller without realising that they belong to the dwarf variety and have already reached maturity. How did I find out?

Spinach and spring onion from my garden.

The stalks were stiff and there were lots of flowers growing along the stem. I tossed the leaves in a soup and discarded the stems. The good news is the leaves were nice and tender after cooking.

See the little spiky flowers?

The kai lan exceeded my expectations. I had never tasted such crisp and crunchy kai lan stems all my life. The ones you get from the market tend to be tough and chewy but these snap and crunch with every bite, I enjoyed this dish thoroughly!

YK thinks it is slightly bitter but I think it is a nice kind of bitter, just like how kai lan should taste.

Kai lan cooked with garlic and oyster sauce.

I'm happy with my harvest. I wish I had planted more.

Monday, February 9, 2009


To be a good gardener, one cannot stop learning. So here I am, armed with 2 thick books... these will be my bedtime stories for the next few nights. How can I not dream of veggies?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Pick & sow

I must get used to the fact that I have vegetables growing in my garden. I bought some spring onions from the market yesterday and then kicked myself when I got home. What was I thinking? I have my own spring onions growing in the patio!

One thing I did was held back the purchase of leafy vegetables because I could pick my chye sim, spinach, kang kong and kai lan anytime now.

Now that my radishes are ready for picking, I'll have to think of many ways to cook them before the kids get sick of drinking radish soup.

On hindsight, I should have planted more because everything I have in the garden is not even enough to last me one week. It's time to sow new seeds.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

First radish!

I pulled out the first radish yesterday and I swear I've never looked at a radish with such pride and admiration! It was long and straight, not deformed or stunted. It's a little small but that's expected as I had planted many in a small box in my patio garden. I brought it to my parent's house to flaunt it and then let my brother bring it home. The small radish is hardly enough to feed one person, let alone an entire family. I wonder how they're planning to cook it.

My first harvest!

Since I was going to my brother's house today, I brought some freshly harvested chye sim and kai lan for them. It's not much because I planted so little but I hope they can give me their feedback after eating. I can't contain my pride when I handed them the small bag of vegetables, my kids think I love my veggies more than I love them!

But really, look at how beautiful the leaves are. I didn't even use any fertiliser, chemicals or additives, they're organic!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Rusty did it!

I made a shocking discovery this morning. One of my tomato plants had been uprooted yesterday. It looked shrivelled and sickly. Nobody else have access to our patio except us. I was really curious who did it.

I looked around for clues. There was a small pile of soil on the floor and huh, I spotted some footprints. Er, I mean paw prints. See...

I can only say this is the culprit!

I still wonder how he got into the patio. The door to the balcony is always shut. He's not allowed in there anymore because he did something recently that almost gave me a heart attack.

I was pottering around my garden one day and Rusty was chasing lizards underneath some plants. When I got back into the house, he wasn't there. I couldn't find him in the garden either. Where could he be? I kept calling and calling until I began to panic.

Then I looked out of my patio and found him perched precariously on a narrow ledge, walking away from me. The ledge is two-storey high. If he falls, he'll be badly injured or worse still, dead!

I have to make a wiremesh fence around the garden soon.

Friend's garden

Now that I've a renewed interest in gardening and agriculture, I begin to look at plants differently. Suddenly I find myself paying close attention to the trees in my friend's house. I've been there a thousand times but never have I looked at her plants with such curiosity.

Her mother-in-law is a champion hydrangea grower. Due to our hot and humid climate, I find little success in getting mine to produce big blooms butI see huge bunches of powder-blue blossoms everytime I visit them. I'm so impressed!

They do have green fingers. Their olive tree is always laden with little green fruits.

In fact, they've even successfully produced some young olive plants through marcotting.

These plants are merely 3 months old but they're already flowering and producing fruits!

They've cleverly placed all these shade loving plants under the mango tree.

Here is the avocado plant. I have not seen another avocada plant in Singapore, especially one that produces fruits constantly like theirs.

The pink guava plant below is grown from a seedling they obtained during their honeymoon in Mauritius more than 10 years ago.

Looks like they have some exotic plants in their yard.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Budding stars

I sowed some periwinkle seeds recently. The seeds were picked from the development's garden. I had been eyeing on them for weeks and would check on them whenever I walked Rusty. When the pods ripened, I brought one home. I'm not greedy. I left the rest for other residents to pick but I doubt anyone else is interested.

Here's what they look like now after several weeks. It looks overcrowded, so I've got to transfer some out soon.

My potato is growing healthily. The heavy rain has washed away some of the soil cover, leaving the roots exposed. I've got to top up soil this weekend.

Important milestone

My vegetables have reached an important milestone. They're about 7 weeks (47 days) old. Why is this important? Because most common vegetables take about this long to mature. Let's see if my plants are ready to be harvested.

The tomato plants have grown quite alot recently but I doubt they will start to produce fruits in another couple of weeks. The estimated time for them to mature is 60 days. Mine are a bit slow.
Add ImageChye sim and spinach are supposed to be fast growers and can be harvested in 25 to 30 days. Mine look ready for eating now. I've been warned by the seed distributor that the spinach will be rather small. Indeed, they are pretty stunted.

Kai Lan takes about 45 days and these look like they're right on track. Well done!

Kang kong is the fastest grower and easiest to care for. They were supposed to be cooked several weeks ago (when they're 30 days old) but look at how skinny they are.

My lettuce is also growing slowly. The guide book says they should be fully grown in 40 days but some are still rather small. They are ready for eating now. Well, I just ate some yesterday.

Radish can be harvested in 50 days. I think mine are asking to be harvested because the leaves are turning yellow and the radish are sticking out of the soil. I think I'll pull them out this weekend.