Sunday, May 12, 2013

Growing edamame

The best appetiser to order in a Japanese restaurant is lightly boiled edamame - basically immature soybeans in a pod. They can be so addictive, it's hard to believe that something so tasty can be so good for you.

Growing them at home is easier than you can imagine. I've grown many batches of edamame in my garden using the humble dried soybean that's easily available at the stores. It's the same kind of soybean that is used for making soup, soy milk or beancurd.

Last week, I soaked 100 beans overnight before putting them in a planter the next day. Soaking the beans will expedite the germination process.

You might think that 100 beans is way too many. I think the figure is just right. Out of my 100 beans, only 30 germinated after 3 days. Some might still germinate later but one should always expect some beans or seedlings to die or get chewed up by grasshoppers, snails or birds.

Even if 10 plants manage to grow into adults, don't expect the harvest to be too impressive.

Grow them in a large pot with access to direct sunlight. They don't take up much space, so anyone with a small garden should be able to grow this successfully. They're fast growers, so you can expect to eat the pods in about a month and a half.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Beans in a bin

 I bought some fresh mottled beans from the market to make a stew. I saved some and dropped them in my compost bin. Now there is a bunch of them sprouting in the bin. If you're a beginner, you should try growing beans because they'll normally germinate given the right conditions. Well, unless they are too old.
The only problem I've encountered so far was having them gobbled up by snails. To overcome this problem, I soak the beans overnight, until they're just about to sprout, before putting them into the soil. They will germinate very quickly after that. I guess planting them in a tall compost bin helps too because it's a long climb for the snails. As you know, snails come out to play at night. By the time they get to the top of the bin, it's almost daybreak and they have to make their way back to hide in the shade again.

Sunday, May 5, 2013


We have been getting more rain than ever this year. The hot spell that was expected after Chinese New Year didn't happen. And it's been unusually wet lately. In fact, we're seeing extremes -scorching heat followed by heavy rain.It's a blessing really. May used to be really hot and dry.

My garden's in a mess. Plants are overgrowing, spilling all over the boardwalk. There is no space for walking, let alone growing more vegetables!

Amidst the clutter, I have a small cluster of herbs (chives, oregano, thai and sweet basil) and tropical vegetables (spinach, cai xin, sweet potato vine and mustard green) growing in small planters.

I've also sowed more rocket salad and soy beans in pots scattered in every nook and cranny. If everything goes according to plan, I will be harvesting rocket and edamame for my salad bowl before July!