For my birthday I received five books from Korea and one of them was on how to grow any kind of vegetable on a balcony garden. It seems more and more people in Korea are becoming interested in healthy living and with cost of vegetables going through the roof, growing vegetables and herbs at home is not only a healthy choice but also fun.
This book is written by a Korean blogger who started her balcony garden a year ago and has now published a book providing tips on how to grow various Korean vegetables in a small balcony. So here are a few ideas I learnt from the book on how to get started without costing you an arm and a leg.
First, visit your local gardening shop and ask for a bag of good organic soil. Tell them you are going to grow vegetables or herbs. I highly recommend organic soil as there is no chemical in the soil.
Next stop is Daiso, a Japanese store which sells everything from kichenwares to clothing for only S$2. Pick yourself up a shovel, garden fork and garden hoe.
For planter boxes, I recommend using recycled items such as empty milk cartons or plastic bottles, detergent bottles, or baby milk powder container. Cut these items(bottles only) in half and put 3-4 holes in the bottom. You can also use a rubbish bin by inserting a plastic bag with a few holes.
Let’s get started! The first vegetable I would recommend is either spring onions or leeks. All you have to do is cut the fresh leek stems into about 3cm long and plant them. You can do the same with the spring onions. One thing to remember is to buy leeks or spring onions which have the roots still on them. Below is a picture of leeks I bought from one of the wet markets in Singapore.
I wouldn’t bother trying to grow anything from seeds as they need a lot of care and you might get discouraged straight away if you don’t have success. With the tropical climate of Singapore, I have found it is impossible to grow leeks from seeds. I tried many many times hoping for a miracle but never got the seeds to germinate.
Isn’t this great? I simply dug a small hole, stuck the leeks and watered them. The following morning, there were already small shoots coming out. By the third day they were 10cm tall.
Another easy way to start your garden is to use clippings of basil. Grab some fresh basil (sweet or Thai) from either the supermarket or local wet market. Fill up a small bottle or cup with water and stick the basil in. Make sure to pull the leaves off around the lower part of the stem so that no leaves sit in the water and rot. After 4 or 5 days,the roots will start to grow around the bottom part of the stem. You can continue to grow them in the water or transplant them to a planter box with a soil after a few weeks. I’ve had a lot of success with this method and now have lots of basil growing on my balcony. The fragrant smell is just amazing!!
Here are some of my other little projects on my balcony. I had a friend visiting me from Korea a few weeks ago and she brought me some Korean vegetable seeds including some perilla seeds. Yeh!!! 🙂
Two types of Korean cherry tomatoes and perilla leaves seeds.
Chinese chives and Korean radish.
- Radish seedlings in a bucket bought from Isetan department store for only S$3.50. The seedlings are about two weeks old.
- Perilla leaves in a recycled mesh box.
Happy gardening! 🙂