Balcony garden journal 3 – harvest time!

Balcony garden journal 3 – harvest time!

It’s been so hot recently, so when I woke up to the rain this morning I felt really happy for my vegetables.  The last few weeks have been so hot and humid here and it’s not really the right temperature to grow anything. Luckily I have harvested most of my baby vegetables before I went to Italy. Here are some pictures.

They were just so fresh and delicious. My favorites were the lettuce but my husband loved the radish as they reminded him of little red radish  he used to have when he was a child.

Here are pictures of Korean Zucchinis I planted before I left to Italy.

When I returned from my trip, the two zucchinis have grown so much. Some of the leaves were bigger than my hand.

It must be the heat and humidity. There are lots of flower buds but none of them are opening up! I might have to put them in an air-con room. 😉

While I was in Italy, I bought lots of tomato and zucchini seeds so this is my first attempt to grow the Italian zucchinis. These are for zucchini flowers more than the vegetables themselves. Have you tried fried zucchini flowers with stuffing? They are really hard to find in Singapore so I am going to be growing them myself. Wish me luck!

I am using  plastic containers that I recycle from the groceries. They are great for my seedlings. Once the third or fourth leaves are growing, I will transplant them to a bigger pot.

The next new members of the garden are different tomato seeds I bought from Tuscany. They are growing really well.

 

Florentine ribbed tomato seedlings – they are supposed to be big and ribbed around tomatoes. I have never tasted them before so I am really looking forward to it.

Italian Roma tomato seedlings– we bought some Roma tomatoes from a fruit shop when we were in Sienna and they were just heaven. I am hoping I can have some of those for myself. Very juicy and sweet!

At our friends wedding in Italy, they handed out sweet basil seeds and I am hoping to grow them and give a few plants back to our friends as a present. Basil seem to be the only plants that really don’t mind Singapore’s heat and humidiy. I have basil bushes all over my balcony garden. I used empty milk carton for the seedlings. Just wash the bottle and cut in half and there is your pot!

Lastly, I adopted a Korean chilli seedling when I visited a Korean farm in March and finally I have a chilli growing.This Korean chilli is known to be deadly so this one will be incredibly spicy.

I forgot to pick the chilli last week. Look how big it has grown over 5 days. The chilli was so heavy that it was leaning like the leaning tower of Pisa we saw in Italy.   I am going to use this chilli in Den jang jji ge (Korean miso soup -된장찌게) tonight.

I just received two photos from my mother-in-law in Australia showing off their veggie garden. As you can see, it looks luscious!  My in-laws are waiting for  the delivery of about 60 fruit  trees, camellias and gardenias as well as 40 + roses. I can’t wait to visit their farm soon.   🙂   Happy gardening!

Balcony garden 101

Balcony garden 101

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.

Here are some of the seedlings growing in various containers.

  • 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! 🙂

Nearly harvest time!

Nearly harvest time!

I started a two month culinary school last week which has kept me really busy. I can’t wait for the weekend to show off what I learnt from the school.

Meanwhile, my garden is doing really well. Lots of new family members to introduce today and  I will be ready to give away some chilli plants in the next few weeks.

  • My cherry tomatoes are doing really well. We’ve had a few ripe ones already and they were amazingly sweet.
  • There is a melon growing on the vine which is now the size of my hand. I have never grown melon before so I am very proud!
  • Finally, my favourite – Thai basil and mint – which both come in useful when I am cooking different dishes! Its great to walk out to the garden, pick the fresh herbs and add them straight into my cooking!

Singapore Garden Festival & my harvest for the day!

Singapore Garden Festival & my harvest for the day!

My first visit to Singapore Garden Festival at Suntec few weeks ago blew my mind away. There are so many ways of utilising small space such as vertival gardening to grow different herbs and vegetbles. I am into growing plants that are useful for cooking. I am not into flowers or trees, mind you, I would love to have fruit trees but I doubt I can grow them at my condo! 🙂

Some of these vegetables are amazing, check out the watermelon! I wonder how these are grown so well in this hot weather…

Here are my latest harvest from my garden. Eggplant and capsicums, aren’t they beautiful? I am still waiting for my tomatoes to grow as big as my hand so I can show off to everyone soon!