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 journal 2 – baby plants

Balcony Garden journal 2 – baby plants

There have been a lot of activities in the balcony garden last two weeks. More seeds arrived from Korea and I have been busy planting. Now I have baby chicory, broccoli, kale,  Chinese cabbage,  red cabbage, and raddish. It should only take 2-3weeks to grow and I can add them to my salad.

They are really simple to grow. All you need is a piece of kitchen towel, a bowl and some water.  In the instruction packet, it said to water them 2-3 times a day with water spray. I started off with baby radish first. Only a few more days to go and these little baby sprouts are going into my salad!

Next one is baby Chinese cabbage, like the ones used in kimchi. Instead of growing in a bowl, I am growing them in soil to see how big they get. I am curious to see how they will  look in 3 weeks.

Now some updates on the ones I planted in the beginning of February.

  • My Thai cucumbers are growing really well. It’s ready to be transplanted to bigger pots. I just need to find some space on my balcony.

  • The Korean perilla plants are looking really healthy. The outer leaves are almost ready to be picked  but I am going to resist and wait for them to grow a little taller. A little creepy crawly got to one of my leaves already which taught me to check the back of the leaves more frequently. I thought I was only one eying the perilla leaves…

  • The most exciting result this week is my cucumber. I harvested one cucumber  already a few days ago. When I cut it in half, the skin looked and felt really thick but they were sweet and refreshing. According to my research, you need to pick the first vegetable early, so there will be many more. The name tags keep falling off  so I not sure which cucumber this is exactly but from memory  I think  it’s the seeds I bought from Malaysia.

  • My information appears to be correct because after I picked my first cucumber, a few more started to appear.  In the past, I haven’t had a lot of success with cucumbers in Singapore. I thought it was just the weather but now I think I found the secret. Cucumbers need lots water and calcium.  I learnt that crushed egg shells are a great source of calcium. All you need to do wash and  dry them and put them through a  spice grinder to turn them into powders.

  • Cucumbers have both male and female flowers. The cucumbers grow from the female flowers. To help them along, I have artificially hand pollinated the female flowers by cutting back the surrounding petals of male flowers and dabbing it inside female flower.  The picture above is two days after the female flower has been hand pollinated. Today I had a look at  the cucumber and it’s now half the size of my hand.

  • Finally, I have been picking lots of cherry tomatoes from my garden. It’s not enough to have a salad with but it keep us smiling everytime we get to taste a real tomato straight off the vine.  🙂

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!