Potted Longan Tree

As always, before I write a post in my blog, I like to research first and hopefully summarize what I learned from readings and gardeners who grew these wonderful edibles before I shared.

Grow longans

Feb 20 2016 – Anne Ang’s long awaited harvest day!!!!

First, there were not much written about growing longans from seeds. I guessed growing this fruit tree from seeds would take too long to mature and carried an additional risk they would not grow true to parent plants (meaning -not able to fruit!). But I am happy to see some SG gardeners unfazed by common opinions and had already germinated their seeds for observations.

Grow longan in pots

September 14 2015 – Irissa Lee’s 2 weeks old longan seedlings

Feb 10 2016 - Lien Li 's 2 months old longan seedling

Feb 10 2016 – Lien Li ‘s 2 months old longan seedling

Most gardeners would buy a grafted plant like Ms. Anne Ang did and cultivated the fruit tree in pot rather than grow from seed. This way, there is more assurance that the tree would bear fruits after 2 – 3 years compared to 6 years for plants grown from seeds to mature and another 2 years to see fruits if there are any!

Grow a Longan Tree in apartment

Anne Ang’s Longan Tree on her rooftop garden

Anne transplanted her plant to this pot which has a diameter of 50cm, and it is grown under full sun on her rooftop garden. It took roughly 2 years from the date of purchase to harvest day πŸ™‚

Griw longan tree in apartments

Jan7 2016 – Gardeners advised not to bag fruits in plastic as it will retain moisture and caused mold.

Grow Longan

Feb 10 2016 – Almost ready to harvest. Fruits in air-through bags instead of plastic ones

Ms. Ang also recommended to grow this tree near flowers to attract natural pollinators like bees. Unpollinated flowers will drop and there would be no fruits.

December 31 2015 - Jason Ong 's longan flowers

December 31 2015 – Jason Ong ‘s longan flowers

 

Tips for growing longans in pots

  1. Β Pot diameter to be minimum 50 centimeters, and the deeper the pot is best for roots development
  2. Full Sun
  3. Slightly acidic soil with PH 5.5 -6
  4. Well drained soil, mixed with sand and perlite to aid drainage
  5. Fertilize with manure is best every 3 months and water the soil well after adding this (all happy gardening blogpost)
  6. First harvest fruits are thin skin, thicker flesh only from second round harvest πŸ™‚
  7. Trimmed top new branch to keep the tree from growing tall

 

 

 

DONUT Peaches


Just for fun, I wanted to see how far I can grow peaches in Singapore! πŸ™‚

For any hard crust seed, it is better to remove the hard outer covering before sowing. Personally, I like to check the condition of the seeds too before I sowed them. Our fruits after all, were not harvested fresh on our land and shipping may rendered some damage on quality of fruits and seeds. It is a good thing too because as I discovered, not all pits have seeds.

Grow Donut Peach in Singapore

Use a nutcracker to break some of the hard crust. Not all pit has seed.

Gardening sites online recommended to dry the pit first for easier removal of the seed as the shell would be more brittle , but I did not dry mine before I applied the nutcracker and managed to break part of the crust and sowed the seed without totally removing it from the crust.

As this is my first time germinating peaches and impatient by nature, Β I sneaked a peek at the seed on the 10th day by uncovering the soil and tried to dislodge it . When the seed did not budged, and seem “tied” to the soil, I knew there were roots holding it down.

donut peach seedling

Jan 26 2016 – Donut peach seed has germinated

The first leaf emerged from the soil on January 26 2016, the 19th day after sowing the seed. Most of the hard crust had split open.

donut peach seed germinated

Jan 30 2016 – Donut peach seedling pushing through soil

donut peach seedling

Feb 10 2016 – Donut peach seedling

Flat Peach Seedling

Feb 17 2016 – Donut Peach Seedling – seem to grow faster when there is sun

Flat peach seedling

March 5 2016 – can see the beginning of a tiny trunk :0

Donut Peach seedling

March 14 2016 – Donut Peach seedling

For most of my cool seasoned plants, I used ice to water them during the warmer days in Singapore. The higher the temperature, the more ice is needed. If the plants do not like too much watering, ice packs or ice bottles are used instead. Here are the various ways I chilled soil in Singapore! πŸ™‚

Flat peach from seed

Cool seasoned plants need ice during warmer days.

Donut Peach

March 20 2016 – Donut peach

Flato Peach

March 25 2016 – new leaves

March 27 2016 - This peach seedling is growing fast!

March 27 2016 – This 2 months old peach seedling is growing fast!

Flat Peach

April 6 2016 – 70days old Peach seedling is almost 14cm tall

How to grow flat peach from seed

May 1 2016 – 3 months old peach seedling

 

Summary of Donut Peaches Requirements:

  1. Big pot with a diameter of at least 3 feet for better roots development
  2. Depending on varieties, it may take 3 -5 years from seed to harvest day
  3. Well drained medium of 1 part each of sand/peat/compost/perlite or equivalent
  4. Does not like wet soil
  5. Full sun
  6. Need a high Phosphorous fertilizer
  7. Self pollinating
  8. May need 100 hours minimum of chilled soil at 7 degree C (!!) to grow flowers πŸ™‚ – Will worry about this later πŸ™‚

Pineapple Strawberry


Our gourmet strawberries number 2 Β began its journey on January 16 2016 in tropical Singapore. πŸ™‚ This is Alpine heirloom Pineapple strawberries, a low growing variety with 1 inch sized light yellow colored fruits.

The taste profile of this variety has been described as sweeter than red strawberries, with Β an unforgettable impact of pineapple and rose.

Heirloom Pineapple strawberry

Jan 16 2016 – Germinated today! Sowed Heirloom Pineapple Strawberries seeds on Jan 7 (9 days)

These seeds were not easy to germinate. I succeed only on my third attempt. Germination tests will continue in 2017 to pin down the best method to germinate these wonderful strawberries.

Heirloom Pineapple strawberry babies

Jan 25 2016 – More Heirloom Pineapple strawberry seeds germinated

Pineapple strawberries are rarelyΒ sold in overseas supermarkets and even Farmers’ marts.

This variety does not travel well.

They have to be consumed the same day as harvest!

Heirloom Pineapple Strawberries roots

Feb 3 2016 – Transplanting pineapple strawberries to deeper pots

Grow Alpine White strawberries

March 8 2016 – 80% seedling survived, seem hardier than the white soul variety

As we have germinated a lot of seedlings, they were tried in various containers to see how best to grow them while fulfilling the conditions that allow them to thrive in our tropical weather. This data will be updated when we get them.

Grow white alpine strawberries in Singapore

March 8 2016 – Described as low grower but looked big in my PET bottle at 09.5 cm height for 2 months old seedlings

Heirloom Pineapple strawberry

Heirloom Pineapple strawberry at 2 months old was a big plant and moved to grow bag.

Common problem seen on non-red strawberries in Singapore is cupped leaves. Seedlings tend to fail more during the second month of growth. I seen these in the red strawberries as well last year. From the 4th month, they became hardier.

Grow Heirloom Pineapple Strawberries

March 8 2016 – Cupped leaves (3 months old)

Heirloom pineapple strawberries

Cupped and then brown leaves before dying (1 month old seedlings). Transplant shock? Humidity? No idea really why they failed.

On the assumption that cupped leaves may be due to lack of aeration in the PET bottles, I decided to cut out the bottles’ bottom and net it. The leaves improved after this was done –

Heirloom Pineapple Strawberry

Leaves improved and a healthier plant after netting PET bottles

Heirloom Pineapple Strawberries

Roots extending out of the net.

Recycling efforts continued this year as well. Most of my strawberries are grown in PET bottles, either 1.5L or 600 ml plastic bottles. This year, instead of painting these bottles, we recycled even plastic bags and old socks (suggested by member ” Shy Jean“) to shield them from the heat of the sun. Cooling with ice packs as shared by member Wanqing’s method was also explored during very warm weather. As much as possible, I hope to show gardeners that growing strawberries in tropical countries, is possible and with the least carbon footprint and costs.

Pineapple strawberry from seeds

Sun, Chill and Aeration for health! Isn’t these the same for humans too?! πŸ™‚ Frozen ice pack cool the strawberries as they sunbathed! πŸ™‚

Grow Heirloom Pineapple strawberry

June 2016 – The pineapple strawberry continued to thrive. Recycled old socks protect “pots” from our tropical heat!

Grow Heirloom Pineapple Strawberries from seed

July 28 2016 – Strawberry plant grown in a 600ml Sprite bottle

Grow Heirloom Pineapple Strawberries from seed

Smallest bottle strawberry plant at flowering stage

See why I enjoyed growing strawberries from seeds? We get the chance to witness each development closely as they evolved. Just watching how the crown began preparation for its flowering/fruiting journey is amazing. πŸ™‚

Grow Heirloom Pineapple strawberry

First, just a single crown with one new “shoot”

Heirloom Pineapple Strawberry from seeds

Then it becomes two!

Grow Heirloom Pineapple strawberry

More than 2 leaves at the crown

Grow Heirloom Pineapple strawberry

The crown thickened and ready to multiply! The stems become redder as well.

Grow Heirloom Pineapple strawberry

July 14 2016 – First flower spotted!!

 

Human bees get to work on July 17 2016Β  –

Pineapple Strawberry from seeds

Summer began on the first flower to open! πŸ™‚

Heirloom Pineapple strawberries

Household chores – Pollinating strawberries flowers (Shona, my niece)

Heirloom Pineapple Strawberries from seeds

August 7 2016 – Children pollinating flowers

Grow Pineapple Strawberry

Self pollination with a paint brush

Pollinating flowers with new young friends (Jonas and Eva) from NakedGreens‘ gardening group! August 14 2016 –

 

 

When pollination is successful, strawberry’s petals will dropped completely.

Grow Pineapple Strawberry

Hopefully this developing fruit complete its journey!

Grow Heirloom Pineapple Strawberries from seed

Can’t wait to taste our yellow strawberries ! πŸ™‚

Sometimes, even after successful pollination, the fruit may dry up in Singapore, halting its journey to fruiting. Thus, we always keep our fingers crossed till harvest day! Not taking any developments for granted. Β The strawberry plant though continued to evolve. Check out how flowering stems developed from the crown. –

Pineapple Strawberry from seeds

Newly formed flowers just began.

Pineapple Strawberry from seeds

New flower buds

Grow Heirloom Pineapple Strawberries from seed

July 27 2016 -Pretty little bloom peeking out πŸ™‚

Pineapple strawberries from seeds

Regardless of the color of the fruits, strawberries flowers are yellow center, either white or pink flowers.

 

HARVEST DAY (Parent Plants to our second generation seedlings to come) Β – August 7 2016 :)

Heirloom Pineapple Strawberries from seeds

Amazing taste – rose syrup, pineapples and only a hint of strawberries. Very light yellow and a strong scent of pineapple when ripe!

Heirloom pineapple strawberries

Aug 13 2016 – Saving these for the grandparents!

Grow Pineapple Strawberries

Aug 22 2016 – Sweet and flavorful ! Pineapple candies smell scent the room πŸ™‚

Heirloom Pineapple Strawberries from seeds

Kids love these yellow strawberries!!

Grow Pineapple Strawberries

Aug 21 2016 – Bountiful harvest.

Heirloom Pineapple Strawberries

September 17 2016 – Do the fruits look like pineapple to you? Β πŸ™‚

These strawberries took one month to slowly ripen and grow. Fruit sizes are about 2.5 cm to 3 cm when its fully ripe. Pineapple candies smell scent the bedroom! πŸ™‚

Grow Pineapple Strawberries

Heirloom Pineapple Strawberries – about 2.5 – 3 cm

Heirloom Pineapple strawberries

They are sweet, a surprise hint of rose syrup with pineapple and strawberries taste! πŸ™‚

 

Video of our strawberries plants – (in English and Japanese)

 

Second Generation (Born in Singapore Strawberries)Β – Seeds from our ripe strawberries were sowed for the next generation of pineapple strawberries. Hopefully we will have acclimatized strawberry plants for Singapore soon.

Heirloom Pineapple Strawberries from seeds

August 26 2016 – Very ripe fruits were sacrificed for seeds!

Heirloom Pineapple Strawberries from seeds

Germinated on August 30, these seedlings are about a week old on September 7 2016.

Grow Heirloom Pineapple Strawberry from seeds

Sept 2016 – New generation of strawberry seedlings from born in Singapore Heirloom parents! πŸ™‚

As the seedlings grew, we need more space to accommodate an expanding garden. Thus vertical space was considered again. A new method to grow them in less soil and using Singapore natural resources work well. πŸ™‚ It will be shared in workshop sessions only.

Grow Pineapple Strawberries from seeds

Hanging Garden of strawberries and camomile plants

Grow Pineapple Strawberries from seeds

Jan 16 2017 7 am – Scented Window Garden at the balcony πŸ™‚

Grow Pineapple Strawberries from seeds

January 26 2017 – My office where I wrote and replied posts!

Second generation‘s first fruit harvested on January 30 2016 –

Pineapple Strawberries from seeds

Jan 26 2017 – First fruit spotted!

Observations on second generation plants (February 02 2017 ) –

  • Hardier than Generation 1 , need no chilling treatment
  • Slower to flower
  • Fruits production is less than parent plants

With so many seedlings on hand, window of opportunities grew to learn more from them. For example, what kind of soil is best for strawberries? Working with soil specialist, we were able to put our seedlings through soil trials in order to pin down a formula that work for these plants in our climate. Thus, customized ready soil mix is in the pipeline soon! πŸ™‚

Grow gourmet Strawberries from seeds

December 01 2016 – Seedlings from our parent plants

The learning journey never stops as we sought to learn more about our strawberries. What kind of soil is best for them? As these plants are not commonly grown (yet), everything from soil mixes to plant care have to be documented. After many months of trial and errors, I think the solution to best soil mixes is close! πŸ™‚ What do you think of our progress on these 3 months old seedlings Β ? πŸ™‚

Heirloom Pineapple Strawberries from seeds

Same age seedlings! The bigger plant are grown in our customized strawberry soil compared to normal commercial organic soil πŸ™‚

Another discovery on December 10 2016 – Stressed Alpine strawberries even a reputed non-runner variety like this one will sent out runners when they sensed danger! πŸ™‚ I do not think this is a good sign for this plant. Surely it is no longer a heirloom, more of a mutant, and even if the runner is rooted, I doubt it will bear fruits. We will just have to wait and see how this plant grow, will update.

Grow Heirloom Pineapple Strawberry

An almost torn stem triggered runners in this plant

The instinct to live is high for this seedling! πŸ™‚

Symptoms of stressed alpine strawberries

Dec 12 2016 – The more pronounced the tear, the more developed the runner.

Second Generation Strawberry Plants

Recovered from transplant shock very quickly, within 2 days instead of weeks.

Grow Heirloom Pineapple Strawberry

Dec 10 2016 – Suffered a transplant shock

 

Grow Heirloom Pineapple Strawberry

Dec 11 2016 – Recovered in the afternoon

Comparative Study of SG vs. USA seedlings –

Since we have seeds from USA Heirloom Β and SG born Pineapple Strawberry plants, we thought it would be interesting to study how they grow together for a comparative study. These were our observation so far –

Heirloom Pineapple Strawberry from seeds

SG seed from our own plants germinated one of these SG seedlings on Aug 30 2016

The germination rate for SG seedlings was 4 days compared to 9 days for USA seeds, and as can be observed, the speed of growth is faster for SG seedlings as well. These pictures were taken on October 2nd 2016.

Grow Heirloom Pineapple Strawberry from seeds

Heirloom USA seed germinated on Aug 30

Seasoned gardeners lend a hand to study how to grow strawberries better in Singapore from February 2016 –

Heirloom Pineapple strawberry

Terence Low of Naked Greens πŸ™‚ Also Pak Mat (hydroponics), Calvin Soh (Guerilla Seeds), Alan Tan and even my lecturer on Hydroponics, Gregory Chow Kheong Keat (Ngee Ann Polytechnic)

Summary of Pineapple Strawberries Information –

  1. Perennial Plant
  2. has no runners
  3. Ideal soil temperature 16 – 21 degree Celsius
  4. Soil PH 6.1 to 7
  5. Can tolerate full sun or partial
  6. Small fruits of light yellow colors

 

SEEDS AVAILABLE FOR SALE !

 

 

Homemade Pesticide

While most of us fret over insects invasion on our chilli, tomatoes or capsicum plants, Pak Mat believes that Β “Prevention is the best cure!”

Pests free Chilli plants

Jan 24 2016 – Pak Mat’s extremely healthy chilli

Making organic pesticide

Jan 24 2016 – Pak Mat spray his plants with his home made pesticide once a week

Benefits of home made pesticide for plants

Pak Mat’s organic pesticide is safe for one month seedlings too

Home made organic pesticide for healthier and pests free Chilli plants

Jan11 2016 – Pak Mat’s chilli plants in cocopeat medium

Pests free tomatoes plants

Just look at how healthy Pak Mat’s tomato plants are!

Home to make organic pesticide

Pak Mat’s tomato plants!

 

Pak Mat made his own organic insects repellent which he sprayed on his plants once a week.

This is his recipe :

1. Garlic (ratio : 3 Garlic to 1 of the rest)
2. Blue ginger
3. Ginger
4. Onion
5. Hot chillie padi (pepper) – About 10 pieces, soak in hot water first
6. Neem (Margosa) Oil (1 teaspoon)
7. Dish washing liquid (1 teaspoon)

How to make and store plants pesticide and repellent

Center pic – measured , stored and froze pesticide portion to be used in sprays later, took less space than bottles

Home made organic plants repellent

Likely this is the only pesticide ingredients that are edible too!!! πŸ™‚

Method:

  1. Into blender, items 1 – 5 (sliced portion, add bit by bit into blender)
  2. Add water to aid the blending
  3. Pour thick mixture on a siever to collect liquid in an empty container
  4. Add Neem oil and liquid detergent
  5. Stirred well and allow the liquid to sit overnight before using on plants
How to make organic insects repellent and pesticide for plants

Pak Mat’s home made organic pesticide – may need to add water if its too thick to spray.

He advise caution for gardeners who like to try his remedy. The dosage is 5ml to a liter of water, adjust as necessary.

The liquid (in spray bottle, already mixed with water) will ferment over a few days if its not finished.

A thin layer of jelly substance appeared on the surface. This will not reduce its effectiveness, and its still safe for plants.

“The best way to see whether the above works well is to try on some leaves first. If everything is fine .. then only you spray on the rest of the plants.

Best time to spray is early morning or late evening. ”

He wanted to share what has work for him.

His plants have remained pests free so far. < Touch Wood!> πŸ™‚

Home made organic pesticide for very healthy and safe edibles garden

Jan 10 2016 – Pak Mat’s chilli

Last but not least, Pak Mat wanted to add a disclaimer, please try this at one’s own risk! πŸ™‚

Home Grown Peanuts

Fancy home grown peanuts? If your garden is sunny, its the easiest edibles to grow, even for beginners!

Jessica said she did not expect that growing peanuts was so easy.

Home Grown Peanuts

Just harvested Peanuts

 

Jessica grew her peanuts in 4 easy stepsΒ ! πŸ™‚

Grow Peanuts

Sowed Peanuts without shells – raw, unseasoned types

  1. Threw peanuts without shells on her raised garden bed
  2. Cover lightly with soil
  3. Stepped lightly on them πŸ™‚
  4. Water well
Growing Peanuts is easy

100 days from sowing to harvest

With 3 young kids and a full time job, she wanted crops that were hardy and need minimum care. She loved to harvest home grown edibles, but they must survived her “no tender loving care ” gardening style! πŸ™‚

Even sowing the peanuts, she threw them without much order on her raised garden bed, “any how throw” style πŸ™‚ , covered with soil and “sprayed water” !!

When there was no rain, her peanut plants went without water for 3 days in a row, under full overhead sunlight. As seen in this picture where she just harvested the peanuts, they were not buried deeply.

Grow Peanuts is easy

Just harvested from the soil

For most of us living in apartments, with no garden beds, it is just as easy to grow them in pots, as long as your garden has full sun. The pot should be wide at the base, considering these pictures of how the peanuts tend to be in bunches. I rather let the plant had more room to grow bigger peanuts ! πŸ™‚

According to my reading, these seedlings are not easy to transplant, thus is best to sow directly in the pots where they will mature. Germination is quick, only 3 to 5 days, water well after sowing. Harvest day is 100 days from this point if all goes well! πŸ™‚

Some folks in Singapore believed that soup from peanuts roots and de-shelled peanuts are good for growing children, especially boys.Β Peanuts are snipped off plant and used without husks. πŸ™‚

Member LK Koay shared an old chinese recipe for this soup :

Growing peanuts is easy

Old Chinese recipe for peanut roots soup

As only the only bottom half of the plant is used, do rinse many times to rid the roots of soil AND recycle this water for your garden! πŸ™‚

Sally Low shared how her very adorable peanut began its journey on May 27 2016 ! πŸ™‚ Her peanut in shell germinated (inΒ 7 days) after soaking for 2 days. This was not cracked or buried. Sally said she did not cut any holes in the PET bottle for drainage, instead she laid 1.5 inches of leca balls at the bottom before topping up the soil, and only mist spray thereafter.

Grow peanut

Peanut saying ‘Hi’, isn’t it cute?!

Grow peanut

May 27 2016 – The progress in a matter of hours!

Grow Peanut

Peanut charges ahead, growing fast!

Grow Peanut

Peanut’s journey

Growing peanut seem easy , why not give it a try? πŸ™‚