Gardening 101

I was a noob myself in 2015 and still remembered how I start.

What seem common sense to seasoned gardeners may not be so clear for new gardeners. I read a lot of posts in every group that I joined, researched gardening books and online videos and yet, with the volume of information available, questions still arose.

What was simple to experienced gardeners is a minefield for new gardeners!

How to start? Make a list of what you want to grow.

What to grow? In the past, I often advised, “Grow what you like to eat” ! But what happened if new gardeners are like me, a connoisseur who love to cook withΒ rosemary and thymeΒ ? These herbs are not easy to grow for even some seasoned gardeners.

I have learned to be more specific with my advice. πŸ™‚ Here is a list of some easy edibles to consider. For example, mint, kang kong, basil, peanuts, pak choi, arugula etc. Rule of thumb for beginners is, “READ FIRST” then rushed out to buy the gardening essential. The reason is, plants have different needs and the designated area for gardening may not be suitable. Most edibles thrived better where there is sun. At least 6 hours of sun if possible or at least, a very bright area. If there is no sun, fret not, your options are limited but there are grow lights or just grow more shade loving plants instead.

Gardening tips for new gardeners

See that Magnifying glass on the right corner?

Effective use of social media as a learning tool start from knowing how to source for information quickly. Use this magnifying glass to search for answer to questions. You will be amazed how quickly Facebook gathered and collect related posts for reading. The questions we asked as noobs may have been posted many times before. To save time, this was how I learned gardening using social media groups. An advantage of such tool is being able to learn at your own chosen time and be able to find out common problems (pests, pollination difficulties) affecting these plants and how to handle them before experiencing them yourself! πŸ™‚ Last but not least, who the experts are in that area and be able to ask directly! πŸ™‚

A REFERENCE BOOK HELPS TOO

Some edibles need not be grown from seeds. Most plants can be propagated. The word, simply mean to grow from a parent plant.Β By the way, I learned about this method when I helped my then 10 years old daughter with homework. πŸ™‚ Thus cut a stem or trimmed off the end on a slant cut, and stick this in water and wait for roots to emerged. Then plant in your preferred medium. This is my blog post on mint and included in it, a video where my daughter will show you how. πŸ™‚

Gardening basic for new gardeners

Rosemary propagation – better chance of rooting if stems are from a live plant than grocery herbs!

What soil to buy ? Ever stand in front of the aisle where soil are sold? It is a different reality when standing in front of rows of soil options isn’t it? These are just too many types to choose from!

Seeds Compost – Likely it will have more husk and sieved soil to retain moisture. For this brand, fine sand is added to keep the soil loose for young roots to grow without hindrance. Fertilizer is included to last 2 months. Its a darker color compared to Horti brand. For your information, seeds do not need fertilizer to start.

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Then what is the different between seeds compost and seed potting mix? I think not much difference in terms of purpose. Seeds compost or potting mix tend to have less barks, more loose and water retaining properties than other types of soil. For seeds, I preferred to start them in seeds compost.

Gardening basics for new gardeners

Seeds Potting mix and Potting soil

What is potting soil? Essentially its the same thing but with more barks, some perlite (volcano ash that had been heated into pebbles form), and fertilizers for growing plants. Most seasoned gardeners customized their own mixes for different plants. Check out the formulas at the above link.

In addition, direct from local growers, soil or hydro kits for beginners are available!

Gardening basics for new gardeners

Soil for edibles

On fertilizers, my personal advice for new gardeners is to remember why we are growing edibles in the first place.

Gardening fun can extend beyond just growing plants ! Gift ideas for fun loving people –

We grow to eat. The kids will be eating them too. There is no deadline to rush the produce to the market. Thus, please give your plants time to mature and if needed, then add fertilizers. Most soil from the stores already have fertilizers in them for 4 – 8 weeks.

Again, there are many different kinds of fertilizers available. I preferred organic fertilizers, such as rabbit poo (any herbivore animals’ poo) or worm casting. I also make my own seaweed fertilizer and recycled green waste for compost in my outdoor gardens. Amy Choong made her own orange peel soil conditioner which I will be be trying out soon. Some gardeners kept earthworms and harvest worm tea and casting (poo) for their gardens. Most fruit bearing plants need higher Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K) fertilizers. Please Google to find out more.

Gardening basics for new gardeners

Worm casting – many different brands available!

How about soil – less options? Β If you are just considering your options, why not try Lim San‘s method first, out of recycled cups and plastic bottles. Trust me, plants don’t really care where you grow them in as long as their growing conditions are met! πŸ™‚

 

Gardening basics for new gardeners

Hydroponics salads following Lim San‘s instructions!

And even a video from the kids! πŸ™‚

Gardening basics for new gardeners

Small space gardening – From “garden”

The benefits of growing your own vegetables? There is no waste, we only harvest what we need and then the plant continue to grow. Even if I only have one sunny window and a table, with Lim San’s methods, I get to grow and harvest fresh vegetables from this table! πŸ™‚ Kids too, are better at science subject because of our hobby.

Gardening basics for new gardeners

To Table πŸ™‚

Fast Forward to 2018, our vegetables gardens now look like this!

Creative PET bottles garden containers

Vertical Salads!

We grew really cool salads like oyster leafs, ice plants, spinach and many more in hanging recyclables. Do check it out on the Exotic and Greens page.

The learning journey never stop and it is so fun!

We hope you will join us.

Just do it! πŸ™‚

Last but not least, workshops are available.

 

 

 

 

 

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One thought on “Gardening 101

  1. I attended the workshop on soil, hydroponics and vegetables this afternoon as a beginner with zero knowledge of gardening (and a track record of succulents dying under my care D:). The workshop was an enriching and enjoyable experience, and it completely exceeded my expectations. The workshop was well-paced and Victoria covered both the theory and practical aspects of gardening. She explained the pros and cons of using soil and hydroponics and then demonstrated both processes. I was given the chance to try out both methods and Victoria was especially patient when I was struggling to transplant the tiny seedlings! She was also very hands-on when guiding me during the process and imparted tips and tricks on how to handle the seeds/seedlings. I especially appreciated how Victoria taught me how to properly use the nutrient solution and how the plants, required different water/nutrient conditions at their different stages. Victoria never grew tired of my many questions and she answered them all patiently!

    Besides giving me a ton of information about gardening, Victoria also showed me the various plants she had been growing in her place, and we had a taste test of different leaves like scarlet kale and oyster leaves! We then enjoyed mint tea with the leaves freshly plucked from her home garden, and I must say the mint leaves were really strong-smelling!

    Prior to the workshop, I had indicated that I was interested in growing kale. I was therefore touched to find out that Victoria had specially prepared more kale seeds for me to grow. What further surprised me was when Victoria gifted me with many seedlings / budding plants of different varieties! This included both herbs and a very unique byblis plant. I did not expect this at all, and it made a lovely start to my gardening journey. I left the workshop with my head and heart full! The workshop was value-for-money and it was a wonderful afternoon of learning and chatting with Victoria.

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