WHITE SOUL STRAWBERRIES

Our first exploration of white strawberries was  WHITE SOUL on August 23 2015 in soil. In 2017, we learned how to grow in liquid base, and began new exploration using KRATKY hydroponics method. This post is a rewrite of the journal from 2015 to compare notes between soil based and KRATKY, non circulating hydroponic. The latter’s setup looked something like this –

Grow White Soul from seeds in Singapore

Strawberry Plant in Kratky

WHITE SOUL

 2015 – Germination was very fast, only 6 days. Seeds were sowed on August 23 after freezing overnight and they germinated on August 29.

Not all white varieties germinate within the same length of time (less than 10 days), some varieties were slower, about 14 days. Please check out germination method at this post.

New method utilizing heat and light while balancing with cool in natural environment was developed in 2018 for speedier germination. This method is only taught in our workshops. For most cool seasoned plants, including lavenders, now used the balancing act to germinate.

Grow White Soul strawberries from seeds in Singapore

August 29 2015

2018 – 7 days to germinate

Grow white strawberries in Singapore

January 27 2018 – tiny sprout spotted!

The germination time was about the same for soil based or hydro White Soul variety. In these observation, the seedlings were very small compared to red varieties.

Grow White Soul strawberries from seeds in Singapore

One week old

FREEZING LENGTH (Seeds)

We also experimented in 2015 whether seeds that had been frozen longer would made any improvement on the speed to germinate seeds.

A second batch was sowed on October 16 2015, after freezing over a month, and they germinated on October 21, 5 days later. Thus, the length of (seeds) freeze did not make much difference.

Grow White Soul from seeds in Singapore

October 21 2015

WHITE SOUL OBSERVATIONS

Whether sowed on soil or other medium, the seedlings are very small and frail compared to the red strawberries.

Grow White Soul Strawberries from seeds

20 days old

Grow White Soul Strawberries from seeds

2018 February 4 – 14 days

They are very delicate plants and transplant process was difficult. Young seedlings have very low survival rate when we tried them in 2015. The risk of failed seedlings increased with every transplant. Thus do not transplant too many times.

This variety may be difficult for beginner gardener to attempt. Every stage can be a challenge without prior knowledge of growing them from seeds and how to troubleshoot when symptoms of stress appeared. Much of what we learned from growing this variety formed the formation of our workshop’s curriculum on the challenges and how to resolve them.

Grow White Soul Strawberries from seeds

3 weeks old

The heirloom characteristics of red stem showed by the third week. At this stage, the roots were about 1 cm long.

We transplanted most of the soil based seedlings before the crown developed. The growth rate of this medium was slower than liquid based plants. Among the white varieties, White Soul grew the slowest.

Grow White Soul strawberries from seeds

2015 December 11

In soil, they often die without warning. The leaves drooped and brown after being transplanted. We learned the most insights by growing this delicate variety.

Grow White Soul strawberries from seeds

Wilting Leaves

Seedlings in liquid base grew faster compared to soil based. Knowledge on how to settle the seedlings and hydro nutrients are necessary to grow them in liquid base. Not all nutrients are suitable. Trial and error experiments to get our KRATKY formula right.

Grow White Soul strawberries from seeds in Singapore

2018 June 14 – 2 months old, height – 10 cm

Grow White Soul strawberries from seeds

2015 Jan 03 – 3 months old

RATE OF GROWTH – Height , New Leaves

Were slower compared to other varieties, especially from germination to third month. In soil, this variety was an uphill challenge at snail pace at every stage.

Grow White Soul strawberries from seeds in Singapore

2015 November 16 – Growing Snail pace

In liquid base, they grew faster even without any high technology conveniences. However without prior handling experience of strawberries or/and no hydroponic knowledge, they are difficult to grow.

Grow White Soul strawberries from seeds in Singapore

Hydro – 3 months old

Whether soil or liquid base, this variety remained slow and small compared to red varieties.

They tolerate morning sun and early afternoon heat well from the forth month. More growth was observed from 4th month.

ABOUT RAIN

Not heat but rain killed young White Souls seedlings on January 18 2016..

This trial tested whether they could adapt to natural environment without shelter from heat and rain. Thus 30 plants were sacrificed for this test and planted in 60 L of natural compost outdoor.

From pioneer batches of 30 seedlings,

Grow White Soul strawberries from seeds in Singapore

2016 January 18 – Part of the batches

only one seedling survived this experiment.

Grow White Strawberries from seeds in Singapore

2016 March 18

ABOUT HEAT

At the height of our hot months, White Soul variety suffered stress from heat. The entire plant drooped like this.

Grow White Soul strawberries from seeds in Singapore

Liquid Base

Removal from stress source will revive these plants. In soil, icing down soil relieved the plants. It is not recommended to grow white soul outdoor.

PLANTS STRESS SIGNAL

Our first exploration in 2015, in soil, was not successful. All the flowers dried up and the plants seem in poor health. From this experience, we learned how to read strawberry plants’ signal and what were they telling us before rushing to apply a remedy.

Grow White Soul Strawberries from seeds in Singapore

2016 April 10

A wrong remedy add more stress to plants already in distress. For example, adding fertilizer can kill.

Grow White Soul Strawberries from seeds

Mineral was added

ABOUT LEAVES

White Soul leaves like most other white varieties are lighter green and thin texture.

A healthy plant showed open faced leaves and not cupped as illustrated by above picture.

ABOUT FLOWERS

Soil based White Soul enter flowering stage at 8 months, whereas Kratky was 4 months.

Grow White Strawberries from seeds

2016 March 10 – First Flower

In White Soul, the initial flowers may not turned into fruits. Most dried up.

White Soul Strawberries from seeds in Singapore

2016 March 23

Even with the best bee at work! 🙂

Self pollinating strawberry flowers

March 18 2016 – Human bee

Liquid Based plants enter flowering stage at around the 4th month.

Grow White Strawberries from seeds

Crown Thickening from 2nd month

ABOUT FRUITS

Typical of white strawberries, White Soul turning into fruits from pollinated flowers took about 3 weeks to fully form.

The first flush of flowers may not turned, thus we learned to prune off rather than keeping on the plant. Trimming off encourage more buds and fruits form better on the next round.

The fruits start oddly shaped and fill up later.

Grow White Strawberries from seeds

White Flesh

  • Fruits size are small
  • Not uniformly shaped
  • White flesh outer and inner
  • Musky scent and taste, mild
  • Flesh soften very quickly
Grow White Strawberries from seeds in Singapore

White Soul

White Soul variety provides a good learning experience for immediate level strawberries gardeners, because they are challenging. Overcoming their constant pitfalls in our natural environment enable us to handle any type of strawberries. Learn about other challenges of growing white strawberries in our climate here!

The plant remained small compared to other varieties, but fruit production can be vigorous.

Grow White Strawberries from seeds in Singapore

Tiny Plant

Seeds are available for sale in SHOP .

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Grow Mizuna ミズナ, 水菜, Beni HOUSHI

Whether its soil or liquid based, this mizuna is easy to grow and quick to harvest. It is very delicious to eat as salads or cooked.

The variety that we grew at home is call Beni Houshi, a purple stem mizuna that is very popular in Japanese restaurants.

Added to salads, the purple hue of its stalk adds color and vibrancy as well as being high in anthocyanin, an antioxidant property found in blueberries.

Grow Mizuna ミズナ, 水菜, Beni HOUSHI from seeds in Singapore

Purple stalk

These leaves are not bitter or wasabi sharp as common mizuna. The stalk tasted mildly sweet and is juicy. It is suitable for children. Both the leaves and stalks are edible.

Grow Mizuna ミズナ, 水菜, Beni HOUSHI in containers

Leaf & Stalk are edible

Although slower in soil, the mature plant seem more robust with thicker stalk and bigger leaves than our liquid based plants of the same age.

Grow Mizuna ミズナ, 水菜, Beni HOUSHI in containers

Soil vs. Liquid Base Plants

In Kratky, the stalk and leaves are thinner,

Grow Mizuna ミズナ, 水菜, Beni HOUSHI in containers

Liquid Base

than soil based plants.

Grow Mizuna ミズナ, 水菜, Beni HOUSHI in containers

Thick juicy stalks

Mizuna is a cut and grow plants, similar to Kale.

Germination Notes

  • In very wet medium, the seeds germinated overnight
Grow Mizuna ミズナ, 水菜, Beni HOUSHI in containers

Overnight germination

  • True Leaf showed within 3 days
Grow Mizuna ミズナ, 水菜, Beni HOUSHI in containers

2 days old

Within a week, young seedlings have 2 cm length roots.

Grow Mizuna ミズナ, 水菜, Beni HOUSHI in containers

one week old

Without a doubt, this is an easy edible to grow for beginner gardeners.

While stock last, seeds are available for sale in SHOP !

KALE – SO EASY !

Featured

The general rule of thumb for anyone who loves kale and want fresh harvest regularly is to grow 3 to 4 plants per family member.

Grow your own at home saves money, as this is a cut and grow plant. As a gauge, a 10 weeks old plant will yield 5 big leaves every week. Cost to grow this super food can be as little as $1 per week or zero if we have our own compost.

FEED NATURAL FERTILIZER (SOIL or LIQUID BASE)

Additional perks as home growers are we get to decide when to harvest, whether younger more tender leaves or the bigger foliage from more mature plants. In any case, own grown is always best, as we grow them without harmful pesticides and there is no waste. We only harvest when we need to and how much from the plant. When parents grow, children learned as well.

Learning and being able to grow superfood is a blessing. We are always grateful there is available healthy whole food at home when the weather is bad, and there is no need to dash to the supermarkets. Having these instant fresh salads also mean that we are very conscious of what need to be harvested, thus increasing the chances of healthier options for our meals.

Last but not least, there is NO carbon footprint from our gardens to mouth ! 🙂 

However, space may be a major constraint to grow enough of these wonderfully delicious and nutrients packed greens for urban high rise dwellers like ourselves in Singapore.

To solve space challenges, I chose to grow in PET bottles with Kratky’s non circulating hydroponic instead of soil to save space.

Fresh vegetables on Minimal space

2018 January 8 – squeeze for space

Small net cup like these supported each seedling in their individual or shared reservoir, and recycled plastic bottles at the same time.

Cold seasoned salads from seeds

1 week old Kale

STEP 1 – Germination Method

It is important to keep seeds moist at all times. They can be sowed on wet tissues and lightly covered with another tissue. Cling wrapped or ziplock in bag to maintain moisture on seeds bed.

Germination speed is faster on tissues (2 days) than on soil (9 days).

Grow kale from seeds

October 17 2017 – Germinated (2 days)

Kale benefits

1 day after germination

 

STEP 2 – Transplanting Seedling

After a few days, the seeds will show 2 leaves (called seeds’ leaves or cotyledons ) like the following picture. The third leaf is called true leaf and carried the characteristics of future mature leaves.

Grow Grow Kale from seeds in containers

Seed Leaves showed

Transplant seedling when true leaves (the second pair of leaves) emerged and about 4 cm long. At this stage, it need more sunlight.

Tip – For speedier seedling’s growth, keep grow lights on longer while maintaining moisture with foliage misting.

In Hydro – Make sure roots reach nutrient feed.

In Soil – kept moist and seedling is upright.

Kale benefits

1 week old Green Curly Kale

Grow cool seasoned salads from seeds in containers

Scarlet Kale, 1 week old

Kale benefits

2 weeks old kale in “incubator”

STEP 3Adjusting Sun Exposure

For better tasting kale, where leaves are tender and less bitter, adjust sun exposure when seedlings are one month old.

Grow in morning sun which is not hot or remove from direct afternoon sun to grow in partial shade, made better tasting leaves.

Grow Kale from seeds in bottles

January 2 2018 – First harvest

STEP 4 – HARVESTING

Cut bigger or outer most leaves stem as close to main stem as possible.

Keep younger smaller leaves on the plant until they grow bigger, usually within 10 days.

 

Grow Kale in Singapore

Cut and Regrow Leaves

After harvest, the cut parts will not regrow. The stem will continue to grow taller while the harvested area remained bald. Thus, cut the leaf stalk as close to stem as possible to reduce waste. Only the higher mid section will regenerate new leaves.

Cool seasoned salads from seeds

Harvesting Kale

When Kale are harvested young, less than 2 months old, leaf stalk and leaves are more tender. To find the texture and taste preferred, we encourage tasting as the plant grew. There is no right or wrong time to harvest, as Kale can be enjoyed as microgreens or mature. For raw salad, we preferred the less bitter and tender leaves of less than 2 month plants.

Kale benefits

Fresh kale salads

Eating well at home can be as simple as this, adding freshly harvested Kale to cheese burgers.

Cold seasoned salads from seeds

Kale with Burgers

We encouraged our daughter, my niece and their friends to harvest vegetables for their meals whenever they want, all over our apartment, on our D.I.Y (Do It Yourself) vertical gardens. Its always an unusual play date activity for their friends, as most do not garden or cook at home.

Cold Seasoned Salads from seeds

Harvesting fresh salads

These are some very good GREEN Projects for children and adults  !

CUT and GROW BACK PLANT

Kale Care and Health Benefits

Grow back within 10 days

I love how mobile my vegetables “garden” is, that they are all grown in jars and PET bottles. in natural sunlight and feed. Garden to table in a minute when we harvest our salads!

Fresh Kale health benefits

January 20 2018 – another harvest

 

NUTRIENTS FEED

SEEDS & HYDRO starter kits  available for sale  !

ADDITIONAL KALE VARIETIES –

SCARLET , RED, GREEN CURLY, TUSCAN KALE – 

Grow colored Kale from seeds

Red Russian and Scarlet Kale

Cold seasoned salads

2018 August 25 – Scarlet & Red Kale

Grow scarlet kale from seeds in containers

Scarlet Kale

TUSCAN KALE

Seeds viability is good, about 90% germinated within three days. Newly sprouted seedlings were yellow in color.

Grow cool seasoned salads from seeds in Singapore

2018 December 25

How the seeds progressed within the day – 

Grow cool seasoned salads from seeds in Singapore

Sowed on December 23 2018

Some seedlings were planted in liquid and others in soil based to compare the rate of growth. It was observed to be faster in liquid base.

Grow Kale from seeds in containers indoor

10 days old Tuscany

Grow Kale from seeds in containers

2019 January 03

Grow Tuscan Kale from seeds in containers

2019 February 15

Grow Tuscan Kale from seeds in containers

Tuscan or Lacinto Kale

All spare containers at home were recycled to grow food in liquid using net-cups or soil in vertical hanging gardens.

Garden to Table Harvest

Grow Kale in a cup!

Kale from seeds

Tabletop Kale in liquid

Kale from seeds

Soil based Kale

Booked a session here, workshops are available.

Learned First and Bring Home Instant Gardens Testimonial

Learn how to grow vegetables and herbs workshops

Veggies Workshops

Notes on KALE

  • Likes moist , well drained and loamy soil
  • Grow in partial shade if there is too much sun
  • Temperature over 27C or under strong direct sun will turn leaves bitter and tough
  • Seeds to harvest is 70 – 90 days , estimated height 10 inches tall
  • Harvest big (outer facing) leaves and the plant will regrow new leaves from the middle. The lower stem will have no new leaves
  • Young kale leaves are best for salads
  • Older leaves are usually cooked or baked
  • Hardy biennial plant (2 years to complete its life cycle, to bolt , to decline)
  • Belongs to cabbage family

Kale Benefits

  • Most nutrients packed vegetable (Vitamin A, B6, C, K, Manganese, Calcium, Magnesium, Copper, Potassium)
  • High anti-oxidant (beta carotene, quercetin, kaempferol)
  • Lowers cholesterol, reduce heart disease
  • Zero Fat
  • Protects eye sight
  • High Fiber content

Delicious Juice Recipes

  • Pineapple-Kale-Blast (Prolific Juicing) – 8 Kale leaves with stem, coriander, Pineapple, half cucumber and 1 medium apple
  • Simple Kale – Kale leaves, lettuce, cucumber, lemon, apples (adjust sweetness with apples)
  • Kale + Coconut Juice (Alan Tan, urban farmer)
  • Green Goddess (Prolific Juicing) – 8 Kale leaves, 2 cups spinach, 12 strawberries, 1 lime, 2 apples, mint, optional – ginger

 

Kale goes very well with citrus fruits in salads and we love them for light breakfast any day!

Cool seasoned salads from seeds

Power Packed Salads

We prefer to harvest young Kale leaves (less than 2 months old) instead of waiting till its bigger. Growing our own Kale mean we decide when to harvest to suit our preference.

Cool seasoned salads from seeds

2 months old Kale