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 !

Advertisements

GROW SAGE FROM CUTTING

Growing Sage from cutting is easier than germinating the seeds.

How to propagate sage from cutting

  1. Cut the stem’s end at 45 degree
  2. Remove bottom most leaves as this part will be in water
  3. Need only 2 or 3 leaves at the top
  4. Use net-cup to support roots tip in water
  5. Bright rooting environment

In Singapore, this herb is not common in local supermarkets. It can be bought from European outlets such as Jason or Cold Storage.

Grow Sage from cuttings in Singapore

2018 September 28

Rooting cutting in netcup with sponge, sealed access to stagnant water in the bottle reservoir. This prevent mosquitoes from accessing water to breed.  For busy gardeners, this method is the safest for rooting cutting.

For this Sage, roots showed in 6 days.

Once the roots showed, it grew rapidly.

Grow Sage from cutting in Singapore

2018 October 4 – Roots

In a month, the single stem is taller and had multiplied. We were able to prune the longer stems for more rooting after harvesting the leaves for our kitchen.

Grow Harvest Fresh herbs indoor

2018 November 3

Most of our indoor herbs were grown in liquid base and hang on our windows to harness sun.

Grow Harvest Fresh Herbs indoor

2018 November 15

Pruning (Cut stems) helped herbs grew better, by regenerating more side branches and keep renewed itself.

Grow Harvest Fresh Herbs indoors

2018 November 23

Colorful Lettuce

Colorful  lettuce such as the red or four seasoned lettuce will spruce up any salads presentation very well.

This is how to germinate them easily.

  • Sowed on moist tissues and cling wrapped the container to maintain high moisture level. The germination time is within 3 days.
Grow red or colorful salads from seeds

Seeds in moist medium

When these seedlings were less than a month old, there was no hint of red  on the leaves.

Grow different varieties lettuce from seeds in Singapore

2018 Sept 17

Grow different varieties lettuce from seeds in Singapore

2018 September 19

Grow red or colorful salads from seeds

One week old

A hint of its colorful hues at first month old.

Grow different varieties lettuce from seeds in Singapore

2018 October 16

In Kratky (non-circulating hydroponic), their roots mass is dense but not massive.

Grow different varieties lettuce from seeds in Singapore

2018 November 3

Vivid red and other colors at 2nd month. The leaves can be harvested younger than 2 months old. We observed that it can be a cut and grow plant, and the vivid colors comes after the greener leaves were harvested.

Grow different varieties lettuce from seeds in Singapore

2018 November 8

Taste and texture of these leaves are “lettuce” .

Grow different varieties lettuce from seeds in Singapore

2018 November 8

APPLES FROM SEEDS

Before we get too excited about these apples seedlings and dreams of picking fresh apples from own trees, some reading would suffice to put everything back on track, firmly in reality. Here are the “BAD NEWS” about apples from supermarkets’ fruits seeds –

  • Seedling will become a tree, about 6 to 9 meters high (not suitable for my bedroom gardens! )
  • Unlikely to grow true (won’t look like the supermarket’s apples where these seeds come from)
  • Not self pollinating, need another seedling from different variety
  • Time to harvest if one is lucky, 6 to 10  years
  • Unlikely to be a dwarf variety
  • Unlikely to grow well in pot, need depth of 2 feet (unlikely to fit in bathtubs!)
  • Radius from another tree, 9 feet

Thus these seedlings would be grown for fun and knowledge fulfilling, tracking how they start and grow for as long as possible.

Germination Notes

Small apples from Fuji, Jazz or Gala varieties have higher chance of germination. Just need to keep refrigerated, in a moist enclosed environment, until they sprouted. These seedlings sprouted in 2 weeks.

Grow Apples from seeds

2018 September 16

Grow Apples from seeds in Singapore

2018 September 17

Grow Apples from seeds in Singapore

2018 September 20

As we have two seedlings, one will be grown in soil and the other in liquid medium.

Grow apples from seeds

Apples Duo

Soil Based – A sandy very well draining mix is used over regular potting soil, as they seem to suffer roots rot easily.

Grow Apples from seeds in Singapore

2018 Sept 24 – Soil based

Grow apples from seeds in Singapore

2018 Sept 28  with seed husk

Grow apples from seeds in Singapore

2018 Sept 28

Grow apples from seeds in Singapore

2018 October 12

Grow apples from seeds in Singapore

2018 October 12

Grow apples from seeds in Singapore

2018 October 28

Grow apples from seeds in Singapore

Roots Tracking

Liquid Based –

Grow apples from seeds

2018 Sept 24

Grow Apples from seeds in Singapore

HYDRO Apple seedling

Grow apples from seeds in Singapore

2018 Sept 28 – Hydro

Grow apples from seeds in Singapore

2018 October 12

Grow apples from seeds in Singapore

2018 October 12 roots

Longer and more roots mass developed in 2 weeks.

Grow apples from seeds in Singapore

2018 October 28

Grow apples from seeds in Singapore

Apple seedling in own hydro nutrients

Grow apples from seeds in Singapore

Red stems on both seedlings

Hydro and Soil seedlings were observed to grow in equal pace in September 2018, but the rate of growth was faster for soil based in October.

Both seedling were donated to a gardener for further observation in December 2018 due to lack of time and space.

SWISS CHARDS

Swiss Chards are cold seasoned biennial ( 2 years to complete life cycle) vegetables and come in beautiful vibrant colours, livening up any salads.

We don’t see them on our supermarkets’ shelves and thus decided to grow from seeds.

As they belonged to the beets family, their seeds are similar looking as well.

Cold seasoned salads from seeds

Rainbow Swiss Chard

Cold seasoned salads from seeds

Fordhook Giant – Pink Stem

Germination Tips –

  • Sow on very wet medium
  • Preferred darkness
  • Maintain wet medium until roots showed
  • Soaked seeds for 20 minutes if sowed directly on soil, slightly buried
Cold Seasoned salads from seeds

2018 Sept 11 – Rainbow seeds sowed

Cold seasoned salads from seeds

2018 September 14

RAINBOW SWISS CHARDS

The distinctive colors of rainbow Swiss Chard was visible before seed leaves showed. As the seedlings grew, these colors become more vivid.

YELLOW HUE

Cold seasoned salads from seeds

2018 September 17 – yellow hint

Seeds husk was still attached as the roots grew longer when this seedling was about 6 days old.

Cold seasoned salads from seeds

2018 Sept 19 –  6 days old

Seed leaves showed on the 7th day as the roots developed mass. The yellow hue is brighter on the stem.

Cold seasoned salads from seeds

2018 Sept 21

Cold seasoned salads from seeds

2018 October 04

Cold seasoned salads from seeds

2018 October 10

RED HUE

Sometimes when the seed germinated this way, they are actually 2 seedlings.

Cold seasoned salads from seeds

2018 September 17 – RED + Green

Cold seasoned salads from seeds

2018 Sept 19 – Vivid Red

Cold seasoned salads from seeds

2018 Sept 20 – 6 days old

Cold seasoned salads from seeds

Red Swiss Chard

FORDHOOK Giant

 

Cold seasoned salads from seeds

2018 September 14

Cold seasoned salads from seeds

2018 Sept 30 – Pinkish stem

Cold seasoned salads from seeds

Swiss Chards varieties

Swiss Chard has the texture of Romaine and each leaf is very tasteful and juicy. In salad bowls, they add color and vibrancy.

Cold seasoned salads from seeds

2018 October 9

We will be starting new batches of Swiss Chard and other cold seasoned vegetables for salads after tasting how great they were freshly harvested from our indoor gardens!

 

Cold seasoned salads from seeds in containers

Home Grown “Rainbow” !

 

SEEDS ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE !

Notes on Swiss Chard

  • 3 – 4 days to germinate
  • Harvest stage around 2 months
  • Seeds like very wet medium
  • Small leaves can be used in salads
  • Bigger leaves for light stir fry
  • Stems typically steamed like asparagus
  • Full sun or partial shade, not fussy
  • If soil, pot need to be deeper, mulch on top soil to prevent heat from penetrating (similar to strawberry outdoor)
  • Mature leaves are crinkled, thick, juicy ( I love them raw for the texture)

Moist Carrot Cake

Original Recipe from Richard Goh (October 2010).

For 9 inch square tin, paper lined.

Preheat oven at 180C

Part 1 – WET Ingredients

In big mixing bowl, beat well –

175 ml                   Sunflower or Veg Oil

175g                      Light Muscovado Sugar

3 nos.                    Eggs, beaten

Part 2 – Add to WET

175 g                       Grated Carrot

85g                         Sultanas

55g                         Walnuts (optional)

1no.                       Grated Orange Rind

Part 3 – Add to (1) + (2) until just blended, DO NOT over beat

175g                       Self Raising Flour

1 tsp.                     Bicarbonate of Soda

1 tsp.                     Cinnamon Powder

½ tsp.                    Grated nutmeg

Baked in preheat oven, 40 – 45 minutes.

Leave to cool in tin 5 minutes, then overturn onto wire rack for cooling

Frosting

Beat until smooth and spread over cake

200g                       Cream Cheese

100g                       Icing Sugar

2 tsp.                     Orange Juice

Served in squares with strips of orange zest cream cheese frosting.

Carrot Cake from Juice Pulp

Carrot Cake

We use juice pulp for this carrot cake!

Carrot Cake from Juice Pulp

The best fiber from this pulp!

Carrot Cake from Juice Pulp

Carrot, Beet Pulp from juicing

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

ICE Plant

Out of boredom on December 30 2017, I decided to sort out my seeds collection and found ice plant seeds which were bought in April.

I had totally forgotten about them!

There are about 135 varieties and under them, 1900 species of ice plants. Originally discovered in the dry and barren South Africa’s mountains, they thrived better in sandy soil. In addition to leaves, their flowers are also edible.

Ice Plant in Singapore

Grown by Dr. Wilson Wong (Green Culture Singapore Facebook Group’s Creator)

Surprisingly the seeds germinated very fast, in fact only 19 hours, using strawberry germination method.

How to Germinate Ice Plant

2018 January 1 – Ice Plant’s first sprouts!

Ice Plants in Singapore

2018 January 7 – 1 week old seedling

Transplanted on January 08 to sandy medium, will hope they grow well ! 🙂

Ice Plants in Singapore

Customized sandy based medium

I have given up on soil medium as my seedlings tend to wilt after a day in natural environment.  A member of our gardening group, Ms. Vivien Misaki, had better luck by refrigerating seedlings in soil and “green housed” in ziplock bag. Her tip was to mist it once a day and not overly water them.

Cold seasoned salads

Tip – Don’t fertilise or over water

My seedlings also grew better in controlled “still” environment of an egg carton, rather than outside. These young seedlings cannot tolerate sun, wind or transplanting, as most died soon after. I will likely will keep them wrapped in this unlikely green house (egg carton) until they are more mature. Tip – Transplant early into individual space.

Cold seasoned salads

Delicate seedlings!

Cold seasoned salads

5 days old seedling

Cold seasoned salads

2018 July 31

When the seedlings had 2 sets of leaves, they were removed from egg carton into individual PET bottle greenhouse. Shield against wind, in the heat of greenhouses, they seem to grow faster. Without this shield, seedlings will wilt even with good roots mass. They were placed in area with morning sun and bright afternoon light.

Grow cold seasoned salads from seeds

PET bottle greenhouse

It is warmer in this “green house” than in natural environment. Air is allowed through slit at the base of the cover.

Cold seasoned salads from seeds

2018 Sept 30 

 

Cold seasoned salads

2018 August 25

Ice Plant Care

2018 September 14

Cold seasoned salads from seeds

2018 September 24

Cold seasoned salads from seeds

2018 Sept 28

Grow cold seasoned salads from seeds

2018 Sept 28

EXTRA notes –

From our hydro plants’ observation, they seem fragile and needed support, including leaves and stem. Both break easily upon handling.

Grow ice plants from seeds in Singapore

Leaves break from stem

Grow ice plants from seeds in Singapore

Leaf tear

To prevent damaging mature plants through handling, a suggestion was made by Mr. Kia Kuang Tan to seed directly in permanent pot and discourage tall plants by bringing grow lights closer.  This way, the plants will need not stretch towards light source weakening the stem,

Grow ice plants from seeds in Singapore

Stem needed support

Our ice plants were observed to droop often in natural environment and thus they continued in our PET bottle  “green houses” to support leaves in a more upright position..

Grow cold seasoned plants from seeds

2018 October 5

Ice Plants Notes

Just Germinated Seedling to  2 months old – 

  • Young seedlings are unable to tolerate wind and direct sun. Need to be green housed or in controlled environment
  • Transplant early to individual permanent pot
  • Slow growing

Mature Plant Notes

  • Tolerate full Sun
  • Try to maintain cooler roots zone for healthier plant
  • Drought tolerant
  • Prefers dry hard packed medium – more sand, perlite
  • Leaves and stem need support
  • Flowers are edible
  • Thick and succulent leaves with salt crystals
  • Market price in Singapore – $160 + per KG

 

ROSEMARY – GROW THEM WELL

Featured

Rosemary plants are one of the easiest herb to grow once we understood what they need.  As a novice gardener in 2015, I could not say the same as I was a serial killer of rosemary plants bought from nurseries, even though I followed their instructions of care faithfully. I did not understand then the why but now I do.

  • Nursery plants are potted in cocopeat. As this medium retains water, it is not suitable for rosemary. Follow soil mixture instructions below by fellow gardeners
  • Rosemary tolerate sun very well 
  • Can be grown outdoor as long as soil mixture does not retain water
  • Easier to grow from cutting than seeds
  • Do not need much fertiliser, use any in mild form only
  • Do not need to water everyday (soil based)
  • As they grow, trim often (cut stem) to encourage bushier growth
  • Suffered roots rot easily if roots are constantly moist (soil based)

2018 – 2019 Update – Rosemary in Liquid Base

These were thriving rosemary plants grown by fellow gardeners, outdoor , in our natural elements (rain, wind, haze) since 2015.

How to multiply rosemary from cuttings

2015 October 10 – Steve Teh‘s

How to care for rosemary

Steve Teh’s  6 years old Rosemary & Bay Leaf plant

Without any sunny spot to grow, your rosemary probably will look like mine. They were transplanted outdoor as there was not much sun in my balcony gardens. Starting from seeds were more difficult and slower.

Rosemary and Curl leaf parsley love sun

Rosemary and Curly Parsley – Limp seedlings after transplanted

Rosemary plants are easier to propagate from cuttings than starting from seeds. My first rosemary cuttings were from Terence Low’s (NakedGreens group admin) and rooted in tap water.

Mar01 2016 - 11 days to root in tap water! Woody stems can still root!

March 01 2016 – Woody stems can still root!

2018 August 25 – From above cuttings, our plants have multiplied and still thrived today.

TIP – Trim often to encourage new branches. Use leaves for cooking, stems for rooting

Grow rosemary from cutting

Watermelon Skin Compost 30% : 70% sand & pebbles

How to Root Cutting Tips

Jack Yam, a member in our Facebook gardening group (SG Farming in Apartments), perfected the rooting method for rosemary, and had a pictorial tutorial on how to root them.

These were what he said –

  1. Trimmed away the leaves from mid to bottom of the stem
  2. Support the cutting so that only 1 cm of the roots’ end is in water
  3. Cutting root better in bright sunlit area
  4. Rooting rosemary cutting

    Roots showed in 7 days!Cutting root better in bright sunlit area.

    Rooting rosemary cutting

    Healthy roots are white color

Rooting from living plants from gardens had a higher chance of success than grocery bought.

Netcups can be used to support mature plants and prevent mosquitoes access to stagnant water if they fit well and sealed access with correct fitting sponge.

Grow rosemary from cutting in Singapore

Mosquitoes Safe Growing

Propagating a cutting –  We observed that cutting root better if supported with only 2 cm of tip in water rather than resting fully in container.

Rosemary Plant Care in the tropics

Rooting without Mosquitoes Risk

Netcups for smaller reservoirs available in SHOP !

Grow Rosemary from cutting in containers

Rooted in netcups

Soil Mixture Tips

If rosemary plants are grown in areas where there is no shelter from rain, the soil mixture must be customized to allow rain to flush out as fast as possible.

April 22 2016 - Rosemary cuttings can survived rain storms if the soil is prepped well to prevent water log.

April 22 2016 – Water flushed out as fast as it hit

Rosemary from cutting

May 30 2016 – Grown outdoors and thriving! I generally let rain water these pots unless its a dry spell 🙂

Rosemary plant care information

July 12 2016 – Rosemary in outdoor garden, thrived in spite of being rained on etc One plant eaten by snail or stolen again!

Propagate rosemary cutting

October 25 2016 – update on rosemary cutting ! 🙂

Grow rosemary plant from cutting

Jan 27 2017 – After a week of heavy rainfall

The trick is mixing the soil, to be less soil! 😀 More sand, more pebbles, only 30% soil, the rain/ water must flush out as quickly as it arrived. How to get the soil mix right? Play with your mixes – Mix and match your soil one lazy afternoon, dip in a pail of water n see if it drained in one minute! 😀 Add more pebbles etc if they do not drain well. Lastly, the base of the pot is best lined with pebbles or rocks to aid draining as well.

Other gardeners also generously shared tips on how to propagate and keep rosemary plants thriving for years.  So my thanks to all of them for sharing.

Rooted in liquid, Grow in liquid (HYDRO, using nutrients)

As fussy they are in soil and needed the right mixture to prevent water logging, they thrived even better in liquid base.

For our indoor gardens in 2018, we are growing more plants (herbs, vegetables, lavenders, strawberries etc) in liquid base as they are lighter than soil and do not strained our windows.

Hydro Rosemary Journey from cutting –

Grow fresh herbs indoors

2018 August 18 – rooted in 4 days

Rosemary Plant Care in the tropics

2018 September 03

Rosemary Plant Care in the tropics

2018 December 11

Rosemary Plant Care in the tropics

Pruning encourage new shoots

The process of rooting cutting whenever we used this herb never stop, because we can never have too many rosemary in this home or for our workshop’s participants (whenever available) ! So here we go again on December 11 2018!

Rooted in liquid, Grow in Soil Method

Sthh Sthh from Plant Community Singapore shared how to root Rosemary from store bought herbs :

How to grow rosemary from cutting using store bought herbs

Oct 8 2015 – Used most of the leaves for cooking then use the stem for rooting

How to grow rosemary from cutting

2-4 weeks to see roots. Tap water used only. Once roots appeared, transfer to net pot with nutrients solution (Can use Lushgro A+B solution for leafy vegetables)

Sthh Sthh used his own mix of nutrient solution too.

His recipe is : NPK 21-21-21, a dash of epsom salt, and a teaspoon of seachem flourish trace minerals into 3 litre of water. EC about 2000. (I am clueless here as well, not being familiar to commercial fertilizers! )

Rosemary propagation

Rosemary Propagation – Only roots come in contact with nutrients solution

 

Rooting rosemary

Rosemary ‘s stem stayed dry in net pot while roots are in nutrients solution

 

Rooting Rosemary

Rosemary rooting pots suspended above nutrients solution

 

How to grow rosemary from cutting

Rosemary transferred to pot (Sthh Sthh’s post in Oct 2015)

STHH STHH also shared how he watered and adjust the soil media needed for a dry loving plant like rosemary and even lavender! Deep Water Soak Treatment

How to water rosemary plant

April 25 2016 –  When the soil become dry, STHH immersed the whole pot in a basin of water. Green Culture Singapore’s post.

STHH STHH – How I water my rosemary and thyme, very deeply. Entire pot is submersed in a basin of water. Then pot is lifted to drain.

If water does not completely drain in less than 1minute, your medium is too dense for rosemary or thyme. Time to add some grit. Many options are available – sand, pebbles, perlite, whatever that aid good drainage.

If your water does not soak deep into the soil, the roots of the plants will stay close to the surface, and if so, you cannot skip watering your plants every couple days, which also increases humidity, which is a killer for rosemary and lavenders here in SG.

Deep watering helps plants to establish better roots, and watering will be required only once a week, or twice a week when it gets hot. For suspected fungal infection, or for aeration of soil, you can add a little hydrogen peroxide.

How to water rosemary plants

STHH – The water must drain out in less than 1 minute, also to gauge whether soil used is suitable

And that is how STHH keep his rosemary plants so well. Please remember to only water these plants when the soil is dry.

lavender plants care

This is how dry Sthh Sthh’s soil gets before he water the soil !!!

Agnes Yang on Feb 8 2016 shared how she root her rosemary cutting (from a live plant) –

Propagate Rosemary

Feb 8 2016 – Agnes Yang’s Rosemary rooted in half strength seaweed liquid feed, 7 – 10 days to see roots.

How to multiply rosemary plants

February 9 2016 – Recycled plastic bottle to root Rosemary stems 🙂

Ms. Yang used a syringe to draw a small amount of this and she also said, ”  I’m using diluted seaweed solution. Cheaper than rooting hormones and works well as continuous support even after potting through watering with it”.

SOIL MIXTURE Tips from gardeners

Steve Teh (Plant Community Singapore, Dec 8 2015) – Compost: perlite: coarse sand: rice husk. The ratio is 3:1:1:1.  Some limestone powder added in the mix for higher alkaline level. If  rice husk is not available, then add more sand and perlite. Coarse sand is from nursery and not the beach as the latter contained salt. If beach sand is used, it need to be washed first to rid of salt.

Veronica Yuen (SG Farming in Apartments, Jan 2016) – ” It require good drainage, use 50% perlite, 25% compost, 25%potting mix. Water once or twice a week.”

Terence Low, Naked Greens – 1:1 top soil and other part perlite, pumice or sand will do.

Guanster Guan ‘s soil mix formula, please click on the hyperlink.

All in agreement that Rosemary are sun lovers 🙂 Just don’t love them too much with the watering! 🙂

How to plant rosemary cutting

Steve Teh’s rosemary sought the sun aggressively!

Rosemary plants needs

Chef Donny Tan’s rosemary plants at his doorstep

ROSEMARY IS USEFUL ! 

As a herb, it can be used raw in salads, as it’s scent adds an aromatic experience to raw vegetables. In this plate, Chef Donny Tan created a beautiful tomatoes and grapes salad with rosemary.

 

How to grow Rosemary in Singapore

Eye pleasing and delicious

Rosemary Seasoned Salt for culinary purposes.

To make this, just dry baked sea salt with rosemary leaves and kept in airtight containers. When bottled in beautiful glass jars, these are elegant gifts as well.

Rosemary Plant Care

Rosemary seasoned salt

Rosemary salt can be used with baked potatoes or lamb seasoning.

HAIR and SCALP TREATMENT

Grow Rosemary from seeds or cutting in Singapore

Extracting Rosemary Oil

Rosemary extract can be made by submerging the leaves in vodka. When vodka is not  available, I still preferred to use a mortar and pestle to prepare my herbs for home remedies or seasoning over the electrical equipment.

Grow Rosemary from seeds or cutting in Singapore

Pound leaves with coconut oil

For hair treatment, herbs leaves are removed from the cutting and pound in oil. Coconut oil is the best but any light oil is fine as well. The mixture can be applied to hair as is or warmed for a hot treatment. For oily scalp, we can opt out the oil, and instead mixed with suitable conditioner and then apply.

Grow Rosemary from seeds or cutting in Singapore

Mixed with conditioner

Rosemary Benefits

  • Soothes itchy scalp
  • Reduce hair loss because rosemary oil stimulates blood circulation on scalp, promoting hair growth
  • Anti-inflammation properties
  • Nourish hair follicles
  • Stimulate cell renewal leading to natural healing
  • Scent improve memory

USE ROSEMARY OIL WITH HAIR MASK FOR DEEP REPAIR TREATMENT

After overcoming the challenges of growing rosemary, there is only happiness and satisfaction during harvest.

Grow rosemary from cutting in Singapore

Freshly cut rosemary smells awesome

 

Rooted herbs seedlings may be available for sale, do contact via SHOP.

 

Rosemary Plant Care in the tropics

Rosemary in liquid base

 

 

 

White Strawberries

Featured

In 2017, we began new exploration of white wild Alpine strawberries varieties in KRATKY (passive hydroponic) that were not common commercially and too fragile to ship, thus we had to grow them from seeds.  Some of their taste profiles were described as intensely aromatic, mostly sweet with different variant of interesting flavors, such as pineapple, cotton candy, rose syrup or caramel.

As we explored more widely and tasted the fruits of our labor, we discovered not every white (or yellow) strawberries carried this special taste.

Now we understood why some growers classified the special ones as “gourmet” and others as “common”. Seeds prices were higher and sources to buy were more limited with the gourmet range.

Grow White Strawberries from seeds in KRATKY

Strawberries without soil

True white strawberries belonged to 2 groups only.

  1. Alpine (Fragaria Vesca, originated in Europe)
  2. Beach (Fragaria Chiloensis, originated in Chile, also known as South American or coastal strawberries)

Both the alpine and beach strawberries are wild species.

White strawberries are white because they lacked the protein FRA a1 which made red strawberries red. People who are allergic to red strawberries have no problems eating white strawberries because of the absence of this protein.

An example of white strawberries sold in ISETAN (Japanese shopping store) on January 8 2016. It is not far fetched to sell fifteen pieces of gourmet white strawberries for Singapore $200, about USD $150.

Photo : Joyce Ho, January 8, in Isetan (Japanese Supermarket)

Photo : Joyce Ho

After growing our own wild white strawberries since 2016, we now know that these supermarkets’ strawberries are likely hybrid. Heirloom wild strawberries are typically small and soft flesh. Once harvested, they are unlikely to last a day. What they lacked in size, these varieties more than compensate with their aromatic intense flavor and unique taste.

A sought after and commercial popular white hybrid variety is Pineberry (white flesh, red seeds), a cross between Fragaria and Ananassa varieties. This cannot be grown from seeds, as Pineberry is a cultivated hybrid, thus please do not buy pineberry seeds online.

List of some Wild Alpine White varieties –

  1. Krem
  2. Pineapple Crush
  3. White Delight
  4. White Giant
  5. White Solemacher
  6. White Soul

We started our exploration in 2015 with WHITE SOUL variety in soil and then late 2017 liquid base.

2018

With the experience gained from Pineapple Strawberries (yellow varieties) in 2016 and 2017, we had more confidence to try more white strawberry varieties. On January 20, we sowed four new types and they germinated on January 26 after 6 days, using new germination method.

One of these new varieties belonged to the gourmet category with taste profile of caramel and pineapple. These seeds are no longer on sale.

Grow white strawberries in Singapore

January 27 2018 – tiny sprout spotted!

See how tiny they were when they began this journey in Singapore!

Grow White Strawberries from seeds in Singapore

So Tiny

White strawberries varieties are considerably smaller and slower to grow than the common red varieties.

Grow White Strawberries from seeds in Singapore

2018 April 27 – 80 days old

And like children, they grew up!

Grow White Strawberries from seeds in Singapore

2018 July 2

White strawberries have the characteristics red stems of normal red garden varieties. From germinating through growth stages here, we are breeding them in natural SG environment.

Grow White Strawberries from seeds in Singapore

2018 July 15

Our hope is to grow more varieties of white strawberries and built a portfolio of gourmet hydro plug-ins for household gardeners and high tech systems. Some of our seeds collected over the years are no longer available for sale internationally.

A Comparative journal from USA, with Regina Fok

To collect growth data on white strawberries from our seeds. Thank you, Regina!

Her seeds germinated in 9 days in an indoor environment of 23C. Similar to our white strawberries seedlings, her seedlings were small as well.

Grow white strawberries from seeds

April 8 2016

White Soul strawberries from seeds

May 21 2016 – 2 months old

Grow white strawberries from seeds in Singapore

White strawberries variety from SG Strawberries seeds

The size of first harvest fruits are same as ones grown in tropical Singapore.

Grow white strawberries from seeds in Singapore

White strawberries are alpines

As there is not much information available on white strawberries in our tropical zone, we are hoping to record more data as we grow them in our blog. 🙂

THE UNEXPECTED CURVE BALLS  (CHALLENGES) 

White strawberries are by far, one of the most difficult to start from seeds. However, the more challenges they present, the deeper we learned how to grow them.

Whether in high tech systems, Kratky (liquid base) or soil, this knowledge is invaluable , especially for gourmet strawberries’ recovery SOP (Standard Operation Procedure) because plants and seeds are now scarce to our region.

With this variety, we experienced how every part of the plant can “break away” and how to save them when it happened. The following is a list of challenges for growing white strawberries plants out of their natural zone.

Leaves Wilting

Grow White Soul strawberries from seeds

Wilting Leaves

White strawberries are extremely delicate and fragile. Transplanting them need extra care. The leaves suffer rot easily, thus its a good idea not to get the leaves wet and stay wet. Surviving seedlings are slower to grow. They become hardy after the fourth month.

Roots Separation

The roots sometimes dropped off for no reason.

Grow White Strawberries from seeds in Singapore

2018 August 02

With limited roots, strawberry plant can still stand upright. They also recovered fast with the right remedy. Sign of successful recovery is first more roots mass and then new leaf growth from the crown (mid section of the plant).

Grow White Strawberries from seeds in Singapore

2018 August 2 – Root-less

It is possible to regenerate new roots when this happened for hydroponic plants.

Grow White Strawberries from seeds in Singapore

2018 August 28

Crown Separation

The strawberry top can breakaway from its crown like this.

Grow White Strawberries from seeds in Singapore

2019 February 28

In the past, when this happened, it would rang a death knell for this plant.

Grow White Strawberries from seeds in Singapore

Separated from Crown

However, even with a tiny part of roots remaining, it is possible to revive a strawberry plant.

Grow White Strawberries from seeds in Singapore

Tiny root part

With recovery SOP, now we could recover these plants as long as they were healthy before the separation, that is not pests stressed etc. In 7 days, new roots showed.

Grow White Strawberries from seeds in Singapore

2019 March 05

Once on the mend, roots gained mass quickly. This was the progress between March 5 to the 14th.

Grow White Strawberries from seeds in Singapore

2019 March 14

A clear signal from a recovered plant is when new leaf showed at the crown and color returned to the stem.

Fruits of our labour

Uphill battles won ! Finally we harvested fruits from February 2018 plants!

We are always grateful for these small fruits after so many trials at every stage.

Grow white strawberries from seeds

2018 Aug 01 – Caramel + Pineapple

Grow white strawberries from seeds in Singapore

2018 August 01 –

Grow white strawberries from seeds in Singapore

Seeds harvest

Do check in to our SHOP for seeds or net-cups ! Seedlings had to be pre-ordered due to limited space.

Grow gourmet strawberries

Bulk Delivery of hydro plugs

With the compilation of 2 years of strawberries growth data in our tropical zone, we discovered new ways to grow them better. Future strawberries will be breed this way, with zero carbon footprint, yet tough enough to fruit in natural environment. In addition, our hydro seedlings can be easily plugged in high tech systems or stand bare in Kratky.

White Strawberries Summary –

  1. Perennial plant
  2. Heavy feeder, need Phosphorous and Potassium like most strawberries
  3. Minimum 6 hours light, prefers shade over full sun
  4. Well drained loamy soil
  5. Moderate watering, preferred drip irrigation
  6. Temperature not above 29 degree Celsius 
  7. More delicate seedlings than red varieties
  8. Fruits were slower to develop in natural environment
  9. Suffered heat stress more often, not recommended outdoor
  10. Pineapple scent permeates the whole plant during fruiting stage
  11. Mature plants are 6 – 8 inches tall, Width 10 – 12 inches across
  12. Suitable for USA zone 4 – 8 (For reference, Singapore is beyond Zone 13 )

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strawberries’ Overview – From Seeds to Fruits :)

Featured


In March 2015 , my 11 year old daughter’s birthday wish was to harvest strawberries in our apartment. 🙂

It would not be a hard wish to grant if we were living in a temperate climate region, but we are living in Singapore, a tropical country.

Right from the start, we were met with disbelief and skepticism when we told friends what we wanted to do. They all thought I was crazy!!!

Our impossible mission began March 2015, after watching a few videos on how other people grew strawberries from seeds.

Most of these how-to videos were from Europe or United States. There were none from South East Asia, at least not the English speaking ones that we could find.

We wish we found this book when we began our journey! Everything we should know about growing strawberries from experts, especially “Hot Months” on page 16 –

The first strawberries seeds germinated on April 4 2015, from a packet of seeds from Far East Flora, a local nursery near home.

Strawberry Seeds in Singapore

It took 10 days to see our first strawberries seeds sprouting! There was no going back after this point.

Strawberry seedlings from seeds in Singapore

A week later, we decided to see if we could harvest seeds ourselves and germinate seedlings from store bought fresh strawberries.

We discovered that matured seeds from ripe fresh fruits had a faster germination rate of 2 to 5 days instead of 10 days. This is Summer’s video on how to choose the matured fresh strawberry seeds for germination :

However in late December 2015, we were advised by American growers that harvesting from fresh strawberries was not a good idea. All our supermarkets’ strawberries are hybrids, they would not grow true to parent plants. Our own experience with these seedlings showed they did not last long. Most of our seedlings from fresh strawberries died at 5th month or after they were transplanted to deeper pots.

Harvesting ripe seeds from strawberries

Kids are harvesting mature seeds from ripe strawberries 🙂

I hope this excitement of discoveries and spirit of learning led them to research in fields of their interests when they grow up.

We created our group on Facebook, ” SG Farming in Apartments”,  to share our experience on May 1 2015.

More pictures on how we began to harvest day’s post is pinned at the top of this group. Our link is at : https://www.facebook.com/groups/866039746800973/

Please follow our post “How to Germinate Strawberry seeds” for tips ! 🙂

By mid May 2015, we had 60 strawberry seedlings thriving in our bedroom. The kids and I are now strawberries “farmers”!!! 🙂

Grow strawberry from seeds in Singapore

Strawberry baby plants from seeds in our SG bedroom 🙂

From these tiny sprouts, more leaves appeared. They were such pretty seedlings, and this was the first time we seen strawberries’ seedlings!

The question of  whether our strawberry plants can really really bear fruits troubles me constantly 🙁  I told my daughter we would take them as far as we can, not wanting to disappoint her with false hopes.

Strawberry seedling

Our 1 month old strawberry seedling

 

GROW WITH NATURAL FERTILIZER

 

Strawberry seedling at 3 months

3 months old Strawberry seedling has an emerging crown

As we would be away during the June holidays, and not wanting to bother my elderly parents too much, we decided to give half of our 60 seedlings to seasoned gardeners in Singapore.

Strawberries seedlings shared with Singapore gardeners

Sharing our strawberry seedlings with Alex Ng, who successfully grew grapes along his corridor 🙂

Due to over-watering, pests had invaded our soil when we returned home after the June break.

PESTS TRAPS FOR INDOOR GARDENS

I decided to change the soil instead of applying pesticide, and took the opportunity to look at strawberry’s roots.

strawberry plant roots

3 months old strawberry plant has an emerging crown and long roots

 

Strawberry seedling has long roots

Close Up look at strawberry roots – very long and taper

Please follow post on “How to Transplant Strawberry Plants” for tips!

By the 4th month, strawberry plants became hardier.

They are drought resistant and need less water. At this time, the soil should be more acidic. Yeh Gerald from Urban Farmers (Singapore) Facebook’s group, advised to add used ground coffee to the soil.

Strawberry seedling stages

4th month strawberry seedling

 

Strawberry plant length at 4 months

Strawberry plant at 4th month is 29cm

As the strawberry plants grew, space to grow them at my only sunny window in the apartment was running out.

Strawberries from seeds

Crowded Table top – strawberry seedlings!!

For us, with limited sun, our best solution is to climb upwards!

All our vertical towers are recycled from used plastic water bottles and painted white to reflect heat away from the plants.

Strawberry farm in Singapore bedroom

Strawberry plants covered our windows and filled our table  space!

I am guessing that my daughter is the only kid in school who can say she is sleeping and studying in a strawberry garden in tropical Singapore!

On Sept 20 2015, when the strawberries were five months old, flowers buds were found on our the strawberry plants. A couple of days later, these flowers bloom.

POLLINATE LIKE A BEE!

We were really happy to see them. Fruiting seem possible at this stage.

Strawberry plant flowers

Our first glimpse of a strawberry plant’s flower

Two legged bees were put to work, pollinating these flowers with a paint brush. A friend from our gardening group, Ms. Regina Fok, send us a link with information on how to do this.

Summer presented a video in YouTube to show how we pollinated ours.

This is my theory. In Singapore, because of high humidity, we cannot relied exclusively on natural elements like wind or bees (which we don’t have in our room) to pollinate strawberries’ flowers.

Self Pollinate Strawberry flowers

Human Bee Shona pollinating strawberry flowers in Singapore

The best chance to see fruits is to lend a human’s helping hand.

When pollination is successful, the petals dropped within the day and its bald head started to face downwards. Strawberry’s petals will darken and looked bruise before shedding.

Self pollinated strawberry flower

Day after self pollination (Sept 21 2015) –

Two or more flowers may bloom on the same stem, although the rate of successful pollination was not uniform.

Self pollinated strawberry flowers

Self Pollinated strawberry flower on the right  has shed all petals,begin to fruit.

stages of strawberry fruit growth

On the right, flower has shed all its petals and begin fruiting journey. On the left, a fruit becoming more developed.

Fruiting process start as soon as petals are dropped and the flower’s bud drooped down. This happened within a week instead of months as we expected.

Strawberry plant baby is really ugly!

First stage of strawberry fruit development

First stage of strawberry fruit – flower lost its petals, head drooped downward

Second stage of strawberry fruit development

Second stage of strawberry fruit development – flesh and seeds are green

Third stage of strawberry fruit development

Third stage of strawberry fruit development – seeds began to redden

4th stage of strawberry fruit development

4th stage of strawberry fruit development – seeds redden further while flesh remained light green

5th stage of strawberry fruit development

An unexpected surprise – strawberry fruit flesh turned from light green to white while seeds remained red

6th stage of strawberry fruit development

Pink blush on strawberry fruit’s white flesh overnight

Last strawberry fruit development stage

A recognizable red strawberry fruit at last!

From the beginning, we love to use only natural fertilizer to feed our strawberries, even making our own KELP fertilizer . 

This story shared on TEDx stage on May 28 2016. 🙂

Thank you, TEDxPickering Street for the honour to share our story.

 

All the videos here are written and presented by children, using their own words.

Summer was 11 years old and she is our spokesperson for the English communities. Shona was 8 years old, and she usually represented in Japanese (Year 2015).

Our story in a 2018 article by Eudora Chua on this experience with the children’s voices! We looked back on how we began this journey and what life goals achieved and joys it brought us.

They enjoyed making these how-to videos and sharing our experience.

We hope you enjoyed them too.

PS. This is how we grow 50 -60 strawberry plants at home !! :))

August 7 2016 – We harvested our second variety of strawberries. The children and I love these Heirloom Pineapple strawberries even more than the red variety! 🙂 Check out why they are so special at the link.

Grow strawberries from seeds in Singapore

2017 Bedroom Gardens

 

WORKSHOPS and Heirloom strawberry seeds are available !