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)
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WESTERN PARSLEY

Lest we get confused with Chinese Parsley, which to me taste like celery,  these so called “Western” Parsley are Curly leaf (English) and Italian Flat Leaf Parsley.  As this herb is a biennial, meaning it will bolt (flower) in the second year and then died, I much preferred growing them from seeds than buying from the nursery. This way, I know how long I can harvest from my plant before the need to sow new seeds.

Curly Leaf Parsley (2015)

Germinating Tip – Unusual as it seem, I soaked these seeds in a market fish rinse water overnight before sowing, after a few unsuccessful attempts. Thank goodness, there was no lingering fish smell that attracts ants and flies!

Grow Curly Parsley from seeds

1 week old Curly with Rosemary cutting

Grow Curly Parsley from seeds

2 months Curly Parsley

Curly Parsley from seeds

2015 December 04 –  1 plant in pot

Curly Leaf Parsley are pretty looking and commonly used for garnish. Its flavor is quite mild compared to the Italian Flat Leaf.

Grow Curly Parsley from seeds

Freshly harvest Curly Parsley

Flat Leaf Parsley (Hydro and Soil)

Germination Tip –  Pretty easy, sowed in very wet medium, using kale’s method. First sprout spotted in 2 days.    Sowed them in very wet soil over other medium for better germination result.

Grow Italian Flat Parsley from seeds

2018 July 31 – very moist soil

Before true leaf showed, root has extended about 2 cm.

Grow Italian Flat Parsley from seeds

Long roots

Grow Italian Flat Parsley from seeds

2018 August 06 – True Leaf

Cold seasoned salads

1 month old

Cool Seasoned fresh herbs indoors

Flat Leaf

Cold seasoned salads

2018 Sept 05

Cold seasoned salads from seeds

2018 October 04

Flat Leaf Parsley became too beautiful to eat when we look at them this way!

Grow Italian Flat Leaf or curly Parsley from seeds in containers

2019 February 25

Soil based plants

Cold seasoned salads

2018 Aug 06

Cold seasoned salads

2018 August 10

Cold seasoned salads

2018 August 25

Cold seasoned salads

Hydro & Soil Parsley

Notes on Western Parsley

  • Preferred cool weather, thus need to protect from hot sun or grow in partial shade
  • Biennial, will flower and die on second year (collect seeds!)
  • Germination – maintain very moist medium for seeds
  • Seedlings preferred slightly moist medium
  • Not fussy about soil type
  • Leaves and stems can be eaten
  • Goes very well with roasted garlic for Italian meals such as pastas

 

Grow cold seasoned herbs from seeds

Pies filling

Cold seasoned salads

Brie & Herbs Pies

OYSTER LEAF

Featured

I am grateful for moments of heightened curiosity when excitement and intrigue sparkle and I am drawn into the chase to look for answers. These recent years had been one roller coaster after another, finding answers to growing challenging (cold seasoned) edible plants in our tropical climate.

After strawberries (still an on going search for answers on hybrids), there was wolfberries and now top of my list, is this Oyster Leaf after hearing about its uniqueness from chefs, then tasting a leaf with champagne at a gathering.

Little is known about this salad leaves outside the fine dining circle. In fact, most local growers do not know it. There was no name for this plant in the Chinese seeds catalog.

Grow Oyster Leaf from seeds in containers

2019 February 23 Harvest

Ironically, I heard about this the first time from a Australian trained Chinese chef who wanted to try growing it for his own restaurant. Thereafter, an opportunity to try it at a business function. It was an instant favorite! I fell in love with the taste and texture immediately.

The experience of enjoying each leaf raw is very interesting. The first taste is salt, then the oysters taste explode at mid section of the leaf and at the end, a mild and sweet taste reminiscent of freshly harvested romaine green. In terms of taste or texture, it met all our expectations, especially among our seafood or salads friends.

In our humble opinions, these leaves should be enjoyed raw and without flavoring because they are delicious and unique. Connoisseurs love them too, they were often paired with seafood or fish dishes.

As an uncommon, sought after vegetable, they were only sold in specialty stores or private greenhouses direct to fine dining restaurants in Britain, at a market price‎  £ 5.50 (GBP) for 30 grams, roughly SGD 320 per kg!

Grow Oyster Leaf from seeds in Singapore

From seeds natural environment

One understands why they cost so much after some research.

In a nutshell, these are “fussy” difficult plants to cultivate and slow to grow. However for the market price they fetched, it is worthwhile to explore for indoor high tech farms looking for delicious niche vegetables for restaurants. An advantage for local growers is that these leaves must be harvested as close to delivery time and destination as possible.

Our family enjoyed tasting salads and vegetables that were not common in supermarkets here. We bridged natural fertilizer such as seaweed or Kelp meal in our nutrients base for our edibles gardens.

NATURAL FERTILIZER FOR SOIL & LIQUID BASE MIX

Here are some notes on Oyster Leaf plants growing conditions –

  • Hates moisture, prefer well draining, non compact/heavy soil (similar to rosemary and lavender)
  • Avoid letting medium go totally dry before watering ( tip – aim to keep its environment constantly moist)
  • Unable to tolerate prolonged sun + heat , prefers part shade (ideal for my apartment’s environment)
  • Fragile, usually die upon transplantation
  • Needs cold stratification (use strawberries germination method)
  • Best harvest early in the day at their most fragrant (morning)
  • Discourage flowering as it may reduce leaves’ flavor (reason why seeds are hard to find!)

Our Oyster Leaves’ Journal began on July 13 2018, when a seed germinated in 2 days instead of a month as advised.

Cold Seasoned salads from seeds

2018 July 13

Be patience when cultivating these plants to acclimatize in our region. It was a slower than snails’ pace from the start till the second month. Seed leaves took a week to develop after germination.

Cold seasoned salads from seeds

Slow start

The following pictures tracked how they formed from seeds leaves stage –

Grow Oyster Leaf from seeds in Singapore

In net cup for easier handling

Grow Oyster Leaf from seeds in Singapore

2018 August 04

Grow Oyster Leaf from seeds

True leaf showed

From first to second month, the progress was very slow. Some seedlings may failed. As this was our first time and not having any information to fall back on, regarding growth, we did not know why seedlings die yet.

Grow Oyster Leaf from seeds

2018 August 07

Cold Seasoned Salads

2018 August 16

On their second month, their growth development was similar to strawberries. Height of plants, roots development, more leaves formed were all alike. There was a single thin mid section ( I called it the crown like the strawberries’ mid section),  which will thicken and multiplied as it matured.

Cold Seasoned Salads

2018 September 05

Absolutely delicious fresh oyster tasting leaves with thick crisp texture. Now, I truly appreciate why this salad leaves are sought after by chefs around the world.

cold seasoned salads

2018 September 17

As this grew, the mid section or crown thickened and multiply. We harvested leaves from the outer fringe and this seem to prompt new leaves to start from the mid inner section. It looked to be a cut and grow plant.

Grow cold seasoned salads from seeds in Singapore

2018 December 01

From the second month, the taste of oyster become more distinct. Interestingly, the taste and smell of oysters changed through the day. In the early morning, it was pleasantly light and sweet. Once the heat is out (late morning) to afternoon, the oyster taste became very strong, akin to eating an oily oyster omelette!

Cold seasoned salads from seeds

Oyster Leaf seedlings

The leaves had some pigmentation, dots of color on the surface and beneath. At first, we thought it was spider mites but fortunately were not the dreaded pests!

Cold seasoned salads from seeds

2018 October 4

Cold climate plants showed the same freckles on leaves so we know this is a normal characteristics of the plant.

Grow cold seasoned salads from seeds in Singapore

Freckles on leaves

In addition to thicker leaves texture, the taste profile now is salty and oysters.

Grow cold seasoned salads from seeds in Singapore

2019 February 8

Grow cold seasoned salads from seeds in Singapore

Cut and Grow Leaves

Hopeful for flowers ! Our tropical heat may had prompt our plants to bolt. Unlike gardeners in the cool climate, I look forward to see how they developed and hopefully there would be seeds.

Grow cold seasoned salads from seeds in Singapore

2019 January 19

Challenges 1 – These plants were not able to tolerate prolonged direct sun. The leaves wilt even in morning sun above 30 degree Celsius. Ideally grown in the shade or bright airy area.

Grow cold seasoned salads from seeds in Singapore

Heat Stroke

We found that it thrived best in our rainy season when the air was damp, below 28 degree Celsius.

Cold Seasoned salads from seeds in Singapore

Okay in the rain

Challenges 2 – Roots had the tendency to drop off when the weather was hot. It was possible to regenerate roots. We do not recommend these plants be grown outdoor in the ground.

Speedy recovery was possible with strawberries’ cooling measures. The following video shared how we used wind to aerate individual reservoir by “rocking” which caused ripples in the liquid base of  these cool loving plants.

 

Wolfberries / Goji Berries/ KAU KEE Plant

Featured

Updated 2018 June 30 –  We completed the full cycle journal on Kau Kee cutting to fruits and other observations! These plants continue to surprise while gifting us knowledge and food. As fresh berries were not available in our markets, we grew to share them with our family and neighbors. Last but not least, we can grow this herb in our tropical zone. Winter is not a factor to see fruits.

 

This journey has taught us that plants are quite adaptable as long as we understood their basic needs. It may take a longer time to adapt to our climate, but as long as they live, we had opportunities to learn.

How this journey began – 

October 17 2015 – I came across this post by Eddie Chua in our Facebook group, “SG Farming in Apartments” about his Goji stem cutting that has rooted in water.

As my mother loves Goji berries, I love to grow my own for her.

How to grow a wolfberry or Goji berry tree from cutting

Goji Berries and Kau Kee Chai (Photo: CN Herb)

There was not enough information online about how they start in 2015 and I wanted to find out more for this journal. The only way is to start from cutting or seeds.

There are 2 ways to grow this hardy perennial plant.

  1. By Seeds : Angie Wong, a member at Singapore Urban Gardening group (Facebook), shared how she germinated from Eu Yang Sang’s dried berries. Taken from the fridge, these were cut open for the seeds inside, and sowed directly on wet tissues.
    Grow goji berries

    Angie Wong  chose the plumpest ones from Eu Yang Sang’s dried berries.

    Goji berries seedlings

    Angie Wong – 6 days to germinate. These seedlings were 9 days old

  2. By Stem Cutting ( Eddie’s instructions : strip the stem of big leaves, cut the stem down and soak in water until roots appear)

For this Wolfberry/ Goji berry or Kau Kee trials, I begged Regina Fok who lived in USA, to share her observations with me . 🙂 I wanted to see if winter chill is a factor required for this plant to bear berries. And hence, our rooting trials began in 2 countries in 2015.

MOVE HEAVY POTS FOR SUN ! 

Regina Fok’s Goji Berry Plant began in October 2015, in USA

Grow a goji berry tree from stem cutting

Oct 2015 – Regina Fok’s goji berry stems rooting in water

How to grow wolfberry plant from cutting

Regina Fok ‘s stem cutting has rooted in water

After her stem cuttings rooted in water, Regina Fok planted them in soil and they over wintered indoor in pots. The plants did not faced the full elements of winter as young plants.

Gojiberry Wolfberry from cutting

May 10 2016 – Roots have outgrew the pot over the winter

Gojiberry from cutting

May 2016 – Regina Fok’s cutting planted in the ground once spring arrived!

Grow gojiberries from cutting

Gojiberries, Wolfberries flower buds seen on Regina’s plant (USA)

Grow wolfberry plant

June 4 2016 – Regina’s plant flowered once its in the ground!

Gojiberries and wolfberries from cutting

October 2016 – Regina’s plants bore fruits!

Grow goji or Wolfberries

Nov 11 2016 – Vigorous grower!

Grow goji or Wolfberries

Nov 12 2016 – Not the first harvest!

Regina Fok’s plants did not need much care. In fact, she almost forgotten about these plants in her garden, until she chanced upon them in October 2016, while clearing her garden for winter. For all her neglect, she was surprised to see the plants had grown well and even fruiting without adding fertilizers!

Grow goji or Wolfberries

Minimum care for hardy wolfberries plants!

Grow goji or Wolfberries

How wolfberries grow on plants!

Our wolfberry plants’ journey began on December 26 2015 in Singapore

Grow wolfberry or gojiberry from Cutting

Trimmed off Kau Kee (wet market in Toa Payoh) leaves and cut the stems shorter before rooting in water

How to grow Goji berry from cutting

Jan 6 2016 – Kau Kee /Goji berry/ Wolfberry cutting rooted in water (11days)

I learned from gardeners in Singapore that this plant can be planted in soil directly without roots, and decided to do a comparative study on how having roots affect a plant’s growth.

Wolfberries from rooting

Plants with more roots mass will grow faster (PlantB)

 

PESTS PREVENTION – TRAP FOR WHITEFLIES etc

 

Feb 10 2016 – Plant A

Grow Wolfberry or Gojiberry from Kau Kee cutting

Feb 10 2016 – Plant B had more leaves and was taller

Conclusion  – For any stem cutting that had “rooted”, it is best to  plant in soil  when there were good “roots mass” seen. This basically mean a lot of white new roots in layman terms!  Plants were stronger faster compared to cuttings with less or no roots.How flowers start their journey ! The dates are not in sequence as flowers bloom at the same time on both plants but hopefully the pictures demonstrated how they formed. No commercial fertilizer were used to encourage flowering. These plants were grown in our own natural compost  from recycled kitchen green waste! 🙂

Grow Wolfberries, gojiberries

October 30 2016 – First flower bud seen

Grow wolfberries, gojiberries or kau kee

Dec 04 2016 – More buds on the way

Grow Wolfberry or Gojiberries

Feb 01 2017 – Flowers and berries

Grow wolfberry from kau kee cutting

Jan 10 2017 – Lots of flowers but berries are still green

wolfberry flowers

Feb 28 2017

Grow wolfberries in Singapore

Flowers formed in clusters the older the plants grew (August 04 2017)

Grow wolfberries, gojiberries from cutting

Dec 10 2016 – Isn’t this cute? Just before the flower bloom fully.

Grow Wolfberry or Gojiberry from Kau Kee Cutting

Feb 17 2017

Grow wolfberries, gojiberries from cutting

Dec 12 2016 – more flowers bloom at the same time

Grow gojiberries, Kau Kee, Wolberries

November 11 2016 – Flower coming out from bud.

Grow wolfberries , gojiberries and kau kee

SG Kau Kee Flowers – Do they look the same as Regina’s USA wolfberries flowers?

Grow wolfberries, gojiberries from cutting

Dec 12 2016 – Not the same shade of purple in the flowers

Wolfberry from Kau Kee cutting

Jan 11 2017

Grow wolfberries, gojiberries from cutting

After the flower bloom, the petals turned dried and dropped off

Wolfberry or Gojiberry fruiting stages

February 25 2017 – Fruiting begin

Flowers and fruits on its own without much human aid. These are very hardy plants, drought resistant and did not need fertilizer.

Wolfberries began fruiting journey!

Grow wolfberry and gojiberries from cutting

Jan 27 2017 – Small green berries first after flowers self pollinated

Grow gojiberry n wolfberry in Singapore

March 24 2017 – It took about 4 months from green berries stage to fully ripen red state.

Growing wolfberry or gojiberries in Singapore

February 28 2017 – Vigorous fruiting, heat tolerant

Grow wolfberries, gojiberries from cutting

A green berry gaining weight finally! Hopefully they turned red soon

Grow wolfberry or Gojiberry from cutting

Jan 19 2017

Grow Wolfberry or Goji Cutting

Jan 31 2017 – Slowly but surely, the berries are turning red (been 5 months since it was a small berry)

Grow Wolfberry or Gojiberry from Kau Kee Cutting

Wolfberry

Grow wolfberry and gojiberry

Feb 18 2017 – Fresh Wolfberry is Juicy! 🙂

Grow Wolfberry or Gojiberries

Feb 01 2017 – Gifted my mom with the first berry.

Seeds Journey – our seeds were harvested from our plants and sowed on February 18 2017. Out of 3 seeds from above fruit, only two germinated on February 28 (10 days) . Another learning opportunity has began!

Grow wolfberry or gojiberry

Feb 18 2017 – Sowing seeds from our fresh wolfberry

Grow wolfberry or gojiberry

February 28 2017 – Germinated !!

Grow wolfberry or gojiberry from seeds

March 1 2017 – hopefully a strong plant

Germinating fresh Wolfberry seed

Length of germinated seed is about 2 cm. Roots had not emerged.

Grow wolfberry or gojiberry from seeds

March 26 2017 – 2 days to 1 month old seedling!

Growing wolfberry or gojiberries in Singapore

June 04 2017 – seedling grows very fast

Growing wolfberry or gojiberries in Singapore

June 04 2017 – Seedling planted in outdoor garden

Seeds grown seedlings are slower. However it has brunch out from one stem and is steadily growing up! 🙂

Grow wolfberries gojiberries from Kau Kee cutting

Dec 23 2017 – 9 months old wolfberry seedling

Difference between leaf and flowers buds

Grow wolfberries Gojiberries from cutting

Leaf bud

Leaf buds are thicker and usually formed at the tip of the stem. Whereas Flowers buds are smaller and formed at the joint between developed leaves (see below).

Grow wolfberries Gojiberries from cutting

Flowers bud (Feb 2017)

As small flowers buds matured, they became swollen and a tint of purple showed.

Grow wolfberry gojiberry in Singapore

Hint of purple

What happened after fruiting? 

Leaves will drop until the whole plant was devoid of leaves. Some fruits still remained until they too dried on the stem and dropped as well. This is how the plant looked after fruiting is done.

 

Grow wolfberry gojiberry in Singapore

Bare plant!

They remained in this dormant stage for 3 months.

When the plants revived from dormant stage, another observation were made on –

  1. un-pruned (did not trimmed dry stems, left bare stems on)
  2. pruned (cut away dry stems) plants

To my surprise, the one with stems un-pruned grew flowers first, straight from bare and dry stems! For both pots, I added only compost from my bins and mulched with dried leaves as usual.

Grow wolfberries gojiberries from cutting

2017 Nov 18 new flower out of bare stem

  1. Flower buds were spotted first on the un-pruned plant. Tip – Keep the bare stems! Don’t prune them, continue to feed the soil!
Grow wolfberry gojiberry in Singapore

Nov 17 2017 – plants awakening

Grow wolfberry gojiberry in Singapore

Nov 18 2017 – Flower bud seen from bare stem

Grow wolfberries gojiberries from cutting or seeds

Nov 17 2017 – Flower buds appeared from bare stem

Grow wolfberries gojiberries from Kau Kee cutting

NOv 21 2017 – Flower and fruit from a bare stem

On bare dry stems (un-pruned), it can re-grow this way as well. New shoots grew straight from wooden stems. Thus, this plant will be taller. Tip – Need support, grow near wall or fence.

Growing wolfberry or gojiberry in Singapore

June 10 2017 – New growth on the woody stem

2) On pruned plant, where bare stems were trimmed, new shoots grew first. Flowers were slower to show. This plant had more leaves than the un-pruned plant.

Grow wolfberry gojiberry in Singapore

Pruned plant re-grew shoots

Grow wolfberries gojiberries from seeds

No thorns on new shoots

Grow wolfberry gojiberry in Singapore

Flowers buds showed later than plants with bare stems intact

Pruned plant grew new shoots and have more leaves, thus they looked lush compared to the bare/untrimmed plant on the left. However, its the latter that will show flowers first!

Grow wolfberries gojiberries from cutting

Unpruned (left) vs Pruned plant (right)

2018 Journal

wolfberry in Singapore

2018 January 22

 

Reflection on parent plants’ journey in 2015 – Looking back now I was amazed by how much the plants grow ! The cuttings showed roots after 11 days, on January 06 2016 (started on December 26 2015) . These were how they looked on the first day of being planted, a short stalk with few leaves! Tip – Need to be individually potted in wide and deep pot or best grounded! 

Grow Wolfberry or Gojiberry from Kau Kee cutting

January 13 2016 – Journey to find answers began!

Grow goji or Wolfberries

Nov 11 2016 – Pruned it often to encourage a bushier growth

Grow wolfberries, gojiberries or kau kee

Dec 04 2016 – DIY a steel cage to support the plant, else the stems keep flopping to the ground

Grow wolfberry or gojiberry from cutting

Jan 31 2017 –  Plant B , tied long stems to the steel frame

Wolfberry from Kau Kee cutting

Jan 20 2017 – This steel frame work well to support the plant

Grow Wolfberry or Gojiberry from Kau Kee cutting

Jan 17 2017 – Plant A, slower to flower

The more the plants are pruned, meaning cutting away stems while harvesting for leaves, they get bushier. These plants gave me lots of leaves for cooking as I grew them.

Grow wolfberries gojiberries from cutting

2016 December 02

Grow Wolfberry or Gojiberry from Kau Kee Cutting

Feb 17 2017 – Plants are grown in own compost from kitchen green waste and dried leaves.

Neglect may be the key to get it to flower, meaning don’t harvest as often when its near the one year mark. Let the stems get woody. These plants are best grown in the ground, but if this is not possible, in the biggest pot you can find. 🙂

2019 January 19 – New Beginning

We tried to reused our wolfberry’s pots for vegetables when the dormancy stage extend beyond four months in October 2018. All the stems were pruned hard and only bald stumps remained in December. We thought that the wolfberry plants would not revived and hence, hydro vegetables such as kale were transferred here as they managed to adapt to soil.

Much to our surprise, these bald stumps showed leaves and our wolfberry’s journey began a new phase.

Grow wolfberry Gojiberries from Kau Kee cutting in Singapore

New leaves

 

CONCLUSION KAU KEE is wolfberry.

It took 10 months from cutting to see flowers.

5 months from successful (natural) pollination to full red berry stage.

The taste of fresh wolfberry is medicinal and texture is seedy. 🙂

The Berries of Goji and Kau Kee Plants:

Both the berries and the leaves are edible.

It is considered a good herb for improving eye sight .

The berries are often sold in dried form like these :

 

Fresh goji berries

March 7 – Annie Lim from Perth, Australia, shared picture of fresh goji berries from her garden

Annie Lim from Perth, Australia, said her Goji berry plant grew like weeds in her garden. They are about a meter high and potted instead of in the ground. Some support would be required when there are fruits, otherwise they will bend over. This is a hardy plant, no matter how much was pruned, this plant would rebound even more.

This plant is hardy as it can tolerates winter temperature, summer heat and drought condition. It is also a native plant of Tibet.

Fresh everlasting wolfberries on tree:

Fresh wolfberries on tree

This is what Gojiberries and wolfberries tree look like! Thanks to Ms. Peck (USA), I finally get to see one

Grow wolfberries

Potted Gojiberry plant in Perth Australia (Annie Lim)

Annie Lim also shared that this plant loved the sun and should be able to thrive in Singapore.

How to prepare Gojiberry/ Wolfberry/ Kau Kee stems for Propagating –

  1. Stripped off leaves and mind the thorns while handling this stem
  2. Trim down the length of the stem
  3. Place stems in water until roots appeared (In Singapore’s experiment, about 11 days)
Grow Wolfberry

Regina Fok preparing her Goji berry stems for propagation

 

The leaves are sold in supermarkets and Singapore wet markets. It is good to know the Chinese name for this plant : 枸杞菜   (Ms. Wisteria Lesley ,Urban Farmers Singapore, November 5 2015, said the proper name of this vegetables is this. Package one was wrongly typed ! )

Grow gojiberry plants from stems

Goji berry stems in Singapore are sold like this or fresh stem cutting in markets. People used the leaves for soup

The leaves are often cooked as a nourishing soup with pork and beaten egg :

The leaves have a smooth silky texture when its cooked.

The leaves have a smooth silky texture after its cooked.

Ms. Regina Fok, who is  based in USA and I will be sharing our data on this progress.

It would be interesting to find out if  winter is a factor in producing berries for this plant.

Answer one year later (2016)  – Winter is not a factor for flowers ! 🙂

Information :

  • Full Sun
  • Water well during hot weather and after transplant
  • 10 – 12 inches soil depth
  • Wide pot to give its roots some room, but best in ground with compost.
  • Matured plant is 8 to 10 feet tall
Grow wolfberries goji from cutting

Wolfberry

 

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 )