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 !

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POTATOES IN CONTAINERS

My daughter, Summer, loves potatoes in any form, whether grilled, roast with our fresh herbs, mashed for pot pies or steamed. So I decided to try planting our own in the outdoor apartment’s gardens.

Grow Potatoes from Eyes

Baked Salmon with Potatoes

We choose small to med sized potatoes rather than large Russet potatoes for our first trial. The larger potatoes may need a long cooler season than our weather.

To plant, we have to find the eyes on potatoes which looked like this.

A small indent on the skin. On each cut slice, there can be more than one eye. In fact, I was told the more the better the yield.

Grow Potatoes from eyes

Potato’s Eye

Grow Potatoes from Eyes

Slice a part with more than 1 eye

In big deep pots, we plant potatoes’ cut-side in well draining soil with our own compost. There is about four inch of soil at the base of the pot before we plant. We will top up soil as the potatoes grew as they drew nutrients from the top.

Grow Potatoes from Eyes

2018 August 06 – Plant w cut side down

After 2 weeks in soil, roots emerged on the top.

Grow Potatoes from Eyes

Roots

Leaves showed!

Grow Potatoes in Containers

2018 August 23

Grow Potatoes in pots in Singapore

2018 October 26

Grow Potatoes in pots in Singapore

Sneak Peek !

Potatoes typically can be harvested in 3 months time.

We will update as our plants grow.

The moment when we plant our slice of “eyes” in soil Video !

We hope to see our fresh harvest soon from these potatoes!

Grow potatoes in containers

Prepping Potatoes eyes

 

Grow Ginger in Pots

Growing ginger is surprisingly easy, but on hindsight, I should have planted them individually or in a wider pot to allow the roots to grow more.

Fellow gardener, Ms. Pek Nyuk in our Facebook gardening group ( https://www.facebook.com/groups/866039746800973/) , recommended to start planting them in shallow soil depth in wide pot and then top up with soil as they grow.

This store bought ginger was cut into 4 parts, each part with the “eye” and planted with it facing upwards. Although there were eight buds on this ginger that could be separated and plant, gardeners also recommend not to do so as smaller parts would not have enough energy to grow a good yield.

How to grow ginger in pots

2018 February 9

Another example of the “eye” –

Grow gingers in pots

The eye are the round indents on the skin

The picture below showed my newly planted shoot on 16 July 2018. One per pot this time! 🙂

Grow ginger from store bought ginger

Newly growth from the eye

Some were re-planted in outdoor bigger pots. We planted them like this, cut side in soil with the shoot facing upward.

Grow ginger in pots

2018 August 06

In previous pot, my ginger were small because there was no room to grow further..

How to grow ginger in pots

2018 July 15

Thus we harvested early, on July 15 (only 5 months) instead of waiting another four months for them to mature. The leaves had started to brown. These plants will not be able to grow well remaining in this small pot.

How to grow ginger in pots

No room for roots to grow

This is how we harvested our ginger.

 

A soothing brew of ginger tea for cool days!

How to grow ginger in pots

Comforting ginger tea

 

Turmeric Ginger is grown in the same way. We started our own plants in May 2018 to treat eczema rashes by applying grated pulp (and juice) with black pepper. This application work almost instantaneously to stop the itch and inflammation and has no burn on skin. Thus, should be comfortable for young children as well.

Grow own turmeric ginger in pots

Turmeric Leaf is used in curry

It is sometimes called yellow ginger because this ginger juice stained everything yellow! We use turmeric in curries and even with seasoning of seafood.

Grow own turmeric ginger in pots

2018 October 27 – freshly harvest

Apply directly on skin to treat inflammation and itch and find instant relief. It does not come any fresher than home harvest and with my own ginger, I know there is no pesticide.

Grow own turmeric ginger in pots

Pulp + Juice + Black Pepper

We learned our lesson after our first harvest in small pot on July 15 2018. Next round in bigger deeper pot yield a better harvest. No matter the size, fresh ginger smell and taste much better than anything bought in stores!

How to grow ginger in pots

First Ginger Harvest on July 15 2018 

How to grow ginger in pots

2018 Dec 05 – Better Harvest

Look how amazingly juicy is our freshly harvested ginger! We are addicted to home grown harvest more than ever now.

How to grow ginger in pots

Freshly harvested Ginger !

 

SUGAR CANE !

My friend of over 20 years, Ling, brought me some home grown sugar cane in February 2018 and they were amazingly juicy and sweet.

Home Grown Sugar Cane in Singapore

2018 February 24

To enjoy these, we hacked the long hard stem of the fruits at the joint which will break after a few hits. From the top of each shortened stem, split it in half first then quartered as desired. We ate this by biting off thinner strips and chewing out the juice from its fibrous flesh and then discard the fiber. Commercially, there are cold pressed machines in Asia that will squeezed the juice out for a refreshing and sweet thirst quencher. Best chilled! Sometimes, a slice of lemon is add to counter the sweetness.

Sugarcane is not suitable for container gardening as it is a giant when fully grown.

Home Grown Sugar Cane

Ling’s sugar cane “jungle”

According to Ling’s mother-in-law who grew these plants, they need full brutal sun and grounded. She watered only occasionally with rice rinse water. Most of the time, these plants depend on  rain.

The stems were harvested when they were “long” enough, at least 6 months from sapling stage in her garden. She chopped off the desired length, leaving a shorter stump in the ground and the latter with grow bigger for the next harvest.

The experience of tasting this amazingly fresh and delicious crop made me curious. I wonder how they start their journey?

Home Grown Sugar Cane in Singapore

Source – The Noble Sugarcane (Johnscropblog)

To start, plant them with the “eyes” facing upward in soil after cutting to shorter length at the joint.

Home Grown Sugar Cane in Singapore

Young shoot

Young shoots emerged about 14 days and grew rapidly.

Home Grown Sugar Cane in Singapore

This can be further separated

A young sugarcane sapling has invasive roots mass and tend to roots bound easily in containers.

Home Grown Sugar Cane in Singapore

2018 March 24

This one a keeper for study while the rest were planted in my outdoor garden.

Home Grown Sugar Cane in Singapore

2018 March 24

Will update as the saplings grow.

KALE – SO EASY !

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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

Wolfberries / Goji Berries/ KAU KEE Plant

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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

 

Strawberries’ Overview – From Seeds to Fruits :)

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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 !