Not all shiso taste the same.

In our kitchen, we find there are culinary differences between the Japanese and Korean Shiso and thus we used them differently.

In the former (Japanese,青しそ, ao-jiso ), the leaves are thinner and the taste is suitable even for young children’s salads. Eaten raw, the minty flavor is not as sharp as the Korean and taste slightly like cinnamon. Japanese Shiso can be either green or reddish color.

The Korean Shiso seem to be a favorite only with the adults at home, especially meat lovers. We enjoyed the thicker leaves as wrap of greasy meats dipped in sweet Korean chilli paste and sesame oil.  The flavors blend so well that the grease “disappeared” from one’s palate. Regrettably the grease did not disappeared for real! In appearance, Korean shiso has an oval smooth edged thicker leaf compared to Japanese Shiso.

Shiso seeds have short life span and should be kept in the freezer to extend its viability. Germination can be tricky as it was important to maintain both warm and moist environment without drowning the seeds. For best result, seeds environment cannot alternate between dry and wet, it must be kept constantly moist.

It took between overnight to 14 days to see the seeds showed first sign of emerging life.

Grow to grow Perilla Shiso Mint from seeds

3 to 7 days to germinate

Seeds leaves did not show immediately. They appeared 3 days after germination. As young seedlings, the growth progress was relatively slow.

Grow to grow Perilla Shiso Mint from seeds

3 days after germination

Japanese Green Shiso from seeds in Singapore

Mosquitoes-Safe  Nursery

Significant spurt in growth seen only after one week.

Japanese Green Shiso from seeds

One week old

Grow Shiso or Perilla from seeds in Singapore

True Leaves have pointy tip

Hydro seedlings settled in individual “pod”.

Grow Shiso 青しそ, ao-jiso Perilla from seeds in Singapore

2 weeks old

We fed these hydro plants with seaweed extract instead of just AB nutrients.

Japanese Green Shiso from seeds in Singapore

3 weeks old – long roots

Japanese Green Shiso from seeds in Singapore

2018 July 10 – one month old

Grow Perilla or Shiso from seeds in containers

2019 Jan18 – hydro

Grow Perilla or Shiso from seeds in containers

Roots in liquid nutrients

The downside of Perilla mint is that they seem to bolt rather quickly, usually after the 4th harvest and the leaves became tough and brittle. When this happened, leaves do not replaced as fast and they were smaller. We preferred to re-start from seeds and enjoyed younger leaves.

Japanese Green Shiso from seeds in Singapore

Bolting – Flowers pods

Soil Based Shiso

Grow Shiso or Perilla from seeds in Singapore

2018 Nov 19

Grow Shiso or Perilla from seeds in Singapore

10 days old

Grow Shiso or Perilla from seeds in Singapore

3 weeks  old


We love these leaves raw in salads, rice rolls or with sashimi. Our favorite salad combination is avocado with these leaves, do try it for yourself!

Grow to grow Perilla Shiso Mint from seeds

Favorite leaves with rice

As the children love only Japanese Shiso leaves, we grew mainly this than the Korean variety at home.

Grow to grow Perilla Shiso Mint from seeds



These seedling grew very fast after one month.

Grow Shiso or Perilla from seeds in Singapore

2018 November 21


Although at this stage, the size of the leaf is not big, we enjoy the tender smaller leaves over the mature ones. Its texture at this stage is finer and the cinnamon flavor had a sweeter aftertaste.

cool seasoned herbs from seeds

2018 December 21

Larger leaves can be harvested first, keeping the smaller leaves on the plant. The next harvest in a week time. Planted well in cloth bags, with enough aeration to roots zone even though its in soil, this can be a large plant.

Grow cool seasoned herbs from seeds in Singapore

Good roots mass

As the roots had extended out of its seedling bag, it can now be planted in a larger pot to mature further.



I love to cook, love to grow and spoil my family!

Whenever my daughter expressed a wish to try a new cuisine, I let my imagination soar. This month (December 2018) desire is Mexican.

For meat burritos, I like earthy herbs like Sage and Oregano as they compliment tomatoes very well. These herbs are grown on our window gardens, ready to be harvested at our convenience.

Fresh cool seasoned herbs at home


Grow Harvest Fresh Herbs indoors


Grow Harvest Fresh herbs indoor

Cuban Oregano

How to grow herbs indoors

Cuban Oregano

Fresh Herbs harvest in indoor gardens

Spring Onion

We can use any minced meat for Burritos filling, or no meat at all. Rice and beans are another great pairing with vegetables and herbs.

Grow Harvest Fresh Herbs indoor

Dice everything!

These wraps are now available in supermarkets for great Mexican meals anytime. They can be kept in the freezer until needed. Best thaw before use else it will tear upon wrapping.

Grow Harvest Fresh herbs indoor

Multi- Grains Wraps


Burritos are great for leftovers such as roast chicken or biryani rice. The filling can be anything you want. The last ingredient need to be able to melt quickly (any cheese), moisten the drier filling and blend everything together (sour cream, yogurt etc).

Grow Harvest Fresh Herbs indoor

Original Tortillas Wraps

To Prepare (Non Spicy) Filling (as I am cooking for children) –

  • 300g any minced meat (or 2 cup cooked rice) – salt, pepper
  • 1 cup diced onion (medium)
  • 1 garlic (chopped)
  • Fresh Oregano, Sage or any herbs as desired
  • 3 cups any vegetables ( I love red capsicums, corns, peas for the color! )
  • 1 can of any beans
  • 1 teaspoon each, dry spice powder  – cumin, turmeric, coriander (or Mexican burrito spices, pre-mix)
  • 2 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
  • Cheddar, shredded
  • Sour Cream

How to cook filling (the steps are the same for non meat version) –

  • Heat 2 tablespoon oil in Pan
  • Sauteed onion and garlic until slightly brown (until fragrant)
  • Add dry spice powder
  • Add minced beef (mix onion and garlic into meat or rice while stirring)
  • Tomato Paste ( add in when meat is almost cooked) – mix well
  • Vegetables, Beans  and Fresh Herbs

Extra Note – The mixture must not be wet thus allow to simmer at low heat until the liquid (from cooked meat and vegetables) is reduced. This can be prepared ahead of time and kept well in the fridge until needed for a week.

Airtight container keep food better.

Grow Harvest Fresh Herbs indoor

Dry Mixture

An example of ready to use spices mix –

Home Cooked One Dish Meals with Fresh Herbs

Burrito Spices

Prepare wraps when ready to eat.

Preheat oven at 160C.

Step 1 – Filling can be straight from fridge (cold is better)

Grow Harvest Fresh Herbs indoor

Cold Filling

May need toothpick to pin this wrap close ! Avocado is a good substitute for sour cream because of its creamy texture.

Home Cooked One Dish Meals with Fresh Herbs


Step 2 – Power Layering made the difference !

Sour cream + Cheddar will melt giving the moist to our dry mixture. Top with spring onion. Guacamole or hummus is another favorite addition.

Grow Harvest Fresh Herbs indoor

Cheddar , Sour Cream , Spring Onion

Wrapped this up and baked in a preheat oven for 10 minutes. We know its ready when the burrito is slightly brown on the edges and we also should smell the cheesy sour cream as it melt into the warm filling.

This is why my daughter very rarely dine out with her friends. She rather bring everyone back to eat at home!


Grow Harvest Fresh Herbs indoor




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


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.

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

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

Powerhouse Golden Purslane

Although Purslane is considered a weed in many countries, it nonetheless packed a powerhouse of nutrients for salads lovers. The health benefits include high omega 3 fatty acids (helps lower cholesterol) , natural antioxidants,  Vitamin A, B, C, iron, magnesium, calcium and potassium.

Native to Asia, purslane is now enjoyed widely for its nutrition and thick, crunchy leaves texture.

We sowed the cultivated edible purslane known as Golden Purslane on July 7, using strawberries’ method, and first sprouts were spotted 4 days later, on July 11. Similar to strawberries, these seeds need light to germinate, thus sowed on surface yield speedy germination success.

The seedlings had red stems when they germinated but the color will be more yellowish green as they matured.

Golden Purslane Plant Care

3 to 4 days to germinate

Golden Purslane Plant Care

Vivid red stems

Golden Purslane Plant Care

Seed leaves appeared

The vivid red stems dimmed when seeds leaves appeared.

Edible Purslane from seeds

4 days after germination

Grow edible succulent from seeds

2018 July 30

Grow edible succulent

2018 August 04

Grow edible succulent from seeds

2018 August 13

Golden Purslane is a cultivated variety with upright green stem instead of red.

Grow edible succulent from seeds

2018 Aug 13

Golden Purslane Plant Care

2018 September 18

Edible succulent from seeds

2018 October 4

Leaves are thick and slightly crunchy. There is a hint of lemon and the taste is not over powering. In salads, these are easily blend in with other flavors and eaten more for their benefits and texture than taste.

Edible succulent purslane

2018 Aug 25

Golden Purslane Plant care

Leaves and Flowers Formation

Edible succulent from seeds

2018 October 4

Golden Purslane Plant Care

New Leaves and flowers at base of plant

Cultivated Purslane’s yellow flowers are observed to open when there is strong sun and closed again when it is dimmer.

Grow edible succulent from seeds

Yellow Flower

Edible succulent from seeds

2018 August 27

Seeds are available in SHOP !

Interesting Notes on Golden Purslane –

  • Leaves, Stems and Flowers are edible
  • Flowers are typically yellow, 5 petaled, and opened in sunlight
  • Stems can be rooted
  • Sometimes replaced  for spinach
  • Higher beta-carotene than spinach
  • Annual
  • Succulent, prefers drier soil and sun
  • Can be invasive nature, grow like weeds, self sowing seeds


We love growing and harvesting our own vegetables at home. Nothing quite beat the taste and texture of our own plants. It is also immensely gratifying to see the whole journey from seeds to cutting the leaves for a meal and to be able to harvest again each week from the same plant.


We try amaranth in hydro and soil.

In our opinion, amaranth taste better if soil grown.

This leafy vegetable is a cut and grow plant and can be harvested within a month. There are a few varieties of edible amaranth (Yin Tsai, Chinese Spinach) , examples are red, green or mixed amaranth.

The seeds germinated in 2 days like this. It is important to keep the seeds constantly moist.

Amaranth from seeds

Red Amaranth

HYDRO Seedlings –

Amaranth from seeds

1 week old amaranth

Grow amaranth for salads

Red Amaranth

SOIL based Amaranth

Amaranth from seeds

Amaranth in soil

Amaranth from seeds

Green Amaranth

The texture is silky when lightly braised in soup or quick stir fry. Extremely suitable for young children.

Amaranth from seeds

Mixed Amaranth 

Amaranth from seeds

Fresh and LUSH Harvest


Grow camomile from seeds

Overnight germination

Grow camomile from seeds

1 month old

Exploring more interesting fresh salad options! Camomile leaves are crunchy and taste like the tea of the same namesake! Mixed with spicier arugula, it certainly add texture and kicked up quite an interesting mix.

Grow camomile from seeds

Taste like Tea, mix with arugula


KALE – More Information Link

Grow Kale from seeds

Kale seeds

Kale seeds also germinated in 2 days. A cut and grow plant that can be harvested in 2 to 3 months depending on each individual’s preference.

Grow Kale from seeds

2 weeks old Kale

Our family loves the younger (smaller), sweeter tasting leaves that are usually not sold in supermarkets, as we consume them raw. The younger leaves are juicer and less fiberous.


Kale benefits

2 months old kale


Kale Care and Health Benefits

7 – 10 days regrow

Kale benefits

Fresh kale salads



Is also known as climbing or Ceylon spinach but this is not actually a spinach. It belonged to the Basellaceae family and the thick leaves resembled spinach. Eaten raw, every single bite is juicy and crunchy.

Malabar Spinach

3 days to 1 week to see germination

Grow Malabar Spinach from seeds

3 weeks old

Fresh seeds harvested from plants are easier to germinate than store bought dry seeds. The latter need to be stratified by applying a nail file, knife or sand paper on seeds’ surface before sowing. It preferred hot direct brutal sun but can also be grown in part shade. In mature plants, the thick stem can be propagated in water or direct sowed in soil and roots will regrow.

Grow Malabar Spinach from seeds

Thick Stems

This plant is a climber or creeper in cooler climate and need support. To harvest, we cut only the leaves and they regrow in a week.

Grow Malabar Spinach from seeds

Thick Juicy Leaves

Not sure if our string trellis would work, will update soon.

Grow Malabar Spinach from seeds

2 months old

This plant can be propagated from cutting. We will be growing some of these in hydro to maximize space on the hanging gardens.

Malabar Spinach from Cutting

June 19 – Rooted in 10 days

Two plants per family is often enough for a reliable source of vegetables harvest every week. Avoid drying out the soil as this will cause flowering which resulted in bitter tasting leaves.

Malabar Spinach from seeds

2018 May 28



Despite its size, this vegetable is a power house of nutrients (vitamins B1, B2, B6, C, E, manganese, carotene) and is recommended to eat them raw in mixed salads or juice.

Water Cress from seeds

2018 April 27 – 2 days germination

Will be consuming as microgreens in mixed salads.

Grow water cress from seeds

2 weeks old

Grow watercress from seeds

2018 May 29

Hydro Vegetables from seeds at home

Watercress & More


Edible Succulent – Golden Purslane

Edible succulent golden purslane

High omega 3 Fatty Acids + Lemony Crunch


Sugar Loaf (Italian name – Pan di Zucchero)

Cold seasoned salads

Sugar Loaf Escarole

Swiss Chard 

Cold seasoned salads from seeds

Red Swiss Chard


We grew vegetables on our windows to  harness natural resources such as wind and sun. Our “pots” are constantly in motion, creating ripples in their individual reservoir, giving roots zone more aeration naturally.


This hanging garden also allowed soil and hydro based plants to grow together and we DIY these pots’ hangers from PET bottles.

Creative PET bottles garden containers

Hanging Vegetables Gardens

SALADS & HERBS WORKSHOP is available for private 1 : 1, small private group or schools setting. Learn how to grow from seeds in both soil and hydro, the plus & minus of both mediums and embark on this wonderful journey of growing & harvesting fresh whole food.

Growing Vegetables Workshops in Singapore


Growing Vegetables Workshops

Seedlings in Recyclables!

Fresh harvest from our gardens everyday !

Grow Vegetables from seeds in containers

Home Grown Wellness

Vertical Container Gardens

Our indoor gardens are often challenged by limited space and sun but it is still pleasant to live surrounded by plants we love.

Since 2015 to accommodate our expanding strawberry garden, we grew vertically on our windows as well as horizontally on tables by the windows. We made pots out of recycled PET (  polyethylene terephthalate ) bottles to hang.

There are several reasons why we love these plastic bottles –

  1. Weight – Lightest among any other pots
  2. Free of charge and yet harmful to our environment if we just throw. Go Recycle!
  3. Cut-able – can be customized for individual plants’ needs
  4. Versatile – suitable for soil based or Kratky Hydroponic


Indoor container strawberries garden

Soil Based – Bottom side for plant

Soil based needs a narrow dripping point, as we do not want water to splash on our floors whenever we irrigate our hanging gardens. Thus we used cap side for drip off and wider end at the bottom for plants.

Container indoor hanging gardens

SOIL Based – Dripping end

Indoor container strawberries gardens

Soil based strawberries


Container Herbs Garden

Strings at cap side

This is how we turned ordinary plastic bottles into hydro or soil based hanging gardens.

Step 1 – Cut holes to string ropes through for hanging

Kratky Hydroponic –  Cut 2 holes at opposite side of the bottle near the cap. We chose the wider end for inserting hydroponic bottles.

How to built hanging gardens

HYDRO – Holes for string

Soil based – Cut holes at bottom end of hanging pot for strings.

PET bottles container hanging gardens

SOIL Based – Strings

Step 2 – Knots at each hole to prevent wear and tear by rubbing, also keep bottle steady in the wind. Top knot (not shown) for hook to latch.

How to built hanging gardens

Step 2 – Knots on sides and top

Step 3 – Cut hole (s)  to insert hydroponic pot or plants (soil based)

For Kratky bottles (non circulating hydroponic) – Measure against hanging pot to estimate the size of opening to cut. I preferred to cut smaller and then widen when the plant is inside hanging bottle.

How to built hanging gardens

Step 4 – Estimate height of hole

How to built a hanging vertical garden

Hydroponic plant and nutrient feed

Soiled based – Cut size of hole as desired to plant

How to grow in vertical hanging container

Sweet basil in hanging soil pot

Step 4

Hydroponic – Cut holes at the bottom of hanging pot to drain rainwater if outdoor (prevent mosquitoes breeding)

How to built hanging gardens

Cut Drainage holes

Soil based – Net or cap over with holes for drainage

Vertical cheap container gardens

Net over

How to built vertical vegetables container gardens

Cut drainage holes on cap


Wear Socks! – To shield liquid base or roots end from light (heat) to prevent unsightly algae.

How to built vertical vegetables container gardens

Recycle old socks

How to built hanging gardens

Colored bottles shield roots

Hydro pots are lighter than soil based pots

How to built vertical vegetables container gardens

Hydro kale

How to built vertical vegetables container gardens

Rosemary in liquid base

In late September 2018, these PET bottles pots became “fashion” accessories after the S-hooks ZehZeh’s craze in Singapore! Just for laughs –

S hook ZehZeh

Gardeners also can hook !

The best thing about this no-tech vertical garden, beside being cheap to maintain and built, is that it allow both soil based and hydroponic to grow together.

Creative PET Bottles Recycling IDEAS


Happy Green gardening by re-using PET bottles! 🙂

WORKSHOPS available – How to start vertical vegetables container gardens in hydro and soil (for beginners), from seeds and cuttings.

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