PERILLA or SHISO FROM SEEDS

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

Hydro SHISO

SEEDS ARE AVAILABLE IN SHOP 

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.

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GROW SAGE FROM CUTTING

Growing Sage from cutting is easier than germinating the seeds.

How to propagate sage from cutting

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

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

Grow Sage from cuttings in Singapore

2018 September 28

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

For this Sage, roots showed in 6 days.

Once the roots showed, it grew rapidly.

Grow Sage from cutting in Singapore

2018 October 4 – Roots

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

Grow Harvest Fresh herbs indoor

2018 November 3

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

Grow Harvest Fresh Herbs indoor

2018 November 15

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

Grow Harvest Fresh Herbs indoors

2018 November 23

Colorful Lettuce

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

This is how to germinate them easily.

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

Seeds in moist medium

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

Grow different varieties lettuce from seeds in Singapore

2018 Sept 17

Grow different varieties lettuce from seeds in Singapore

2018 September 19

Grow red or colorful salads from seeds

One week old

A hint of its colorful hues at first month old.

Grow different varieties lettuce from seeds in Singapore

2018 October 16

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

Grow different varieties lettuce from seeds in Singapore

2018 November 3

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

Grow different varieties lettuce from seeds in Singapore

2018 November 8

Taste and texture of these leaves are “lettuce” .

Grow different varieties lettuce from seeds in Singapore

2018 November 8

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)

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

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

SOIL BASED Bottles

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

HYDRO HANGERS

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

HYDRO & SOIL

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.