Monday, May 6, 2013

Hey Gardening Noob 1 - [自给自足 种植法] How to grow herbs

Hey Gardening Noob - Reading Chinese Horiculture Books

I am reading horiculture books voriciously, specifically those on edible container gardens. While I am expending into perenial flowers in the L-shape nowadays (for a bit of color), my preference is still vegetables and fruits.

I started borrowing horiculture books in Chinese last Monday, having exhausted the usual English ones. I liked the DK series. But I get a bit of the green eye when I read about the gardens in temperate countries, because I live in the supposedly zone 10-11 (USDA), and I don't have a lovely garden that gets lots of sun. Instead I get a long corridor which gets the morning sun at an angle and a bit of balcony, which gets the afternoon sun at an even worse angle.

Most of these Chinese books are translated from Japanese. So far the one I am reading <<自给自足 种植法>> which teaches how to cook with ingredients from your edible container garden. It describes how to water your seeds and seedlings (which I have come to recognise as very important, after killing massive numbers of tomato seedlings).

Before sowing:
Before sowing your seeds and seedlings, you must water the soil. The seeds will form little hairs (?), which require moisture to grow. After sowing, you should water gently to prevent seeds from being washed off. Thereafter water once only after germination. This is the same for seedlings, as they grow better with moisture.

Watering the entire container of soil:
Herb and vegetable roots not only absorb moisture, but oxygen at the same time. So if you water a little every day, wetting only the soil surface, but the rest of the soil is hardened, the root system cannot absorb oxygen (did not know that). So when the soil appears dry, you should water enough so that the water wil drain from the bottom of the container. The soil under the surface should be wetter so when you water the plant, the older air and water can be passed out and the root system can absorb new oxygen.

You should not water the leaves, but all the soil around the roots.

Friday, May 3, 2013


I think the limes are getting a bit heavy, with the strong winds blowing through the corridor, the crazy shaking of the branches are causing the leaves to drop. On top of that there was the stupid birds that like to steal the leaves for their nests. That's why I have to secure the plants with double layer netting. The first netting had holes too big so the birds still tore bits out of the leaves with their beaks. So I had to apply a smaller netting.

I harvested 3 times this week (I harvested a few more several weeks ago). So far only 1 baby lime is still growing, which is quite disappointing. Well, at least this means that the plant is still healthy.  Bobo advises me to grow the seeds from this crop and grow new lime plants.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Emergence of Edamame pods

I love to eat edamame so when Mutters friend grew them in their garten, I asked for some pods to start them off in my own garden.

I was given a few pods which I ate up... and had to ask for two more. As instructed, I sunned them really hard, before growing them. Only two succeeded, tiny twisty twiney things that climbed up my balcony and pole (in the L-shape).  One died later, after I forgot to water for days. That was very regrettable, because it started having flowers already, so it actually needed more water. I was set back for quite a while, because the one outside the apartment did not get as much sunlight so took a much longer time to climb and grow. 

And for a while, Mutter and I were debating over whether the pods were actually edamame or another plant which blue flowers were used for coloring in Peranakan cakes. Thankfully I was proven right, because finally the other plant started sprouting tiny pretty purple flowers.

Then I became worried and wondered if I needed to pollinate the damn things.

I am pleased to announce... I don't have to. This week I was very excited to discover that the edamame pods have finally started growing.
Now it's a question of when they become big enough to be harvested. I shall try very hard to restrain myself from eating them. Instead, I will use this harvest for seeds. Too bad edamame is an annual plant. Sigh. I think I will have to wait like bloody months again... before I can get a bumper crop from my new growth.
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Because Gardening makes me wanna Dance! Thanx for visiting!!!

Because Gardening makes me wanna Dance! Thanx for visiting!!!