Sunday, December 6, 2015

Gardening has been a nightmare

The past few months have been a nightmare for my garden. Firstly there was the haze, which stretched three months from Sep to Nov, then the welcomed monsoon season, which wrecked the community garden yesterday.

Luckily Mutter and I have the L-shaped drain which the rest of the gardeners filled in. So after the rain stopped, the water drained away quickly for our plot at least. I think it is time to discuss with Mutter how to further reinforce the border beside the drain. Initially we grew portulaca, but that unfortunately died from the combined effects of haze plus monsoon rain.

The only plus side of yesterday's rain was all the snails on my plot drowned. They have been a major pain since the rain started, eating and climbing my stakes to get at my malabar spinach.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Jicama 沙葛 harvest

Ever since our move to our new location in the community garden, I planted these jicama seeds for nearly 8 months! 

 I kept hesitating to harvest them because I was worried that there would be nothing edible to collect therefore the long wait. By the way for jicama, only the root is edible, everything else is inedible, even the seeds and leaves. Which meant the plant was a pain to get rid of by the time it came to harvest. 

So I harvested one for myself, left one for my mother (she was very fortunate to find two buried in the same vein), and gave the rest to the old folks to the garden, who split each jicama into two because they were very big.

Mutter weighed the bigger jicama she got and it was at least 2 kg, she said.

Well, the plant was useful on sunny days where it provided shade. But other than that, it might be too much effort to grow. Now that I had relative success, the old people wanted to attempt as well, taking the seed pods off me. Well, they are welcome to them as I won't be growing them for the next three months with the monsoon season coming.

How tall the plant was:

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Aloe Vera

Seriously, if anyone wants aloe vera, come get from me. I have aloe veras coming out of my ears, and that is even after I haven't watered them for months. Damn things.

When I saw people selling aloe veras at the pasar malam (night market), I was like, don't waste your S$7, I can give you...

[Backdated Post] Birthday Present from English Bloke

Like I was saying on Instagram, English Bloke included this cute sign and solar lights in my birthday parcel this year. They are really pretty when the lights at the community garden go out at 10pm but the metallic parts have sadly turned rusty from being hit by the rain. Nonetheless they serve their purpose, and with the recent blow-out of the overhead lights, they + some stand-alone solar lights from Daiso offered a comforting glow when I had to water my plants with the aid of my phone's torch light. 

In fact it has now become my most recent obsession to get even more solar lights to make the garden all glowy and pretty at night :))) I am also replacing the National Day flags with ordinary flags to up my garden's aesthetic.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

The (NSFW) Anatomically Correct Cactus: The Dick Pic

Our collective jaws touched the ground when we saw this weird ass cactus at Flower Dome (Gardens by the Bay)!!! We had to queue behind a tourist who.... snapped his hand hovering near the cactus as if simulating a HJ. When he turned his head and realized that we were right behind him, he laughed embarrassed as if we all shared a secret joke. Ewww.

Bobo said drily, " if we gave a shit that he is gay."

After capturing this naughty cactus with my phone.... I was infected with an equally naughty idea.

I whatsapped Miss Bear if she ever received a dick pic from anyone.

She replied, "of course not!"

Naturally it was an invitation for me to send this to her. LOL. So I did.

Monday, August 17, 2015

This week in Instagram 1: Long Beans

I realized I made a mistake while planting long beans when the plant started sprouting long windy vines.

"Oh crap," I told my mother. "I planted the wrong variety of long beans (that I bought the seeds from Ban Lee Huat and planted once before with 0 success)."

I told her that I wanted to yank out the plants but she said it would be a waste of life. So I thought about about it, and we did the cornrow (sp?) method using some canes I bought at World Farm. This time I also made sure to snip as many leaves as I could to ensure air circulation and prevent fungal diseases. I find that long bean plants are very susceptible to fungal diseases, aren't they?

So anyway after all that snipping, I still encountered fungal disease, due to my watering the plants only late at night when I come home and also, I have a bad habit of hosing plants like I am washing a car instead of pointing the hose to the ground and avoiding the foliage. Despite that, I finally managed to harvest some long beans, and I find the taste of the reddish brown long beans much more palatable than the green long beans. Anyway with all that snipping, I cannot help but feel that long beans are very high maintenance, as compared to eggplant.

I notice of course, the old lady, Auntie M, leaves her fungi-infected leaves alone and was still able to correct decent amount of beans. Then again, with the amount of fertilizer she dumped in (I did not fertilize my beans as much)...
A photo posted by Gardening Duckie (@meinkleingarten) on

Monday, August 3, 2015

My plot at the community garden

Three months in, this is my little garden. I am now experimenting with a PVC pipe to make a vertical planter of sorts. Because we all remain land greedy. Just ask the older folks, who have cannibalized some of the remaining plots. For this planting cycle, we are growing kangkong, spinach, a little 小白菜 , jicama (still growing from the previous cycle), eggplant, okra (suffering from some form of fungi), cucumber, bittergourds and longbeans. + some herbs.
A photo posted by Gardening Duckie (@meinkleingarten) on

Friday, July 10, 2015

Harvesting and Preserving Basil

Before I was allocated my little corner spot, I had two little rows where I grew two kinds of basil (and corn, to maximize the tiny land space). One was Thai Basil, which my mutter brought from her allotment at Bah Soon Pah, and the other was Sweet Basil, which I regrew from the harvest-ready version I got from Jasons supermarket @ Ion.

Since we were all forced to uproot our plants for the reallocation of plots, I had to either harvest my plants or kill them while transplanting them. I had to admit that I didn't really take very good care of my basil plants, therefore the ugly ass stems, them poor things.

So I harvested most of the leaves to dry and took stem cuttings for transplants instead.

I researched online on how to do the preservation. I chose 2 methods, the dry naturally method and the dry by microwave method.

Btw when you do either method, after washing the stems, you have to make sure that the leaves are laid out to dry properly. I am not sure why but the sweet basil always develop really hideous black markings if they are not dried well.

I cut the basil by stems for easy collection, chucking those that were damaged by insects (like I said, I didn't really take good care, and I was into "organic gardening", i.e. no pesticides). I washed them as carefully as I could before tying bunches up for natural drying. Natural drying in my case means hanging them up by bunches on the washing line *lol*.

As for the leaves that came off some of the stems/ the larger leaves, after laying them out on paper towels for drying, I switched on the convection function in my microwave oven to a temp of 100 deg C, and dried them until they looked like this:
Then I tossed them in my good old IKEA mixing bowl and crushed them into little flakes. Note here: later I read somewhere that it was better to not crush them because I'd lose the good oils in the leaves. Ah well.
Final state

Friday, June 26, 2015

Ban Lee Huat Seed has moved!

Today I was in Chinatown area with Mr B to claim the freebies on my loyalty card when I remembered that Ban Lee Huat is nearby.
Ban Lee Huat is a seed wholesaler who sells loads of seeds at S$2 a small bag. (They do sell in bigger volumes of course, but Grumpy uncle always advises me to just buy a little bit and not let the seed spoil.) Very useful for community gardeners who are tired of buying those horribly stingy sachets of seeds from the supermarket.
However I was horribly disappointed to find a hollow shell where the seed cupboard used to be. Mr B was sure that I was mistaken and told me to walk on along the five foot way before he too realized that I was right. That they had closed down or retired (which is believable, because all the uncles inside the shop were pretty old).
"No no, they didn't close down," reassured the Auntie from the medical shop who was kind enough to come out of her shop to assuage our frazzled nerves. "They moved to Ang Mo Kio."
Really?  Running back to the empty shop front,  I looked up to see that a tiny brochure stuck near the ceiling of the shophouse. Thank you Kind Medical Shop Auntie!
But why the %*@- did the uncles move to freaking industrial park. Argh. Mr B said it was within walking distance from Yio chu kang. Walking distance my foot... well at least they didn't retire. All the uncles look like they were going to play chess and drink the chinese tea that they import from China whenever I visit them.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Lady's fingers (okra)

Uncle C gave me two okra seedlings from the ones he raised using the Architect's seeds. We had all coveted seedlings from her okra plants, because they were the desirable "Japanese" variety and has a more pleasant, delicate bite than the tougher, equally mucilaginous local variety.

They have finally gone into fruiting (mine are actually slower than Uncle C's by a few weeks, and a lot shorter and stumpier, since I am not as generous with the chicken poop as the older folks are), and are producing at least 1 edible finger a day, much to my delight.

Bobo was commenting that by the end of this week, we will have enough for a meal (collected 4 fat fingers so far). So I have been generous with my fertilizer in the hopes of encouraging its fertility.
Also, I found out that the okra behaves like an perennial plant in the tropics where I am, and once it reaches 6 feet in height, I should cut it down to the lower leaves so that it will continue to regrow. Lovely news isn't that?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Torenia reseeded

I was trying to propagate roses when I discovered something else growing in the pot. Upon showing Mr Bear, he recognized it immediately and declared it "Torenia!"

I was surprised because (1) it was not 1 of the pots that I used for growing/layering/transplanting Torenia (2) I didn't expect it to reseed (3) my Torenia died like months ago (the layered transplant I 
gave Mutter was drowned by our enthusiastic helper and the one I gave Mr Bär somersaulted itself onto his balcony floor without success on a windy night).

Luckily I didn't tear it out thinking it was a weed. I transplanted it to another pot so that it would not crowd out my precious rose transplant. Ironically it is growing very well in its new pot now (almost died from the heat in the community garden, so I brought it home and resuscitated it with morning sun and loads of water), whereas my rose plant has kicked its bucket.

I was going to reuse the pot where the rose has died to transplant another rose where I notice a baby seedling popping up through the pot. It looks suspiciously like torenia!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Allotment @ CC garden (week 0)

Mutter and I have been allocated a piece of land at the CC garden (henceforth referred to as the "allotment"), just like the other pairs.

I have come up with numerous ideas for how we would split the allotment. For example, I first thought of splitting the land into 4 raised beds, 1 for corn, 1 for tomatoes, 1 for leafy greens, 1 for turnip.

The Architect persisted in growing her silk gourd on the racks so we couldn't till the entire piece of land until Feb. So on the two tiny pieces of land (Plot A and B) we tilled so far, I transplanted my tomatoes from home on the left. Mutter asked me where should the corn from our earlier growing go?

I said, beside (meaning on the other piece of land), but she ended up transplanting the corn plants next to the tomatoes on Plot A. Sacre Bleu! Lesson #1: Corn and tomatoes should not be grown together because of the tomato fruit worm/ corn ear worm (same stupid worm).

Also, I am pretty amazed at the corn plants' survival rate, so far the various batches have survived being transplanted 3-4 times in various phases of growing (though I have my doubts on the quality of fruit). We are regrowing corn again. 

I read up on companion growing, and read that basil (which I have grown pretty well during the previous growing season) is an excellent companion for tomatoes, so I have transplanted some babies onto plot A next to the tomatoes. Also, I have sown marigold seeds as well as transplanted some portulaca at the slope to attract bees and butterflies. Lesson #2: should have sown the marigold earlier, by the time, my tomatoes are harvested, my marigold will still be tiny babies. Guess they will have to catch my next set of tomato plants (probably cherry tomatoes this time).

For the corn, I am growing cucumbers (left over seed from years ago) to climb on the corn. I have been told that it is not a good idea as my corn will likely be harvested long before my cucumbers flower. Well, if that happens, then I will just have to leave the old corn stalks there/ replace them with bamboo poles. 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Fick me hard van achten - Ladybird style

This phrase was taught to me by a Dutch player on CoH (he thought I was a dude anyway) when he was describing how he taught his Filipino girlfriend how to speak Dutch during sex. Lol.

Anyway, stop ****ing ladybirds, and get to munching those horrible aphids on my corn. Thanks very much!

Monday, February 16, 2015


We were walking through a pre-war housing estate when we passed by a man pruning his bougainvillea hard. Since MU and CU have spent the entire gardening budget on soil (sigh), I have to exercise a thicker skin and ask for cuttings wherever I can. So far, I have transplanted 3 pots of portulaca (with different colors), a few rose cuttings, some blue daze, mint, 2 lemon balm plants and 2 yellow irises. Most of these are from my own garden.

I personally don't like bougainvillea, as I found it dreadfully common in Singapore growing up. You could always see it lining both sides of the bridges in the past. Nowadays they are less common after National Parks became more creative with their planting. 

The man's bougainvillea was so tall, that it was a tree already. I asked him why was he pruning away all those pretty flowers. He was quite nice, and explained that actually the red flowers are not actually the flower, they are leaves, the flowers are actually the tiny white flower inside the red cluster of leaves. Also, he had to prune as his family would be away for Chinese New Year and if the tree collapses from ill health or lightning strike and hit someone, he could be sued in court.

So I asked him for a cutting and he gave me a super thick stem, saying that I should soak it for roots. MU and CU have a couple of bougainvillea but no flowers. The man said that we shouldn't water it so often. Once a week is enough. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Of Mice and Men

I was alone at the community garden downstairs, trying to transplant more flowers to make a pretty border along the fence, when I discovered I wasn't alone. A giant ass rat (the size of a kitten) darted around the confines of the fenced garden, just as I was about to retrieve a spade for my purpose.

I wasn't quite sure who was more traumatized, me or the rat. Especially since he also ran across my plot of water convulvus. In my fevered excitement, I sent a message exclaiming the fact to Malay Uncle (MU), honcho of our little garden.

Last Saturday, I popped in the garden (after eating Haagan Daaz while watching a mortifying "Super Size versus Super Skinny") to find MU talking to the uncle living at my block. MU said "don't look down, there is a dead rat next to you."

Of course, I looked. You would, wouldn't you?

It was Mr Rat from some weeks ago. I didn't understand how he could suddenly die, since he could run faster than I could from our encounter some weeks ago.

The town council man showed up to collect the carcass while I continued to dig a trench for my intended herb garden. I was surprised again because usually our building cleaner would do any retrieval of our rubbish. He even took a photo of the carcass before getting down to the nasty business.

It was then I understood that the Town Council had poisoned the rat.

Didn't know what was more shocking.... the fact that I have been an accessory to his murder or he could have been pissing his poisoned rat wee wee all over the garden before he croaked. Suddenly I didn't feel like eating anything from the garden. I discreetly threw away the water convulvus I had harvested....

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

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