Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Planting Your Own Veggies

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder! How true indeed as it is exactly how I'm feeling with regard to my little world of blogging and all my blog friends. To all my friends and readers, here I am, back again after slightly more than a month of hiatus! And I have to say, I have missed blogging as well as visiting all of your blogs and posts!! In fact, I have missed all of you! And yes, it's good to be back. My daily routine for the past 1 month has been interrupted, but all in a wonderful way. First up, I had a couple of different groups of good friends who visited from abroad. Following that, I was away in Singapore and Melaka (my hometown) for a couple of weeks and then last week, I had to make a trip to London as part of a new job which I've recently accepted. Nope, I'm not working in London (how I wish!)...but was just there for a meeting. After breezing through life as a freelancer for the past 2 years, I've decided to 'sell my soul to the devil' - as how my boss had put it while trying to entice me to take up the offer!! What a way to sell! Fearing no evil I asked him whether the devil wears Prada and pays enough for it too! Although he didn't seem to be too amused, I thought, what the heck! So, yes, I have officially gone to the dark side now. What can I say, they have cookies!!! Although I would love to and had the intention of wanting to contact and perhaps meet up with a couple of you who are based in London, I honestly had not much spare time (after my hurricane speed shopping spree, that is!). So, hopefully they'll feed me with more yummy cookies and I'll land there again and with more leisure time!!

So with all that has happened, I have not been cooking nor baking at all. But the good news is, I have been growing...fresh, crunchy edible greens!!! Other than herbs mentioned in my previous post, I also planted veggie seeds...namely 'pak choy' and 'nai pak', which are popular Asian veggies, especially used in Chinese/Oriental cuisine. These veggies come in broad green leaves and crunchy stems and are delicious if you're a veggie-eating sort of person! They're not suitable for salads but delicious when stir-fried with garlic and oyster sauce. Or simply add them into your bowl of noodle soup! While 'pak choy' has a smooth leaf surface, 'nai pak' comes in slightly crinkly leaf form.

Planting my own vegetables seem like a far-reaching dream once, when I was living in high-rise Singapore. Now, I am relishing that dream and it has been such a rewarding effort and note-worthy experience to share. It doesn't matter if you don't have a garden because planting them in pots will work out equally well, if not better because you get to use all fertile soil. So far, I've harvested my veggies twice and there's plenty more supply left in the garden. So having said all this, okay, here are the evidences of my veggie-growing journey and hope you'll be inspired to grow some yourself too.

The clay soil at my backyard is not fertile so I dug up a straight row of holes about half feet deep, removed the clay soil and replaced with black soil which I bought from the local nursery. I watered the area to damp the soil and scattered a handful of organic fertiliser. I watered the area again the next day.

2 days later on April 9, I scattered about 1 teaspoon of seeds of each vegetable type (pak choy & nai pak) on the black soil area
. Due to heavy downpour in the weeks that followed, some seeds got washed away and the rest got buried deeper into the soil, thus they took a much longer time to sprout.

As this was my first time growing my own veggies
, just imagine how truly enveloped I was in sheer joy when the seedlings sprouted and were showing signs of healthy growing, as shown in the pics below which were taken on 5 May.
These baby plants are 1 mth old. They grew rather slow due to the rain as mentioned above. At this stage, I again scattered 2-3 tablespoons of organic fertiliser to boost growth.

Grow veggies, grow! After almost 2 months, my veggies grew to this size as pictured below. You can see here a couple of bunches had missing leaves or leaves that were left with holes, while a couple other bunches were alright. I left them as they were and didn't use any organic pesticide to keep the worms at bay. Also because I had no time and wasn't at home much. I had thought, oh well..if there were no more leaves left, no worries I'll just eat the stems! Life is short, so fret not.

Pic taken 23 May Pic taken 1 June

Surprisingly, bunches of my 'pak choy' (like the pic below) were not attacked by the worms but the 'nai pak' were not spared. I guess the 'nai pak' must have tasted better for the worms. Pic taken 1 June.

Can you spot the unwanted visitor right in the middle spot in the first pic below?
The second pic shows a bunch that was reduced to multiple holes on the 'nai pak' leaves. Pics taken 1 June.

Below was my 1st harvest on 1 June!! Simple things bring great joy! I had two good friends staying over and we harvested a bountiful of these lovely veggies and cooked simple lunch at home! I harvested only a few bunches and let the rest continue to grow.

...And they grew! And grew! Other than a couple of hungry worms, the rest of my edible greens were growing really well. I wasn't home much for most part of last month and some leaves wilted but the rest were still ok. When I came home for a day, I was actually surprised to find that my veggies grew healthier, larger and with more stems and leaves! And surprisingly, with fewer worms and damaged leaves too. Pics taken 22 June.

Below was my 2nd harvest on 22 June. Healthier and larger veggies than my 1st harvest above! Looking at those that are still growing in my backyard, looks like I will be saving some more money and trips to the supermarket for fresh edible greens! Yayyy!

Such veggies grow pretty fast and thus, do remember to fertilize about 2 weeks once, and water at least once a day if you can. Twice a day is best. The only downside is, if harvested after they have fully grown and matured, the stems tend to taste a bit bitter and fibrous. But I can live with that.

More and more grew, seem like an endless supply. This pic was taken just yesterday.

So, are you inspired to plant your own veggies now? If you are, here's a list from my own experience with regard to why you should just do it!

1. It's a really fun learning experience
2. You get to discover your green fingers
3. Some types of veggies are easy to grow, almost fail proof and they'll boost your confidence
4. Healthier choice as you get pesticide-free veggies whenever you want, fresh from your garden
5. Saves space in your refrigerator as they are 'stored' in your garden and you harvest only when you need them
6. Saves you money as seeds are cheaper
7. Saves you multiple trips to the supermarket
8. Makes you feel accomplished and happy
9. You get to inspire others to plant
10. And finally, you get to show off your veggies on your blog ;)

I shall be visiting all of you again real soon!



  1. hey nyonya..welcome back!!lol!!! Glad to see your veggie are brave, I started the my garden with the easiest one - potato leaf...hahaha, did't really take care of them, just watered it and they grew to big pile..hahaha..! I don't get any veggie planted this year because I knew that I had to be away for a while. I am also busy on looking for a house, will talk to you more when I got the chance to write you email! Take care!

  2. Long time no see!
    Home grown veggies are better and fresher!

  3. Hello! Welcome back! Congratulations to your new job. Don't worry about selling you soul to the devil. You are just nourishing your soul with resources which you would not have before...:) Hope to see your vegetable dish feature done with vegetables in your garden!

  4. Wow, that's amazing! You know, I tried to plant some herbs in pots, but in the end they all die, sigh....

  5. Congrates on your new job! Your veggies are making you proud too. Time for good stir fries of home grown veggies.

  6. Seems like someone is really into gardening nowadays eh...I applaud your effort. I told my parents they could try gardening as a hobby when they retire and are older and they say no one will take up gardening as a hobby in such weather in Malaysia...Must show them your blog, proof them wrong!!!

  7. Welcome back, little "farmer-ress". Really happy to see your veggies doing well! Keep it coming!

  8. The feeling of harvesting your own homegrown veggies is out of this world. Welcome back!

  9. Haha! Joslynn, welcome back! You'd been MIA'ing for too long! Haha! Great to hear you landed on a "cookie-paying" job ... Man, that'd be the tastiest job one could ever ask for! Haha! I love how your boss put it, "Sell your soul to the devil ..." Come to think of it, I've been doing it for like over 6 months! Time sure flies ... Today has been one of those shittiest days ... at least for me. *Sigh*

    Oh, I actually feel happy looking at plants. Greens. What's best with yours is ... you can eat them up! Haha! I'll definitely grow some edible ones in the near future because I wanna use them in my own cooking and baking! Thanks for inspiring me!

  10. hi Wendy, yes, yes, i too look forward to catching up with u over email!

    hi Angie, yes, long time no see ;)

    hi Shirley, i like the way u put it...nourishing my soul with 'resources' :)

    hi Little Inbox, try again don't give up if u like planting. actually some of my other plants died too.

    hi Keats, thank u and yes, i'm happy my veggies grew well :)

    hi Quinn, you're right, normally only retired folks will go into gardening. i'm such an old soul inside! yr parents can garden in the evening when the sun has set or early morning!

    kitchen flavours, got extra veggies i will bring over!

    hi busygran, thanks and yes, great feeling to be harvesting our own veggies.

    hi Pei-Lin, hope the 'devil' will not prevail! i can imagine how dreadful work will be if the devil appears! well, once u get yr experience, u will be marketable elsewhere, so hang on there k. now that you're inspired, do start simple gardening to de-stress from your day job. it's therapeutic!

  11. Missed you daaaahling!
    You've done a beautiful job with your veggies. I love the idea of growing my own, and I've tried, but I wasn't to successful.
    *kisses* HH

  12. Good to have you back! ;D Wow, indeed you have fulfill your dream of growing your vegetables! Envy!! You know my poor basil just died on me after struggling over a few weeks. :( O well...I just watch yours grow...I'm happy. ;) Hope after you take up that new job you will still spare some time to bake and blog yah? Looking forward to hear from you again. Take care!

  13. Congratulatios on your new job. I am sure you are going to enjoy it to the fullest. Homegrown vegetables are much better. I wish I have a piece of land to plant mine but I still do it in containers. Nothing much but some herbs that I used daily.

  14. Congrats on your new job. Nothing can beat the homegrown vegetables, you should plant more and more..

  15. I love planting my home grow veggies too! It was fun watching the fruiting process and then eat them. haha... Btw, sometimes it's good to have a change in your working environment. I was so sick for the past few days and still is! & yet still blogging! hahaha.... Hope you're having a fabulous time.
    Cheers, Kristy

  16. Would really want to plant my own veggies one day.

  17. It is great to plant your own veggies!! So much pride when you see them growing right? Congrats on the new job!

  18. Hi, thanks dear for your lovely comment on Rava idly. You can use plain yogurt its perfect for making rava idlis:)

    And kudos to u for planting ur own veggies dear!!!

  19. Thanks for sharing. In gardening, there will be ups & there will be downs. It is constantly a learning process.

    My lettuce didn't grow well but my home grown red chilli peppers, my yellow bell peppers & my yellow tomatoes are growing excellent!

    Kisses from Brussels!

  20. Hi Petite, I love gardening too! How I wish have green fingers like you. But I can only plant flowers and plain leaves like curry leaves, pandan...but not vegetables...
    Anyway thanks for dropping by and I just saw your comment but cannot be published because I have changed the comment window to IntenseDebate comment. Do drop by when you've got the time.
    Take care :)

  21. Welcome back, love seeing your bountiful garden :)

  22. Welcome back....planting your own veggies is so much the pictures of your garden :-)

  23. I have a few herbs in my deck .. but that's it .. a kitchen garden takes a lot of time and patience! I admire you!

  24. seems you disappear again???
    Congratulation for the new job. :)
    How i wish to have a garden like yours :( i brought a lot of Asian seeds to Italy, but it seems not very adaptable, the hot period is too short for them to grow completely :( Anyway, at least i can have some Asian basil for my Phở :D

  25. now you've discovered another gift of fingers! woo hoo..