Tuesday 25 July 2017

Our HDB Garden (2): Sustainable Source of Vegetables

We have always wanted to grow our own organic vegetables to eat and now that we have our own urban garden in our balcony, we finally can!

We grew our vegetables from seeds we bought at Far East Flora as well as Aeon and Tesco in Malaysia.

Before we share with you our experiences growing the different vegetables in our garden, here are some things you need to know that applies to all our vegetables:

  • Ensure that your plants either get enough sunlight to make food or get enough food from fertilisers
  • Watch out that you don't wet the leaves when watering. Otherwise, the leaves will rot.
  • Do NOT over water the plants. If you're unsure, dig your finger into the soil to test if it's dry or damp.
  • Spray insecticide but use it sparingly
  • When harvesting, cut only the outer leaves. Keep the ones in the middle as vegetables usually grow new leaves from the middle. This way your plant can keep growing and generating an endless supply of vegetables for you =)
Now that you've got the basics, here we go!

10 Types of Vegetables We Grow at #BCMadGarden

[1] Curly Dwarf Pak Choy

Covering the seeds with a plastic wrap helps it germinate faster
Baby Curly Dwarf Pak Choy
Little seedlings growing in a row
Curly Dwarf Pak Choy maturing into full grown vegetables

Cut them when they are about a palm size otherwise they might grow too big and wither (or get attacked by insects). They are called dwarfs for a reason =)

[2] Dwarf Pak Choy
*Recommended for beginners

This is basically the cousin of the Curly Dwarf Pak Choy, except that the leaves do not curl up
With enough sunlight, it's pretty easy to grow!
We recently harvested our Dwarf Pak Choy for our mini hot pot. So delicious!!!

We've harvested our Dwarf Pak Choy more than once and they're still growing. My personal favourite =)

[3] Broccoli

Our pot of Broccoli is growing slowly but happily

We've yet to harvest our broccoli but it is growing healthily. Slow and steady wins the race I suppose =)

[4] Cabbage

Tiny cabbage seedling
Our grown up cabbage!

Cabbage requires a lot of space to grow so one pot typically can only hold one plant. They also need time to grow into the cabbage that we see in the supermarkets so be patient!

[5] Califlower

Our califlower

Like the cabbage, califlower also requires space to grow, though less space than the cabbage. We've not had any luck harvesting yet, mainly because we did not place it at a prominent spot with more sunlight. It's not doing too badly though.

[6] Choy Sum / Cai Xin

Our HK Choy Sum
Cai Xin

For some reason our choy sum / cai xin don't seem to grow bigger than the palm of my hand before wilting. Not sure if it is because we put it in a spot with not a lot of sunlight. If you're growing vegetables for the first time, I suggest not choosing this as your first plant.

I've since moved our Cai Xin to a better spot so hopefully that would help.

[7] Long Leaf Amaranth

Seedlings of our Long Leaf Amaranth
Full grown Long Leaf Amaranth

The seeds of the Long Leaf Amaranth germinate very easily but it's not easy for them to grow into a full plant. It took us quite a while before it grew to become a full plant and to be honest, we nearly gave up on them.

Sadly, they were later attacked by insects and were wiped out except for one sole survivor that I managed to save by spraying insecticide regularly. It's now growing again, hopefully with no more attacks!

[8] Chinese Kale
*Recommended for beginners

Our baby Chinese Kale
Chinese Kale youngsters and still growing

Chinese Kale is pretty easy to grow as long as you provide it with adequate sunlight. The hubby loves to eat it while I'm less enthusiastic. I much rather have dwarf choy sum or kang kong.

Our Chinese Kale plants provides us with regular supply of leaves (though not a lot) for dinner every few weeks

Definitely recommend for you to try this at home!

[9] Kang Kong
*Recommended for beginners

Young Kang Kong plants
I love Kang Kong so we're growing as much of them as we can in big pots as well as smaller pots

Kang Kong loves water so don't worry about over-watering! The more the merrier! I found Kang Kong the easiest and fastest to grow so I highly recommend growing this at home. We have a steady source of Kang Kong for dinner every two weeks and now hope to grow enough to be able to harvest once a week.

Our yummy harvest of Kang Kong on a good week

I absolutely love our Kang Kong! Yummy!

[10] Kai Lan

Kai Lan

Kai Lan was not as easy to grow as Kang Kong and Chinese Kale but we finally managed to grow them till they reached adulthood. We recently harvested our first batch of Kai Lan! It was not a lot but it's a really good start! =)

Recent harvest of Chinese Kale, Dwarf Pak Choy, Curly Dwarf Pak Choy and Kai Lan
Assorted vegetables including my favourite kang kong. Our kang kong was recently attacked by insects, which explained the smaller than usual yield.
Mum-in-law cooks them altogether.
Truly urban garden directly to table!

The mum-in-law is of the opinion that all the effort for one small plate of organic vegetables does not seem to be worth it. However, to the hubby and I, there is really no greater joy and satisfaction when you're able to harvest your own vegetables and enjoy them!

Take note though that all plants especially vegetables require a lot of time and effort to prune, irrigate, fertilise and protect from pests. Hence, be prepared to set aside some time everyday to tend to them.

Hope you enjoyed reading this post!

<< Back to Our HDB Garden (1): Getting Started


This post is part of my series on BC & Mad's HDB Garden and Our First HomeJoin us as we share our journey in becoming urban gardeners in our own HDB home! =)

You can also read about the progress of our garden before I blog about it on Instagram via the hashtag #bcmadgarden! =)
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