Give your hands a good stretch and flex those green thumbs by growing your own little garden of produce right at home. Be it a vegetable, fruit or herb that you will enjoy in your meals, staying in sunny island, has its perks given the abundance of sunlight all year round. This means that growing plants and crops that are suited for the tropical weather can be quite a breeze when you have got the know how. If you are keen to grow a small amount of produce in your balcony, here are some to get you started!
First up on the list is this fragrant vegetable that is a perennial vegetable hailing from the onion family. Spring onions are amazing in a variety of dishes including soups, roast chicken marinate, chopped up and added into bread dough while baking or mixed with cheese as a spread. Do note that there are many different species of spring onions, so check on the one that is commonly used in your favourite recipes and pick up a pack of their seeds from a local farm plantation or supermarket. Then pop them into a pot of soil and water it once every two days. Spring onions thrive really well in hot climates and require minimal care. The best thing? You can obtain the seeds from the mature plants to then prepare them for the next batch. Place the planted pot near a window or at your balcony for it to receive ample sunlight and grow well.
Delicious and packed with loads of vitamin C, bean sprouts are a great addition to a medley of vegetable stir-fry, salads and wraps. To grow them, you can start with a quarter jar of green beans that you can easily get hold of, from the local supermarket in Singapore. Wash the beans and place them back into the glass jar and fill it up with clean and cool water. Close the lid and place it in room temperature, away from sunlight, for eight to twelve hours. The soaked beans will expand and sprout.
After that, drain the beans using a cheesecloth or a sieve. Give the sprouts a rinse and then place them place the open jar of sprouts at an angle to dry partially. Try a dish rack or a wire cooling rack. Rinse and drain the beans to ensure that they do not dry up till the length that you desire. The whole process will take about two to five days.
Try mung bean, lentil, chickpea, soybean for a start. They make fun and easy gardening experiments for little ones too. On top of that, they may enjoy eating the vegetable when they are the one that grows it themselves!
If spice is life, chilli ought to be the must-have in your home garden. It is rather easy to plant and grow chillies from seed. In fact, all they really need is warmth, water and good sunlight to grow well.
To start, simply sow the chilli seeds in seed compost, in a small planter pot. (You can save some from the previous batch that you cleared for cooking). Then place the pot near the window or in the balcony and let nature do its magic. To water the pot, simply just ensure that the soil is moist. Do not overwater or flood the soil as it can affect the plant’s growth and the quality of the chilli fruit.
Famous for its status in the superfood empire, kale can actually thrive well in Singapore. Since kale does not have a lot of pest or disease problems and is a hardy plant that only requires water, compost mixed in soil with high nitrogen content and sufficient sunlight, it is great for a home garden. Keep the roots moist and the soil from drying up by laying mulch on top of the soil. Too good to be true that it is so easy? Well, there is a catch of course, and that is bigger planter boxes are required for the planting of kale. This may be an issue if you have a really compact space. However, that can be easily solved with vertical planters.
This vegetable may not be the utmost popular to many because of its slimy texture. However, if you do enjoy them, it is surely the best investment that you can make. Gone are the days of picking a bunch of them from the grocer and having them being too fibrous to anyone’s liking when the delicious dish is served. You can monitor the growth of the okra and harvest them when they are still tender and crunchy. Plus, this member of the hibiscus family has edible flowers that you can enjoy by adding them into your salads or stir fry for a nutty, asparagus-like flavour.
Grow your okra from seed instead of starts. Be patient and it can yield you healthier and more delicious pods. Keep the growing plant at the largest, sunniest spot you have at home and water them moderately.