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Sometimes I’ll wake up, brush my teeth groggily and dash out abruptly to the balcony to see what popped up overnight. It’s like suddenly recalling that I have plants! Then I will squat by each pot excitedly and inspect each of them while still brushing my teeth.  

I guess this is the best part about waking up in the mornings now. Something new everyday. Guess it’s cos I’m growing stuff for the first time and seeing everything for the first time. Do gardeners get jaded with each batch of the same plant that they grow? I doubt so. We like watching our babies grow. (although I am hardly a gardener)

Lemon Balm has sprouted but strangely there’s only one sole survivor. The lone ranger. Just as well cos it saves me from the pain of deciding which seedling to pull out when overcrowding occurs. Nothing must happen to you.

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Chives sprouted with about 70% successful germination rate. Parsley sprouted with about 70% successful germination rate as well. But the best thing is that after needless worrying, I have 10 Cherry Tomatoes Seedlings! Which translated into 80% germination rate. Not bad at all. Guess I was too impatient previously.

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But as they grow, the dilemma would be which one to pull out in order to make space for sufficient growth. To me, it’s cruel to pull them out since they have been given life. But I can’t have 10 cherry tomato pots around in the balcony…. Sigh. It’s times like these when you envy those with gardens.

Note to self: Do not be greedy ever. Only germinate what you can grow.

Dill germinated on schedule 5 days ago and look at them now! I guess there will be overcrowding for sure right? But I’m damn happy to see a potful now so we’ll worry about it later.

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My snake beans have also sprouted more leaves other than their very first pair. My mom commented that snake beans will grow faster once they have support. Determined to recycle as much as possible rather than buy wooden sticks, she found broken off branches that were lying around the estate.

After the supports are in, I swear that the seedlings seem to grow even faster. They are  about 8 inches tall now, 5 inches taller in 5 days. Do they instinctively know that the supports are there to help them grow? Plants can feel right?

Maybe I am just imagining things. 

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 snake-bean-seedlings.jpg

Terribly pleased with the progress of the snake beans. They seem to be growing awfully fast. They’ve grown to be about 3 inches tall since their germination 2 mornings ago. Their speedy growth is a great assurance to me. At least something is growing.

Other seeds that germinated are the dill and the cherry tomato seeds. Wonderful.

dill-seedlings.jpg

Dill – Germination Success Rate 50%

What I find particularly hard to germinate are the coriander and lemon balm seeds for some reason and have since attempted germination of a new batch on Jiffy Plant Starters.

Spotted lady finger seeds (okra) while purchasing the Jiffy Plant Starters and couldn’t resist buying them cos they are suppose to another easy to grow plant in our hot climate. After the lady fingers, I’m stopping with buying new seeds. Shall not be too greedy for now…

Guess what was the beautiful sight that greeted me this morning when I woke up?

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 Woohoo! Then guess what’s an even more beautiful sight than this?

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WooHooHoo! All five of my snake bean seeds have sprouted!

And 3 days ahead of their original germination dates! I’m so proud of them.

I didn’t expect all 5 to make it but I am damn glad that they did. Hello babies! Coincidentally, they are the biggest seeds amongst all the rest that I planted. Size does matter in this case?

Now I am wondering when to start fertilizing, whether the soil is suitable for their growth, will they be able to stand direct sun since they’re so young, etc, etc… I guess we’ll have to learn by trial and error along the way. But the problem is I can take the trials but I cannot take the errors (cross my fingers). Will check up more information on the internet.  

Meanwhile, I’m basking in happiness.

Other than what I’m currently trying to grow, we have 7 other plants in the balcony. 5 of them are purported to have medicinal effects and were “donations” from a cousin. My mom crushes the leaves from this 5 plants and mix them with chestnut juice for me to drink.

The remaining 2 are foliage plants which I had for 2 years. I bought them intially to brighten up my work cubicle and have share custody of them with another colleague. We take turns to water them and they help us to relax and bring greenery to what originally was a dull working area. They are our babies.

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Our babies are fighting a infestation of the mealy bugs and I now understand the worries that gardeners go through. Underwater, overwater, pests, bugs…. one can only worry so much.  

But it’s war now.

The mealy bugs started with my mom’s flowering plant which have since succumbed and are now feasting their way through the 7 plants. My poor babies now have yellowed leaves and I’m afraid it’s the end if I don’t do something soon.

I’ve been spraying them with Pyrethrum weekly for the past few months to no avail. After surfing the internet today, I have done the following – hosed all plants with water and rubbed all plants surfaces to get rid of any physical mealy bugs and then sprayed the plants with water mixed with crushed garlic.

The problem doesn’t end here. Looks like my plants have powdery mildew and little white ant-like bugs that crawl about in the soil.  I’ve read off the internet that there are such things as root mealy bugs and to get rid of them, one has to rid the plant of the soil, wash its roots and pot clean and replant in new soil. Oh please don’t let it come to that.

I hope they feel better tomorrow already.

Woke up this morning and eagerly watered the babies. To my horror, I noticed that some of the seeds are at the surface of the soil. Could be the way that I water the soil which caused the seeds to get flushed up to the surface. I countered this by throwing more soil on top of the seeds.

Beginning to harbour doubts on whether my seeds will germinate at all. I’m not going to wait 2 weeks and realise that they are not sprouting. Darn, should have started growing them on plant starters to ensure that they will sprout before replanting them into pots. Darn.

I’m going to germinate a new batch of seeds in wet cotton wool now as a standby plan. Can’t get my hands on plant starters now. Darn darn darn. The cotton wool will have to do.   

Woohoo, went to a nursery in Thomson Road last night and bought 4 types of seeds: snake bean, lemon balm, parsley & chives, along with 3 packs of potting soil and just one long rectangular-shaped pot. Will be using pots that were recycled from previous planting attempts.

After the nursery, I wasn’t satisfied with the number of seeds bought and proceeded to Home-Fix DIY in Great World City and found dill, tomato cherry and coriander. Quite pleased with my surprise find of additions.

Upon reaching home at about 10pm, I couldn’t start immediately and decided to proceed with labeling each pot and giving my seeds a head start in life by placing them in between wet cotton pads. Abit trivial but at least I get to satisfy my itch by doing something.

This morning, I finally got to pour out the potting soil and sow my seeds. Woohoo. Some had even sprouted a little tail from the TLC the night before. Amazing how water gives life to pre-dried seeds. God is amazing.

Okay, so I planted chives, parsley and coriander. My mom smurked and commented that you can get a large bunch at the market for less than a dollar. But they are easy to grow okay. I mean, how hard can it be for one to ruin chives, parsley and coriander? Oh, please please, not me, please.

But you worry about whether the pot is deep or big enough, whether there will be overcrowding of seeds, etc. So I’ll start with this seven and hopefully move on to more ambitious items in future. I hope to find rosemary seeds and maybe grow more easy to grow vegetables. The description on the seeds pack for cherry tomatoes and snake beans says “..hardy.. suited to hot tropical areas..”. Magical words.

Are there any other edible plants that are easy to grow in pots and are hardy and thrive in sun?

My babies and their germination dates from today, 20th Jan (in ordering of sprouting):

  1. Snake Bean : 7 days – 27th Jan
  2. Cherry Tomato : 10 days – 3oth Jan
  3. Dill : 12 days – 1st Jan
  4. Chives : 14 days – 3rd Feb
  5. Coriander : 14 days – 3rd Feb
  6. Lemon Balm : 14 days – 3rd Feb
  7. Parsley : 21 days – 10 Feb

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Can’t wait man. I’ll be checking up the internet on how to grow them and also think of how to do up the trellis (support) for the snake beans and cherry tomatoes. Read from other websites that they need to be put up early as soon as they have sprouted.

I’ll be sneaking peeks at my babies all the time in hope of seeing little sprouts of green.

I’ve always wanted a balcony in lush greeness. Attempts to grow flowers and plants have all failed previously. Face it, I don’t have green fingers. But I have a never say die spirit which has resulted in the death of more plants.

But having a new balcony renewed this desire. And after days of internet surfing, I have decided to grow edible plants instead. Will be going to the nurseries later to see what can be bought. So exciting. My own herb and mini vegetables garden. Imagine picking from your little balcony garden for your cooking needs. Oh, please let me succeed. 

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About Me

Limited apartment space is not a deterrent to my garden dreams. I’m no green-thumb but always have alot of hope and optimism.

I’m located in Singapore, a tropical Asian country.

Comments, especially gardening tips, are greatly welcomed. Thanks for dropping by! Teresa

Stuff That I Am Attempting To Grow

Cherry Tomato
Chives
Coriander
Curled Parsley
Dill
Lemon Balm
Okra (lady's finger)
Snake Bean (yardlong bean)