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In one of my earlier post, I mentioned that my mom started growing her own snakebean plant from a seed of my previous snakebeans. On its own, the snakebean plant has taken up quite abit of space in the back balcony.

 

To date, her sole snakebean plant reaped 11 snakebeans with more to come. It has been flowering regularly and we have had 3 plates of stir fried snakebeans from her 1 lone plant already. We have quite abit of fun looking out for baby snakebeans that pop up overnight after the flowers drop off. Can you spot 5 snakebeans in this picture?

Yield from my previous 5 snakebean plants = 4 snakebeans

Yield from my mom’s 1 snakebean plant = 11 snakebeans & more to come

Growing up in a kampung (Malay word for village) in Perak, Malaysia, my mom certainly has the knack for growing stuff and will tell me stories of how delicious her grandmother’s snakebeans were. I am very proud of my mom’s snakebeans but am sad to say that I didn’t inherit this gift of growing stuff from her. Sheesh, her snakebean statistics puts me to shame man.

Though after my observation, there are some things that I can learn from her:

1. Do not be greedy and overcrowd my plants. Unhappy plants translate into a low yield.

2. Just let my plants be. Do not stare at them incessantly and or interfere with their growing path.

3. Be patient. In growing, “om” is the right word. The more I stare, the longer it seems to take.

“OOOOOOMMMMMMMM…..”

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I’m back! Sorry that it’s been so long but I’ve been trying to catch up with the real life after coming back.

Instead of posting the standard tourist stuff, I have decided to share with you my shots of the balconies in Italy. While other tourists were clicking away at the statues and everything else, I was busily oohing and aahing at the balconies and happily snapping away at them. Abit mad but who cares?

There is a very distinctive style with regards to the balconies in Italy (balcony pictures are mostly taken in Rome and Verona). In my opinion, the balconies there really contributed to spirit of the beautiful country. Viva Italia!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After this, I think that balconies can really help to beautify and contribute to the cityscape in general so if you’re a Singaporean with an empty balcony and reading this, hope that you’re inspired as well to do something about it 🙂

Have decided to go on a spur of the moment, totally spontaneous but so last minute trip to Italy. My dream since I was 18, it’s now or forever I procrastinate. Booked the air tickets yesterday and am flying off tonight. Writing of blog will continue when back from wine, olives and the Tuscany sun. See you guys again when back! Take care till then!

After close to a month of self-enforced hibernation where I switched off my mobile phone and went off human contact apart from my family, I think I have recovered both mentally and physically. I no longer question “Why?”, I can recall what happened without crying and everything happens for a reason. Am sorry if I had worried anyone, and thanks alot for your thoughts and words of encouragement. Each and everyone of them helped.

I finally feel up to emerging from this black hole of not wanting to do anything.  I realised that I can persist to wallow in self-pity and self-centeredness but really, what happened to me was not that big an issue at all. Through close friends and this blog, I’ve come to cherish the fact that human encouragement and interaction really does lift minds and spirits, without which I might have slipped deeper into the black hole and continue to indulge in self-pity.

On the lighter vegetative side of things, the condition of my snake bean plants deteriorated drastically during this period and we had no choice but to clear it . I missed it quite badly actually. It yielded a grand total of 4 snake beans, laughable by farmer standards, but I’m still damn pleased about it. My mom is growing her own snake bean plant, which is 3 weeks old by now, from seeds that came from my snake bean plants so I feel that the lifeline had continued somehow. 

What’s still standing proud in my balcony is lemon balm, of which I have 2 pots by now. I’ve gotten seeds for Pak Choy which I want to try and grow, and will also be reattempting to grow cherry tomatoes again.

Pardon my pun but I do hope that in both oneself and vegetative terms – ONWARDS I GROW.

Exactly one week ago last Tuesday was my first gynae visit to check on my baby which was supposed to be 7 weeks old by then. It was a secret that was bursting to be shared once we had the confirmation of the gynae that all is well.

It’s amazing how fast things change and how you just had to cope with it. Nothing turned up on the ultrasound. A blood test and another transvarginal ultrasound confirmed a molar pregnancy. There was no fetus.

I was admitted into the hospital that same night and undergone a laparoscopy the next morning to clean out my womb and will need to undergo weekly blood tests to ensure that my BHCG levels is down to undetectable levels and that there is no risk of cancer developing.

From the joy, hope and anticipation of carrying a little being in you to simply nothing. I cried for 3 nights in the silent darkness of my hospital room and still tear abit every now and then thinking about it, but I believe I am healing abit as each day passes. Writing this out helps in the healing process as I type.

I will be pottering about in my balcony soon once my stitches are removed. I believe it will help in the healing process too. There is something about planting seeds, nurturing our plants, watching them grow and thrive that helps us, strengthens us and warms the humanity inside us somehow. Maybe it’s the process of watching life unfold before you that reminds you about hope that’s still abound around us. 

I was feeling pretty low about my balcony greens and blogging for the past week. And this picture pretty much sums up the feeling.

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Didn’t really want to write about anything. Come on, what’s there to write about? The snake beans are going haywire and with no sign of flowering still, plus the freakish weather is causing alot of leaves to turn yellow and drop off.  The death toll of the cherry tomatoes flowers are hitting 5 by now. My dill is turning yellow at an alarming rate and there’s nothing new to grow cos I am still trying to collect recycled containers from around the house to use as pots.

This all accumulated to the sinking feeling that I just suck at growing stuff. Simply clueless about watering, soil conditions & quantity needed, fertilization, plant preferences, etc…

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But I was reading through Kate’s article one day and this occured to me. When you garden and blog, you are not alone. Gardeners are kind folks who don’t laugh at you and encourage you along the way. Many thanks and virtual hugs to Kate, Wilson, Christina, Patrick, Rowena, Christi and recently, Joco, who all have helped me along the way with your comments, your words of encouragement, advise and tips.

So my snake beans are out of control, other stuff are turning yellow, but I learn right? I’ve learnt not to overcrowd my seeds anymore, learnt about the different types of soil, plant preferences, etc. And I should always continue to keep trying and learning along the way. So even starting all over again, finding less ambitious seeds to grow…  even growing a small pot of basil is something for a brown thumb like me.

If not for blogging, I would be growing my greens alone and would have given up sooner, and resigned myself to the fact that I kill plants, once again.  So I am giving my thanks now for technological advances, for nice folks and kind friends from other parts of the world that I would never have dreamt about making otherwise, if not for blogging.

I will never grow alone again.

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All images from I Has A HotDog. Check it out! It’s simply too cute. Guaranteed to lighten up some gardening blues.

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There is a new full grown addition to my plant family.  

After much persuasion, I’ve finally convinced my mom that we should get a Lunar New Year plant since this is the first Lunar New Year that we are spending in our new place. And Lunar New Year plants have auspicious sounding names and are thus, good to have during this festive period. Find out more about the various Lunar New Year Plants at this informative article on Green Culture Singapore.

So after dinner last Saturday, we drove to a nursery in Jurong West and joisted with many other families in selecting the ideal plant. We settled on a citrus plant from the “kumquat” family called 龙胆 which literally translates into “Dragon Gall”. Not sure about its official plant name though.

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Pretty pleased with our selection as it has lush young buds, looks healthy, PLUS we spotted it before the other families did.  We happily drove the new addition home and gave it a thorough inspection for mealy bugs and aphids.

Every morning, my mom will water the plant lovingly and give it the daily once-over to make sure that no pests are making a comeback. It is now Her plant. (Mom, I just knew that you wanted one too.) 

We hope that with her care, our “Dragon Gall” will continue to flower and grow fruits yearly.

I’ll be going to Kuala Lumpur tomorrow to join my in-laws and family for the festivities over the next few days and can’t wait to see how my other babies are when I get back.  

Happy Lunar New Year everyone! May this year of the Rat bring happiness and prosperity to you and your loved ones!

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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.

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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)