With the rising cost of living, many are slowly giving home gardens a try instead of buying produce from the supermarket. While we don’t have many (or any) communal gardening spots, it’s not that difficult to start a small garden at home. Remember the excitement when your first green beans sprouted? Now you get to grow actual vegetables for consumption and take another step forward to a healthier life!
What if you don’t have land for planting? No worries, the plants in this list can be grown in small pots. For soil, look for any organic soil from nurseries. If possible, keep seeds bought from the nursery in the fridge because heat can kill them.
If a group of pre-schoolers could grow tomatoes, it shouldn’t be THAT tough to grow it, right? Tomatoes just need lots of calcium. To provide ample calcium, just crush egg shells and sprinkle the broken bits at the base of the plant.
Tomatoes aren’t fussy about space, heat and humidity but they do attract fruit flies. Head to Daiso to get some tiny nets and bag the fruits as they form. Tomatoes need regular watering and lots of sunlight. Provide support by placing a peat stick or trellis as it grows.
2. Kangkung/ Water Spinach
Kangkung is already cheap but if you grow it, you don’t need to drive to the shops. Don’t even need to find parking and go through the crowd.
Kangkung loves water but it is also a hardy plant, so it wouldn’t wither if you forgot to water it for a few days or weeks. When it grows older, edible white flowers will sprout. The white flowers are known as morning glory and are often stir-fried with chillies or plain with garlic in Thai recipes.
3. Genovese Basil
Potted basil plants can be easily bought from the supermarket but growing it from seeds is much more fulfilling! To encourage it to grow, its leaves need to be plucked regularly. It is going to be a strange (sadistic) relationship but it works. Also, remember to pinch out any flower buds or it’ll turn the veggie bitter.
The basil plant also needs a lot of sun and water. While keeping the soil moist, make sure the drainage is good or it’ll cause rotting roots. It also dislikes crowding so transplant them into separate pots when it gets too crowded.
4. Choy sum
Choy sum seeds are super tiny and man, these little fellas are competitive. Water the seeds regularly and watch them grow. Once they sprout about four inches off the soil, transfer them into a larger pot. The seedlings need lots of sunlight too.
Choy sum leaves are naturally sweet so it attracts pests like snails. You can deter the snails from getting close to your plant by using crushed eggshells. The jagged edges from the shells discourage the snails from chomping on your veggies.
The seeds of the furry beans are sowed like any veggie and need to be watered every three days. Edamame needs the sunlight too. Once the seeds become seedlings, transfer it to a slightly larger pot. To get fatter pods, fertilize it with organic fertilizer.
The plant grows like a shrub and should be ready to be harvested in two to three months. The beans are ready to be plucked once they are plump enough. Once harvested, the plant will wither and die. The only thing to do is to save a few pods from your harvest, dry them and keep it for the next round of planting.
6. Ngaku/ Arrowhead
Ngaku or Arrow Shoot (Sagittaria sagittifolia) don’t grow from tiny seeds but from a corm. Fill the pot with substrates or pebbles and submerge the corms inside. When the first leaves show, the plant makes a nice house decoration as well. You also get to fry your own ngaku chips! The corm can be planted in soil as well.
Remember to change the water regularly to prevent rotten roots and watch out for mosquito larvae. If the pot is big enough, you may be able to rear some guppies to help prevent mosquito breeding. Ngaku is shade-tolerant, so don’t keep it under direct sunlight for too long or the leaves will singe.