Sunday, September 6, 2015

Hooked to my Indoor Garden

After days of pondering about acquiring a new hobby, I stumbled upon a few websites exhorting the possibilities of growing your own herb garden in a small apartment. Suddenly this became a strong impetus to go on a 'buying' spree. After voraciously reading up on pros and cons of growing various plants in Singapore (in order to suit my absence from them), I've decided on the following plants...

The first was the Basil... Basil thrives in the sunny warm climate of Singapore...and I love the aroma and taste of Basil in Italian & Thai cooking. My adventures started with a few bought from the NTUC finest vegetable section...

Basically Italian basil grown via hydroponics methods are kind of sensitive once you transplant them to regular potting soil mix. Out of 6 plants, I ended up having these 2. The rest sadly perished to root rot. Still I think it's not the end of the story as we can propagate basil using cuttings dipped into water plus a lot of patience (as seen in the foreground). I've already made my own pesto sauce from my basil without any pesticides and unusual fertilizers. What a victorious feeling!

Upon getting hooked, my shopping spree began. Next little pet I had was this moderately-big pot of sweet basil from a market in Clementi Ave 2. It looks very hardy and I've harvested 3x from this plant already. Just remember to fertilize using organic fertilizers (i.e. dung from either goat, chicken, etc) and use neem powder as natural pesticide. This is the plant on the right of the pic below.

My proudest moment as a gardener was when I snagged this pretty bunch of rosemary at an unusually cheap price at the same market in Clementi. This is seen on the left of the upper shelf (next to the basil). I literally snapped it up from the market just before another lady who was perusing at the range of 2 rosemary plants on offer. Indeed rosemary is a beautiful, hardy, dry-weather plant. The heady aroma is gorgeous and I have cooked at least 4 times with this awesome looking plant. Essential oil produced by this plant has this attractive aroma that naturally bring fragrance to any food or room. Much better than growing from rosemary seeds (trust me, I tried) because I totally failed at even producing one seedling from the seeds I've sown. This little girl loves living precariously on the dry side & adores the sun as well. Therefore, the prime position facing the sun and of course, only water once a day or when the soil is dry to touch.

Next my cutesy ornamental plants. Air plants are very pretty little flora that brings automatic cheer to any room and it's kind of hardy as well. I've just recently acquired this spiky little fellow (pic above) and apparently it's very easy to care for. Other than looking good, I've yet to find a use for this plant. Nevertheless, it's a good chum to my rosemary and basil.

And finally, my new succulent collections. This has recently arrived via post (online purchase) at a very very affordable rate. These are the most cost-effective little home decor items, and being alive gives us a lot of little baby plants in the future too either to brighten up each room in the house or to disseminate as gifts. 

Apparently, some brides are using this hardy creatures in the weddings as part of an eco-friendly decor movement. Ain't too bad for a genus that originates from the desert.

Echeveria (pic above) is this lovely purple-pinkish succulent that is easy to propagate but very sensitive to the hot weather in Singapore - coz it can get sunburn easily. Gradually expose it to sun and if possible, keep it in a slightly colder environment at night. I've recently given it a new pot, hopefully it likes it new home.

I think this is a graptoveria - correct me if I'm wrong - very new in the succulent world. Apparently it's a hybrid between graptoverium and echeveria thus it's green but in a petal-like formation. Out of all 3, apparently this can really with-stand the Singaporean sun but I've also not taking chances. Currently, it's sitting pretty in the shade for now.

And finally, this unusual looking haworthia which I believe is the turgid haworthia. I like the thorny-like apperance but there is no thorn at all. Reading up on all the stories and articles on succulents online made me realize that there are a lot of succulent-fans out there and this cute little plants are definitely here to stay. 

The most important ingredients (based on research, not experience) is a combination of appropriate well-draining soil, very little water and sunlight+cold nights (simulating desert conditions). I've to say I'm most worried about my succulents because the nights are still kind of hot in Singapore. Hopefully, the raining season will come soon and bring some relief to my 3 little plants.

Looking forward to growing more indoor plants in the near future - both edible and inedible (pretty ornaments) as this new hobby takes flight.