Urban farming is on the rise and more and more people are starting to plant their own edibles at home. After all, what’s not to love about organically grown herbs and vegetables that can be plucked fresh for consumption? Let’s take a look at some of the popular edible plant choices for home gardening!
TOP 1 Basil
To get an endless supply of basil, the easiest way is to start with a handful of fresh basil. Choose those with strong stems and snip away the bottom part, leaving a good length of stem and leaves. Remove some of the leaves at the bottom part, leaving only a handful of leaves at the top (as pictured above). Immerse the stalks of basil in a clear glass of water and place them in a place with access to sunlight. Meanwhile, treat them as table decoration as you wait for the roots to grow, which will take 2-3 weeks (change the water daily). After a sufficient web of roots have grown, you can then transfer the basil to be planted in the soil.
TOP 2 Sweet Potato and Sweet Potato Leaves
Immerse half the sweet potato in water, and very soon you’ll see the roots and shoots growing out of the sweet potato. It is one of the easiest plants to grow as it requires minimal effort and it is very hardy. In fact, as you harvest the leaves, more leaves would grow! You can even detach some of the shoots with the roots and plant it in the soil outdoors, where it will continue to flourish. At the end of 5-7 months or when the leaves start to show sign of withering, you can then harvest the sweet potatoes beneath!
TOP 3 Spring Onions
Planting spring onions is as easy as ABC, and the chance of them growing is very high. You don’t need fancy equipment either. Simply put the onions in egg boxes or plastic bottle setups and pour a little bit of water there such that the roots are immersed in water. After 1-2 days, you will notice small white roots growing from the base of the onion. You can transfer them to a pot of soil outdoors after there are sufficient new roots growing out from the base. Water them regularly to keep the soil moist and allow them to grow better. You will be rewarded with tall stalks of spring onions freshly grown in your garden!
TOP 4 Bok Choy
To start planting bok choy, you’ll need bok choy seeds and a pot of soil. Plant the seeds in the soil, water it daily and place it at a spot with sufficient sunlight. The seeds should germinate in 5-7 days, and you can harvest the bok choy when it has reached a height of about 15cm. Be careful not to uproot the plant or cut off the entire plant as it has capacity to regrow. Cut off the bok choy a few centimetres above the soil to allow the bok choy to regrow a new shoot.
TOP 5 Kai Lan (Chinese Kale)
Like bok choy, the planting of kailan also starts with seeds planted in a pot of soil. Daily watering and placing it at a spot with adequate sunlight will facilitate germination, after which the kailan will take about 2 months to grow to full height and start to flower. You can then harvest by cutting off the stem and leaving a few centimetres of stem from the ground so that it can regrow a new kailan. You may add fertiliser for it to grow faster and for more rounds of regrowing.
TOP 6 Brinjal (Eggplant)
Brinjals are another vegetable that can be easily grown in a pot. Simply put the seeds in a pot of soil and cover it with a thin layer of soil. Water it daily and place the pot at a sunny area to aid germination. Continue the routine of watering after it sprouts, and add fertilizer to get big fat brinjals. Beware if you’re planting several brinjal plants at the same time and fertilizing all of them, as you might be flooded with too many brinjals!
TOP 7 Ladies’ Finger
Ladies’ finger is a heat-loving plant that can grow to a height of up to 2 metres. Thankfully, it starts flowering and bearing ladies’ fingers at a much shorter height so it doesn’t have to take up too much space in your garden. Prepare a wide and deep pot (around 25cm) and place it at a spot with hours of direct sunlight. Plant the seeds there and wait 4-5 days for it to germinate, and add fertilizer. It should take about a month before the plant is big enough to bear flower. A few days after the flowers appear, you will start to notice tiny ladies’ fingers growing out from the stems. Remember to harvest them before they became overgrown and too fibrous to eat.
TOP 8 Caixin
Caixin is a tropical vegetable that loves sunlight. In a tray, sow the caixin seeds about 10 cm apart from each other to leave sufficient space between the caixin and yet not too far away as competition between the caixin plants can spur them to grow faster. The seeds should germinate in about 4-7 days. Keep the pot in an area with direct sunlight and water regularly. You should be able to taste the fruits of your labour in about a month.
TOP 9 Parsley
To grow parsley, start by germinating parsley seeds in soil or using a setup of a piece of wet cloth placed on top of a basket with water underneath. After the seeds have sprouted and the seedling has grown to a certain height, transfer them to the soil for better growth. Keep them in an area that has at least partial sunlight and water daily. The seedlings will start to grow and crowd the pot, and you can harvest the parsley by snipping off some of the shoots. Leave the main plant intact so that it will regrow even more shoots!
TOP 10 Ginger
To plant ginger, you’ll need a piece of ginger that has budding eyes – a protruding yellow spot that has a small green shoot sprouting from it and sometimes even small roots. Soak the ginger in water overnight, then cut the ginger to separate the budding eyes. Each piece of ginger should have only 1 or 2 budding eyes as each of these will eventually grow into a plant. Place the ginger pieces in soil with the budding eyes facing up, and water regularly to keep the soil moist at all times. Be careful not to expose the ginger to strong sunlight for long hours as it prefers areas with partial sunlight. Keep watering and fertilising, and more and more shoots will spring up from the plant. After a period of 8-10 months, or when the leaves start to wither, you can then harvest the ginger in the soil. You don’t have to pull up the whole plant if there are still new shoots growing from it. Simply cut off the ginger that you want to harvest and plant back the part with new shoots so you can continue to get ginger.
Photo credits: Rose’s World, Theayurveda, The Smart Local, Urban Farming for Food, Plant Instructions, BloominThyme, The Business Times, PRAKRITI’s garden, Taste Of Home, Nyon Yit An
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