How did you get started with gardening?
It’s a hilarious story. We started gardening because buying vegetables was too expensive and troublesome. When I was cooking for myself previously, I would meal prep for the week on the weekends. Vegetables didn’t hold up well being stored for a week and I couldn’t be bothered to go to the store every other day just to pick up vegetables. We also try to eat as clean and healthy as possible, and organic vegetables are so expensive! I really knew I needed to be eating more vegetables though, and so decided to explore food gardening.
When we first started, we bought some potting soil, seeds and a container. Of course nothing happened. That was when we learned the importance of soil aeration and drainage. Most plants need well draining soil and plants are as likely to die from overwatering from overzealous plant owners as they are from underwatering! It’s also really important to space your plants out appropriately so that they have room to grow.
For seedlings, they need a sterile soil-less, well draining environment, away from direct sun. We use a mix of perlite and peat moss for germination. Perlite is a naturally occurring mineral that helps with soil aeration. It holds water well while also encouraging good drainage – kind of like a slow release water capsule!
After germination, we then transfer them to their ‘permanent’ location consisting of a mix of compost, peat moss, perlite and potting soil, with the ratios being slightly different depending on the plants’ preference for hydration and drainage. The amount of direct sunlight needed also varies from plant to plant and will determine where you place them in your house after germination for ideal growth.
Another lesson we learnt is to never water your plants in the day! If the leaves are wet while the sun is up, the water droplets create tiny lenses to focus the sun’s rays and can end up burning the leaves of plants. This is particularly important in Singapore’s sunny and humid climate, where the water droplets take longer to evaporate.