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Archive for November, 2009

Potting up new seedlings

November 28, 2009 6 comments

Some of the recent seeds I sowed last month have sprouted. They were sowed in a large pot and now ready to be transferred into their permanent pot. I chose a 6-inch pot and have many numerous drainage holes at the bottom. It is very important to have good water drainage which most plants will prefer.

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But with bigger and more drainage holes can also mean the potting media will also leak out of the pot! Here’s a useful tip to prevent this from happening. I have placed a thin layer of coco chips or coconut husks to cover the holes. They are larger chunks and fibrous enough to prevent the potting media to leak out.

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    A  layer of coco chips at the bottom                     Top up with potting media          

Next, I added the potting media to the pot. The potting media I used for this pot is one of the best mix around. It is mixed with good amount of compost as well as draining media such as charcoal chips. It is also not very lumpy and even smells good! For me, my choice of good garden is good drainage, not lumpy and darker in colour.

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The seedlings are then removed from the soil and potted into the new media. Try to use your finger to “dig” a hole deep enough to cover the entire root ball or root system of the seedling. This will ensure that the seedling is stable and increase its chances of survival. After that, water the pot till water leaks out from the bottom of the pot. Only then, the entire pot is thoroughly watered. You may notice that the soil level will sink down by a centimetre and you can add more media if you want to.

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Community in Bloom Friends Induction Programme

November 20, 2009 Leave a comment

NParks’ Community in Bloom Team organised another CIB Friends Induction programme on 14th Nov at Hortpark. I was invited by the team to share my experience as a volunteer for the past year. It was held early in the morning and I am glad that many had rose early on a Saturday morning for this programme!

The induction programme is organised to new volunteers where friends get to know more about the Community in Bloom Programme and how they can volunteer their time to promote gardening to the public. The event started off with a walkabout around various plots and gardens in Hortpark and it’s a good ice breaker for many of us here. We left out as small groups of strangers but we came back to the function room as a whole group of friends that seemed to know each other for some time!

 

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Next, Lily and Maxel, both from the CIB team presented more information about NParks and the CIB friends programme. There were several questions asked and I can see the enthusiasm in our new friends. After the two presentations, I am up next to talk about my experience. I done up a few slides to showcase some of the projects and events I attended and also plants that I had grown in my community garden. I also brought some bean and carnivorous plant seeds for our friends to try growing. The event then concluded with a simple but delicious lunch where we further discussed and talked about our gardening experiences! Thanks Eleanor from CIB team for taking photos of me!

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CIB Friends is an initiative which provides individuals opportunities to share their gardening passion and help others. CIB friends can contribute in various ways such as facilitating the setting up community gardens, conduct tours and gardening talks or even promoting gardening during exhibitions. Anyone can be a CIB friend, things you learnt through these activities are rewarding and useful. It’s a good chance for one to reach out to more people and gain more knowledge. I strongly encourage anyone, especially young people to take some time and promote gardening. Don’t worry about your limited gardening knowledge or experience. Just like me, started off with only passion!

Categories: Uncategorized

Self- Peeling Banana?

November 16, 2009 Leave a comment

Oh yes, it is known as self peeling banana! I came across this banana plant on my recent nursery trip and it’s definitely a pleasant discovery. Musa velutina, also known as the Velvet Pink Banana, bear short and stout looking fruits which are very different from those we had seen in the supermarket.

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But why does it peel by itself? A good answer would be to attract birds and other animals to disperse the seeds. Everyone enjoy convenience, isn’t it? This plant has a good advertisement strategy! The flowers and fruits are covered with short hairs which give them the velvety touch.

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Many would ask “Are the fruits edible?”. The answer is unknown but probably not as it will not be a good experience as the fruit is filled with black seeds! It is not a tall plant and can be a fast grower, perfect candidate for an interesting community garden!  

Dwarf Pineapples…

November 11, 2009 Leave a comment

Remember the dwarf pineapple i blogged about? Not long ago I visited my aunt’s place and saw the “mother” plant where the pups were passed to me a few months back. I was amazed and delighted to see the plant was flowering again. Not only the mother plant is flowering, even the two pups beside it flowered at the same time! Three flower spikes were arranged in an orderly straight line and bear some reddish colour!

 

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From my understanding, this plant is grown along the corridor and exposed to only direct morning sun and bright light throughout the day with frequent wind.The leaves are longer and narrower than mine, which yet to flower under my direct afternoon sun and windy condition. My dwarf pineapple plant are greener and have broader leaves as compared to the mother plant.

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It’s definitely a pleasant sight to see these unique flowers bloom along your corridor. As the dialect name “ong-lai”, which translate into chinese as 旺来, meaning arrival of prosperity, it’s definitely a good omen for many! Pineapple plants are generally easy to grow and suitable for most growing conditions. They can get fairly big even they are “dwarf” and be careful of their serrated leaves which got my hands painful stings when watering the plant. Ouch!

Pitcher Plants!

November 7, 2009 2 comments

It’s been some time since I talked about pitcher plants. Being my main interest in gardening, pitcher plants never fail to attract attention of many people. The talks I conducted were very well received and many had lots of questions to ask about these exotic plants.

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Pitcher plants are often mistaken as challenging plants to grow. In fact, they are much easier to grow than the usual garden plants! Carnivorous plants such as pitcher plants, do not need any fertilizing or pruning at all. They are mostly slow growers and hardy.

Pitcher plants (Nepenthes) are native to our tropical region, require high humidity and fair amount of sunlight to grow well. Some species can take full sun, but most of them will be happy to be in partial shade. However, they need to grow in nutrient free potting media such as sphagnum moss and perlite.

 

nov005 Nepenthes ampullaria is one of my favourite pitcher plant.  The red pitchers (Nepenthes ampullaria ‘Harlequin’) are speckled with purple and green and have a open lid, which resemble small water pots! Nepenthes ampullaria is one of the pitcher plants that can grow a carpet of pitchers on the ground, which is why it is the one of most popular pitcher plants gardeners wanted to grow. They also come in different colours, green with red “lips”, green with “black” lips,green speckled with red, pure red and many more!

I personally prefer red pitchers as they contrast very well with my other green plants. Nepenthes ‘Gardentech’ is one of them, which grow very red pitchers! This particular plant is a hybrid between two hardy species, Nepenthes ventricosa and Nepenthes ampullaria, and was named after the gardening event in Singapore, Gardentech. My plant is still a very young plant and its pitchers are elongated, whereas a fully grown adult plant can develop stout and rectangular looking red pitchers!

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Unopened new Nepenthes ‘Gardentech’ Pitcher              Cute Nepenthes ampullaria

Pitcher plants make very good houseplants and can make your garden look more interesting. Also, these unique plants are also good education materials to show others that plants also eat animals!

My e-Book now available online! Any gardening questions?

November 1, 2009 Leave a comment

I guess many had read an article about me in the Straits Times Life Section publish on 31st October 09. Thanks to all who had emailed or posted to congratulate me, without your support, I will never had opportunities to share my experience with all of you. Many had also emailed me for the eBooks that I have authored and I had uploaded one of the eBooks, “Starting your Gardening Hobby” on my website! This eBook is based on my experience, touch on basic gardening techniques and skills you need for your everyday gardening.

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There are no “standard” gardening skills or procedures to follow, my eBook will serve as a basic reference for you to begin your gardening journey. From there, you can come out with your unique gardening skills which suit best for you and your garden. So email me back with your success stories!

StartCD copyClick on the image to download the eBook! 

I had decided to dedicate a weekly post on answering your gardening questions. Every week, I will select two questions from my readers and post my opinions and suggestions for everyone to read. Hopefully everyone here can benefit from these questions! Once we had a good database of questions and answers, I will author another eBook and compiled all the frequently asked questions to share with everyone! So if you have any gardening question, do feel free to email me at DreamNGrowit@gmail.com.