Making Mung-Bean sprout (taugeh), the first attempt

One of the easiest vegetable to grow is Mung bean sprouts or taugeh and it is actually cheaply sold in markets too.  But for some reasons, despite being easy, most people I know don’t really know how to make them, or rather, don’t care to make them, especially the new generation like myself.  It is easy to make.  All you need is, mung beans (obviously), water, proper container, and pieces of gunny cloths.

Actually, I’d never made taugehs in my life and I didn’t really know how to make it.  But out of curiosity, I’d been reading and watching the how-to videos on taugehs and decided to make it my own way.  So here it went:

First of all, soak mung beans over night.  You don’t need much of them as a small amount will significantly expand in volume once they’ve drank up water over night.  In this first batch, I only used around 100gms or so, for experiment purpose.

Mung beans day 1

Mung beans day 1

This are the mung beans that had bean soaked over night and wrapped in wet cloth.  Tiny roots start to shoot out.

Mung beans day 2, transferred into newly made container

Mung beans day 2, transferred into newly made container

On the second day, I decided to make a proper container specially for mung bean making.  I had already available, plastic pots which I had bought for gardening.  As plant pots have holes at the bottom, they make perfect container for taugeh making.   Then, I rummaged through my mom’s recycle boxes and found old gunny sacks and cut them to fit in the pot for layering.

However, notice that my taugehs are all over the place, not growing tall in unison, root at the bottom and shoots the top?  This is because, when I transferred the sprouts to the new place, they were all halfway ready.  Anyways…  Better late than never kan?

The sprouts day 3

The sprouts day 3

On the third day, they are much bigger and the volume has expanded.  And they are ready.  Oh yeah, there are two important things to remember when making taugeh: water vigorously twice a day but make sure that they don’t soak, I mean, good drainage is important or else.. hehehehe… and second, make sure that they don’t get exposed to light or they will turn green; that is why I had covered the top of the taugeh pot with cloth – no light gets in but they still get the oxygen they need, I mean, just putting a piece of cloth (I used face towel as the pot cover) the pot is not airtight and thus the taugeh could breathe.

Ready to be consumed.

Ready to be consumed.

This is the finished products.. As it is really late in the night, I’ll cook them tomorrow.  Yes I know they are not as plump gemuk2 like those you’d find in the pasar, but home made taugeh is fresh, and definitely organic.  No chemicals added.  Plain and simple

I’ll make another batch soon.

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My Scrawny Zucchini

I got the seeds from New Zealand.  Never actually cooked Zucchini and only ate it once or twice at most, when I was living in the USA many years ago.  But as I am, always curious of vegetables I’d never planted, I decided to buy the seeds and give it a try here in my homeland.

Zucchini Greyzini

This plant, greyzini, is only 3 weeks old, very scrawny, not big and lush as those seen on youtube (how did they do it???).   It is possible that I hadn’t fed them enough with fertiliser.  I was thinking that the soil bought from the nursery was composted enough – as they’d told me – but it turned out that I needed to do more than sow and leave.  2 days ago, I’d added in some chicken manure.  I know should have done that earlier, actually, but how the heck was I supposed to know that the nursery bought soil was lacking nutrition? Oh well, it’s alright, I am learning something new today.  But, being as scrawny and young as it is, 2 days ago, I noticed something else…

Zucchini bud Nov 10

The plant is budding, well, I am assume that they are flower buds; I don’t know, I’ve never seen zucchini plant before.  I wonder if it is normal, anyways…  I’d be fun to see zucchini blossom.  I read that I’d be seeing male blossoms first before female blossoms will turn up.  Hopefully they’d get pollinated.

Today evening I’d give the zukes a nice dose of backyard compost which is now baking in the oven (sterilisation) to kill possible weeds and pest eggs.

 

Different hands, different results

Last Sunday, a nephew and two nieces of mine, aged 3-4 were given the opportunity to sow seeds.  I figured, people should learn where their food comes from early in life to inculcate their appreciation of what they eat.  So I got them 4 tiny baba biodegradable pots which I’d got from my sis in law Nadia and handed them to the kids.  Then, I deliberately pour in 3 parts compost and 1 part sand in a shallow old aluminium pan.  With no hesitation, the three kids went ahead and mixed the two items really well; they seem to not mind playing with dirt.

IMG_20131107_180239 The Mixing Pan..

Then, nimbly with their little hands, they placed the mixture in the little pot assigned to each of them (one each) full to the brim.  Ajiq, my 3 y-o nephew, finished filling the pot first and took the extra pot (there were 3 of them and there were 4 pots) and filled it full to the brim.  The 2 girls didn’t mind.  Qilah, one of the girls, was down with fever but she was adamant to be part of the fun so I let her join in.  Damia, the other, was ready for anything, as she ever has been.

I presented to them 4 seeds (to accommodate 4 pots); 2 long bean seeds and 2 garden pea seeds.  Ajiq grabbed one long bean seed and one garden pea seed, Qilah got herself a long bean seed and Damia took the remaining garden pea seed.

Can you tell which is what?

Can you tell which is what?

 

After poking a hole right in the middle of the dirt (well, supposed to be middle lol) they placed the seed in it, covered the seed lightly and poured water over.  Got each of the pots labelled with name and date.  They then washed their hands and continued playing and then not later than an hour, Ajiq went to the pots and grumbled, “why is there no plant yet??”  Laughingly I told him that he’d have to wait 3 days to see growth, at least for the long bean.  I hope he understood that.

So, on the 3rd day, this was what happened

After 3 days

After 3 days

That’s just amazing.  4 seeds sown the same day in the same medium by different hands yielded different results: Qilah’s seed sprouted the fasted while Damia’s still shy underneath the dirt.

I supposed, with all variables kept constant, there must be some truth in the term, ‘green thumb’.

The pix of the pots was taken yesterday.  Today, Damia’s seed has decided to sprout 🙂

Ailsa Craig Onion

IMG_20131107_162231

Saw this packet of seed at a grocery store in NZ and bought it.  I always thought that growing onion is fun – though I never had any luck with them so far.  I am not that particular about the variety, as here in Malaysia, all my life, I have never been much of a gardening person; not used to it at all.  So onions are onions.  Yellow or red, big or small.  And here in Malaysia, you, well, at least I, have never come across onion seeds for sale.  So what people would normally do is that, they just grow sprouting onions.  Cut 1/3 of the top and show it in the ground and in a few weeks time, viola, you got yourself a new breed of onion – tried that myself.

But then, the name of the variety of this packet caught my attention.  Not because I know what it is, it is just that the name is interesting; AILSA.  Anyways, just for shits and giggles, I looked through the web and read/watched a bit about the variety and learned that Ailsa Craig is a type of Spanish onion and it can grow really large, up to 5lb and more.  I was like… REALLY?  (I bought it because it was cheap, that’s all).

Ailsa Craig Onion

This picture above is what I found on the internet.  Onion this big.. man, if I could grow it to this size, it’d be a show stopper, definitely!  Or at least, a conversation piece with the neighbours.  But of course I know, there are so many factors that could determine the size of an onion; soil fertility for one and the gardener’s experience and knowledge, too.  And to think that I always fail growing onion (they all die before time), I shouldn’t get too excited anyways.  Heck, I should think positive and learn more.

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My newly sprouting Ailsa Craig onions – after 1 week of sowing, indoors.  Keeping my fingers crossed.

Borage a.k.a Starflower

Borage Nov 5

Honestly, this is my first time learning about this plant.  And the name, borage, apa ke peliknya tu.. hehehe…  But at least, it has a second name which is Starflower.  Know why it is named such?  It’s the flower yang berbentuk bintang.

Borago_officinalis,_two_blossoms

I first knew about this plant when I was reading about companion planting.  In order to spend my time fruitfully, I decided to start gardening,  Tapi faham2 saja lah.. Gardening has its challenges and one of them is pests and the other is diseases…  One of the methods of reducing pests is to plant borage alongside.  Borage can attract predator pests (serangga yang akan makan pests) and also will attract bees – the flowers lah.  Aside from that, borage’s flowers and leaves are edible.  From my reading, they taste like cucumber.  Hmm.. sounds yummy.. cicah sambal belacan pun sedap rasanya…kot?  hihihi

Oh ya, borage is said to be good friends with strawberry plants, and I as am now trying to grow some strawberry plants from seeds – keeping my fingers crossed – I figure I should grow  borage too.  However,  I don’t know if borage is a common household plant in Malaysia and if it is, there must be a name for it kan.

And I was in luck.  I found this seed seller online and borage seeds were in her list – among other exotic seeds.  Got my seeds in the mail and sowed a few.  But I got a little impatient, I transplanted the sprouted seeds too early and only one (out of 5) survives (barely) in the garden. The other 4 died after a 2 days.  I think  I should have waited until the plant has put out real leaves and a bit hardy.

The top picture is my borage seedling, 6 days old.  It has soft and furry cotyledons.  I plan to keep this one indoors for a while as I’d like to be able to see its growth progress.  Actually, I don’t really know if borage can grow well in Malaysia.  I hope it will.  Oh ya  I also read that the plant can take up a lot of space.  Hmmm…

My beautiful little apple seedling…

Variety - Pacific Rose

Variety – Pacific Rose

So this is my first attempt of growing apple tree.  Last September I visited New Zealand.  It was Spring and I was lucky enough to get me some of the last remaining apples at a small old farmer’s apple farm.  The variety that I’d bought was Pacific Rose.  The name rose, as I was told, was due to its sweet smell, hence, rose.   Don’t ask why ‘pacific’ hahahaha…  The taste was deliriously sweet, almost heady.  I managed to bring some home and they were gone soon enough.  And these gorgeously sweet apples (albeit small in size) got me hooked on apples; I am addicted to apples!

So I thought maybe I should try plant the seeds as a memento of that sweet memory of savouring them.  So, based on my reading online, I extracted a few seeds, wrapped them up in moist tissue and place them in a small plastic container and placed them in the fridge.  I waited 2 weeks, occasionally checking to make sure that the medium was moist (but not soaking wet) enough for the seeds to germinate.  It’s said that apple seeds need to be given cold treatment to break dormancy.

After about 2 weeks, sure enough, the seeds started to sprout (sorry I did not take any pic of them) and just for sure, I waited another 1 week before planting the seed in the soil.  I planted the germinated seeds – 4 seeds, 1 Rose, 3 Pacific Rose – each in a polystyrene cup (of course, with a few holes punched at the bottom of each cup for drainage).  This was done on October 31, 2013.  And 2 days after, one seed came up, showing its two little cotyledons.  And on the third day, 3 of the seedlings have come up.

Today, true leaves have come up in all 3 cups.  All pretty green and shiny.

But one cup is still showing no sign of growth.

The remaining still born apple seedling

The remaining still born apple seedling

Yep, nothing in this cup.  I thought maybe the seed was a dud and I’d reuse the medium to plant something else.  To be sure, I gently raked the top soil over to the side of the cup with the tip of a pencil to look for the ‘dead seed’ in the middle and only to find a living seed, still trying to grow.  OK, I’ll wait a few more days…  Yang ni ketinggalan ketapi gamaknye…

All of these seedlings are growing indoors with the help of fluorescent and cool white bulbs (I read that they provide suitable lumens and colour spectrums) and afternoon sun (the window is facing west).