(Updates) Various updates

Semi-hydroponics lettuce – Day 23

This batch of lettuces (local, butterhead, buttercrunch and iceberg) all get the full morning sun, and my bright table light at night.

Melaleuca alternifolia seedlings

They are taking a VERY long time to grow fast!

Chocolate mint

And, from the kindness of Rummi’s heart, she gave me some free cuttings from the choc mint bunch I sold her (I need to wait for my basil mint to grow out and then root for her!). They are now doing really well in the semi-hydroponics setup with full morning sun and nighttime lamp.


Various updates

Red spider mites

I finally went Petunia’s method and spent over two hours soaping all my mints down and then rinsing them off. They’re a bit limp now, but will perk up soon.

Gonna repeat this over the weekend.

High Brix Farming

After reading Kelmund’s thread on high brix farming, I went to put about two tablespoonfuls of raw sugar into six pots of mints and into my sawtooth coriander.

The mints are all placed together. I’m going to see if when the RSMs next attack, will the mints with the sugar in the soil be affected or not.

This was how much sugar I put in the pot of my sawtooth coriander.

Green mint – mentha verdis

Growing well after three months. Leaves are getting bigger. They seem happy.

Tea tree seedlings

Some have grown true leaves already. They are still really tiny though. Less than 4mm tall.

Semi-hydroponics lettuces

Not bad going.

(Harvesting | Sowing) Pak choy | Lettuces

Pak choy experiment

So the results are as such:

1. Pure hydro solution – only one pak choy turned out good. The other was stunted;
2. Semi-hydro – both pak choys turned out the best
3. Water reservoir – not good for veggies.

Maybe because the sun is shifting positions or something, but that’s not really the case – the semi-hydro veggies turned out very healthy and strong.

The two semi-hydro in the foreground.

Semi-hydroponics: lettuces

I started a plastic container of semi-hydroponics lettuce yesterday. Filled four thumbpots with soil, stuck cords of twine through them to induce capillary action, and placed two lettuce seeds into each pot:
1. Butterhead lettuce – Oh Chin Huat
2. Buttercrunch lettuce – Ebay
3. Iceberg lettuce – Ebay (more for experiment’s sake, since icebergs don’t do well in the tropics)
4. Local lettuce – Ban Lee Huat.

I didn’t label the pots: would rather be surprised and amused. Placed the container in a brightly-lit area and seeds in two pots have already sprouted today. =)

Small little sprout in the middle of the picture.

(Updates | Harvesting | Cleared)

Sharp-leaf spinach

Cleared two hydroponic bottles of sharp-leaf spinach plants because they were so deformed by the red spider mites’ attacks. Kept one bottle and one vermiculite one.

The picture shows a leaf scarred by the mites.

Butterhead and local lettuces

Harvested since they got toppled from their hydroponics bottles by the wind and rain anyway.

Piper sarmentosum

Pruned the piper sarmentosum heavily because it was top-heavy.

The leaves are almost as big as my palm. What HAVE I been feeding my plants with?!

Lemon myrtle

I forgot about my surviving lemon myrtle plant for months, and it was only when it half-toppled from the rain and strong winds today that I took notice of it when I went to rearrange plants and clear dead ones.

It. Is. Huge.

Not as huge as my lemon eucalyptus (I don’t know why I’m comparing…) but still.

What have I been feeding them?!


Sometimes, left alone to grow on their own, plants seem to grow a lot more happily and a lot lusher than if we were to fuss over them every tiny bit. That’s the lesson I’ve learnt.

Of course, I still do the almost-daily checks for pests and stuff, but generally, my regieme is to water once a day unless it storms/is the stormy season; feed with dilute fish emulsion on Wednesdays and Sundays; and spray with dilute seaweed extract everyday. No big job. Can be done in less than 20 minutes.

When I went to check them out this late afternoon, my plants seem to have taken some sort of steroids (okay, in the form of fish emulsion and seaweed extract) without my knowledge (yeah, right) and my growing area has become so lush (read: almost messy) that I’m tempted to do hard pruning or stuff.

Basil pot

These few stalks of basils (Italian Genovese Basil and something else, I think) were given to me by Jolantru. They’ve also gone through a fair share of attacks and stuff.

Totem cherry tomatoes

Now I understand why those heirloom tomato growers say they are granny toms. So slow!

Heirloom lemon basil

This heirloom lemon basil plant is the sole survivor from about three seeds sowed; the two other seedlings died off for some reason. This one has survived an attack of red spider mites, getting severe leaf burn from my home-made white oil, hard pruning, and has bounced back to show me its lush, green leaves.

Butterhead lettuce

The second butterhead lettuce that was only recently transferred to pure hydroponics solution and given the afternoon sun has sprouted many lush green leaves.

I’ve learnt my lesson – eat hydroponics veggies with sauce to take away the blandness.

Local lettuce

Growing a whole lot bigger too. I wonder how different they taste from the butterhead.

Lemon eucalyptus

This plant is showing off an early potential to become the tree that it really is. The tips have already bent over slightly from touching the ceiling. Now where the hell do I put it?

(Harvested | Hydroponics) Butterhead lettuce

Harvested my hydroponics butterhead lettuce today. It looked really lush.

It’s now sitting in a bowl of water to soak and dilute any taste of bitterness in case the heat had made it bitter.

Washed the bottle thoroughly of the algae built up. It’s now clean and ready for the next hydroponics use.

The roots. A bit overgrown with algae.

Soaking in water to get rid of any possible bitter taste acquired because it’s been too warm.

(Hydroponics) Butterhead lettuce

First butterhead lettuce to be placed in pure hydro solution has grown even more lush than before. Its leaves are flopping here and there, making it messy. But it’s cute, nonetheless.

What intrigues me is that even though I’ve placed all the hydroponics plants together, most of the others have red spider mites attached to them. This one has remained unscathed since the first.

Good lettuce!

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