How to regrow endless vegetables in urban homes with limited space
Success guaranteed! Useful tips on how to regrow veggies that we Asians love! Garlic, Shallots, Water spinach/Kang Kong, Bean & pea sprouts, Sweet Potatoes.
There are many posts about regrowing store-bought veggies , but I can't find many posts about regrowing edibles that Asians love, so I'd like to share how I have successfully grown them. These ideas are also fool-proof, as long as you don't mess it up too badly, you will definitely be able to enjoy the food from your own mini-garden!
How to grow endless edibles at home when you have limited space and planting skills? Here are a few ideas:
(1) Root shallots 蔥, garlics 蒜 in plastic egg containers.
Poke holes in the bottom of the containers so cloves of garlic/shallots will be soaked with just a bit of water at the bottom. The shape of the egg containers will keep the cloves upright so only the bottom touches water to prevent rotting.
Put them by the window, exposed to morning sunlight.
Wait to let the roots grow long and lush before repotting.
Harvest the spring onions when the shoots have grown tall.
(2) Root water spinach/morning glory (aka Kang Kong 空心菜/通菜) in glass jars
This is possibly the easiest Asian's favourite veggie that can be regrown easily.
Look for little white nodes under the leaves, cut out the top and bottom of the plant but keep the node and one leaf. The root will grow from the node and the leaf will provide food to the plant. Keep only one leaf as more leaves will create burden to the rootless plant
Put the cut-out in a glass jar, making sure the node is under water but the leaf is exposed.
Place the jar near the window and wait about 5 days until the root systems grow. Pot them in moist soil, keep it indoors for 3 days before putting outside under sunlight
To harvest, just cut the top part, keeping at least one pair of leaves on the plant and it will continue to grow.
Tips: If you see pests on the leaves, you can get rid of them using a simple and safe spray that I like to use: 1-2 drops of dish soap diluted with a 500ml water, shake well. The dish soap will wash away the pests naturally and also kill them by stopping their ability to breath.
(3) Grow maple peas (aka doumiao 豆苗）from seeds
Buy a pack of dried maple peas, soak them for a few hours (max. 8 hours), put inside a shallow plastic container, covered slightly with cocopeat or potting soil.
Water it everyday but don't soak with too much water. Put it by the window with sunlight, mist it when the coco peat is too dry. Harvest when the shoots have grown to 15-20 cm tall.
When you harvest, cut the top part and leave at least 1 pair of leaves, it will regrow and you can harvest a few more times before the plant dies.
To grow the plant into maturity, just pot in in soil and it will grow into a plant with beautiful white pea flower.
Perfect as salad or garnish for dishes:
Tips: grow at least one rice bowl of maple peas each time so you have enough harvest for a dish. (we Asians love rice so much we measure with rice bowls)
(4) Sprout Alfafa beans and green bean sprouts 綠豆芽 in glass jars
Sprouts have great nutrients and they are yummy as sides and salads.
Soak the beans/peas in water for 6-8 hours, drain the water.
Put them in a glass container and cover it with a cloth or a fine mesh.
Put the container in a dark place away from any light, or cover it with a bigger container.
Rinse the beans 3 times a day and put it back in the dark place.
Ready to eat after 3 -4 days!
Tips: It is important to keep the sprouts dark because once it develops chlorophyll and leaves, it loses nutrients and taste. I find that green bean sprouts tastes best on the 3rd day before the roots get too long and fibrous.
(5) Grow sweet potato leaves quickly, and sweet potatoes in a few months
Eating stir-fried sweet potato leaves is a uniquely Asian thing. Chinese like to eat it stir-fried with garlic, and the Southeast-Asians like to stir-fry it with sambal or other forms of chilli paste. Rooting it is so easy, and it just amazingly keeps growing and growing!
No skills involved - put the whole sweet potato in a pot of deep soil. Water it daily. Trust me, it will just grow.
Once shoots grow out, separate the shoots, making sure each bunch of leaves have it's own roots.
Plant them separately in pots of soil, water everyday and give it lots of sunlight.
Once they grow lots of leaves, cut out the tip of the plants, trim away some leave in the bottom, leaving the white nodes intact.
Plant the cut-outs by covering the white nodes with soil. Water it thoroughly, leave it in the shade for 3 days before putting it under the hot sun.
Tips: Sweet potatoes are so easy to grow and they are so nutritious. If you have some space in your balcony or small garden that has lots of sunlight, you can try growing them at home. In about 3 month you will be able to dig up some yummy sweet potatoes, imagine how fun it will be for your family. Remember to give it a boost by fertilising it once every 2 weeks.
Today's post is about veggies that Asians love, and are super easy and fast to grow.
If you are interested in growing ginger and pumpkins (they take longer time), please click the pictures below to see my other posts:
Thank you! I hope you will enjoy planting edibles as much as I do. Next, I will post my experience growing papayas, bak choy and herbs in my humble home. Stay tuned! ^_^