11 Oct 2020 Q&A Webinar

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Q1. How soon must you repot rosemary grown in cocopeat bought from nursery? I will repot into potting mix and perlite 6:4 ratio respectively. Two weeks ago , I bought thyme and rosemary from World Farm nursery and both turned black after 10 days. I had watered them sparingly and kept them in the shade with indirect sunlight.

You must repot as soon as you can. Best within 3 days. Some potting mix are extremely wet and some extremely dry. Try the 5 second test. For rosemary and thyme, they can take soil dry up well. Best to let the soil dry up in-between watering.

Q2. Why are my cucumber flowers dropping and seem to be all male flowers?

Male flowers will appear first, wait for another 3 to 4 weeks, the females should be out.

Q3. My mint leaves keep turning black at the bottom, leaves at the top are nice…so stems are ‘woody’.

Mint like most herbs need pruning regularly. Best every 2 weeks. When they get old, best to start over. Typically 6 months.

Q4. Do herbs need full sun? Basil, mint, cilantro, chives?

Covered in first session on sun for all 4. Do refer back please.

Q5. I am rooting mint per week 2 homework but I only started this week. First few days were ok, then today when I check on it, the leaves look weak, why is it like that?

Please send in picture.

Q6. What are the white spots under my lady’s finger leaves? Can I use alcohol wipe to clean it?

Need a picture, if it is like water droplet, it is actually ok, means okra is healthy.

Q7. Is banana peel enzyme (ie banana peel soaked in water for a few days), suitable as fertilizer? What kind of plants is it suitable for and will it attract pests?

Banana peel is said to be high in P and K and promote flowering. I tried on tomatoes and fruiting vegetables but effect not strong. It smells. Not really suitable for urban settings.

Q8. For fruiting veg, you mentioned last week to fertilize biweekly. Do you mean twice a week or once every two weeks? Biweekly got two meanings 🙂

2 weeks once.

Q9. How long does it take a lemongrass stump to grow enough roots to transfer to soil? It’s been 3 weeks for mine but still no roots.

Very long. Usually at least 1 to 2 months and some lemongrass stalks take forever.

Q10. I used potting mix from the nursery. After some weeks, there were a lot of fungus gnats. I read online that possibly the mix already had gnat eggs in it. Wonder if I should follow some online advice to pour boiling water on the mix to sterilize it before using it?

It will be more effective to sun it. Once your soil is dry, gnats disappear.

Q11. Tomato plant is 1.5m tall with quite a number of flowers but no fruit. Any way to encourage fruiting?

You need to pollinate it if your environment is not windy. Either use a brush or electric toothbrush.

Q12. What soil to use for home composting?

Any soil. Usually I use the not so good soil. So the composting actually makes it better.

Q13. No newspaper lining for home composting?

I don’t because it may invite ants to build nest.

Q14. Can add citrus fruit peels like orange? Too acidic?

To compost? No issue. Any vegetables and fruits peels.

Q15. What is the smallest pot allowed? I read that if it is too small, there won’t be sufficient heat for composting.

I feel it is more on, it fills up way too fast. Typically at least 25cm diameter. If heat is a concern, add a little coffee waste helps.

Q16. Why not blend the vegetables / fruits peels to speed up decomposition?

Yes, very good if you can do it. But to some, it is not green/electricity needed.

Q17. My pandan plant turned yellow despite 2 attempts, due to soil ?

Usually for the first 4 weeks, you may see yellow leaves at the base. Pandan is a slow starter but once established, they are super hardy. They are not fussy to soil.

Q18. Why the green pigment of my Bayam leaves faded?

Need a picture please.

Q19. Did I see that you line your ground bed with plastic sheet?

No I don’t use plastic sheet. I cover my planting ground with anti weed mat when resting it in between growing to keep weeds out.

Q20. If you don’t use chemicals, do you believe that all hydroponics system would be automatically not as healthy?

Let’s put it this way, I choose soil because that’s how our ancestors plant for millions of years. If that doesn’t work, we are already extinct. Huge argument for that in the globe, I would say if the vendor selling you AB solution can explain to you in a convincing way about what’s in there, then go ahead.

Q21. If you add fertilizer weekly to veg, do you still add compost?

No. I only add compost when I treat the soil at end of the cycle and before next planting. Compost is not fertilizer, fertilizer may be a component in compost as covered in session 2.

Q22. Will very hot water kill the mealy bugs in the soil?

Possible. But please dry the soil well before next use.

Q23. How do you know if a plant is female or male?

Depends on what plant. Need to be more specific.

Q24. Why is the underneath of basil leaves has black spots and the top turns yellow?

Most likely your area is too humid, your plant leaves do not have time to dry up before night fall.

Q25. Pandan leaves have some white patches on top of the leaves.

I suspect spider mites. Need a picture.

Q26. How to prune pandan leave? Bottom or chop the top?

Bottom up.

Q27. Will the root become compost too?

Yes. Possible.

Q28. On Germaine’s case, to retain water, can we add vermiculite?

Can but if windy can be a challenge. Better to mulch with coco fibre.

Q29. How do u store mints?

Same as shared. Wrap in paper towel and put in box. Do not press. The other way is to put in a bowl of water if it is just for 2 to 3 days.

Q30. Have you tried beewax wrapper instead of paper towel?

I find beeswax good for freezer but not so much for vegetables storage in fridge as it has this wax layer and does not absorb water well.

Q31. Do you wash or rinse the vege before storing?

For my farm, yes I rinse it before packing (to get rid of soil). But if it is from market, I would say no.

Q32. Kang kong should pull out the whole stock or cutting?

For home planting, I cut, add fertilizer immediately for next growth. Repeat up to 3 cycles.

Q33. How about Chye Sim? Cut it or harvest the whole plant?

I typically harvest the whole plant.

Q34. Can soil that has algae be used again?

Yes if you treat it like at soil treatment slide at session 4.

Q35. Only use peels? What if lemon has some pulps in it? Can we freeze the peel first and wait for enough to accumulate?

Yes. No issue. I did that too.

Q36. How often should I use fruit enzyme for soil? Everyday? Every Week? Once a month?

For pests, best every week for maintenance. If pest infected already, then daily. For soil, every soil treatment cycle.

Q37. How to save a papaya plant when all leaves turn yellow and the top baby leaves are rotting?

Doubt can save the papaya plant. Suspect wet roots, papaya needs good drainage and hate water clogged.

Q38. I have a container of orange peels with water but no sugar for about 2 months already. Does that work?

No. You need the sugar to work.

Q39. Do we need to add lime to reduce soil acidity? If so, how often?

If you measure the PH and confirm it’s acidic then adding industrial lime will adjust it. But please measure before and after adjustment. Use only when PH is out and test before each planting cycle.

Q40. Soil treatment – water with garbage enzyme?

You can but the best effect is with commercial soil enzyme.

Q41. When you said container farming, do I drill holes into the base of the containers? I would prefer not to use pots. Something that looks like raised beds would be great. Can I place the containers directly on the grass/soil?

Yes, you can use any outdoor containers with drainage at the base. Yes, best to mow the lawn before placing it on top.

Q42. Soil treatment – mix compost with fertilizer. What kind of fertilizer?

Any manure is good. I prefer goat/sheep manure over chicken because of hormones used commonly on chicken. But chicken manure is cheaper.

Q43. Do we need to wear a mask when mixing/handling soil?

Best to do so and glove too.

Q44. What is the name of the commercial enzyme Wan Ying is using?

AGN Lite Organic. I buy through a farm as it is not selling to retail yet. Can work on a group buy if there is enough interest. This is our telegram group for group buy: https://t.me/joinchat/MRwJ61X8aUkT12Y4CGWm8g. You can click to join.

Q45. Is coffee ground not suitable as fertiliser or compost for any edibles?

You can add as kitchen waste into composting but max 10% as coffee tends to be acidic.

Q46. On Germaine’s case, how about using translucent black mesh instead along the glass to reduce the direct heat?

Black mesh will block out the sun. We want the sun but reduce the heat.

Q47. What is good soil mix for lime plants?

Following fruiting vegetables mix soil:compost:sand (50:30:20) should work.

Q48. I bought a new pot of chili plant but subsequently small snails and spider mites all over my plants, so far have been controlled with weak soapy water. but the spider mites still return. Can I save this pot of plant? Shall I change the soil ?

Small snails need to hand pick, bag and throw. Spider mites need daily spray of sulphur soap formula until they are gone: https://www.nparks.gov.sg/nparksbuzz/issue-37-vol-…. Spray before the sun is out. Usually changing soil doesn’t help.

Q49. How much sun is suitable for tomatoes?

At least 6 to 8 hours to fruit well.
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