4 Oct 2020 Q&A Webinar

Q1. About netting you mentioned last week: is the white window day light curtain same as the netting for our vege ?

No that’s agriculture netting, does not disintegrate under sun and yet can ventilate.

Q2. How big is the self-watering pot for the rosemary you using?

Best around 20 cm diameter if you want to grow it longer. My oldest pot is 4 years old.

Q3. After putting rooted mint in soil, it dies.

Please shade it a bit at least for first 3 to 5 days and keep the soil moist. You must have enough root mass too, not just one or 2 roots but really like the messy hair I showed during the class.

Q4. My soil has earthworms and some tiny shells. Cone shells? What happened?

Earthworm is good. They help to loosen soil. Tiny cone shell, if not moving and empty, very likely is the leftover of cone snails. They are fine. If alive, please pick up and discard.

Q5. What soil is best for rosemary?

They belong to drought resistant herbs. Refer to slide on soil mix.

Q6. Can we do own self-watering system? Any video on your FB about the DIY watering system?

Pots covered in class. But if there is enough interest, we can setup a class on how to make the special L sprout self-watering pots, mix soil, plant your stuffs and bring home post covid. No video online for now.

Q7. Why normal soil and not potting soil? soil = garden soil?

Covered in session 2. Yes, soil is garden soil.

Q8. How to measure pH of soil?

You need a PH meter. Search for PH meter at amazon. The Japanese brand like Takemura is quite good. Cost about $120 to $150.

Q9. Is vegetable mix good enough?

It is ok if you are just planting vegetables and indoor. If outdoor, you probably still need to improve drainage by adding sand/gravels etc. Refer to session 2 on how to improve drainage.

Q10. What are coco chips for?

Typically used by some as top cover for their garden. It looks pretty. But generally, not commonly used for edibles growing.

Q11. When is cocopeat/husk best used?

A general compost:sand of 80:20 ratio is good for beginner growing. However, root vegetables like ginger, sweet potatoes, radish prefer very loose media. So after preparing your media of soil + compost mix. Use that mix and mix with cocopeat at 50:50 ratio, do not add fertilizer to base mix if you are planting rooting vegetables.

Q12. What is the space required for lady’s finger?

About 35cm by 35cm minimum.

Q13. What will happen if transplant too early?

Seedlings are too young and not fully developed, higher chance to suffer transplant shock and die.

Q14. Can I use traditional egg tray for seedings?

Sure. As long as they can withstand 2 to 3 weeks of consistent watering but still stay intact.

Q15. My plant dies. Is it because I only water it in the morning once? Not much sunlight.

Depending on what you grow, plant generally needs sun to grow well. The watering portion, you really need to test the soil like mentioned during session 3.

Q16. Can I water at night after 730pm because I reach home late?

Common for a lot of growers but it is not ideal for plants. May result in pests/fungus issue.

Q17. What if watering into ground, how much water is enough?

After watering, dip fingers into soil and feel if it is well at least 1 inch down. Over time, you will be able to decide by looking at the water draining pattern. Too dry, in one second, all water gone.

Q18. Is it good to put dead leaves over the soil?

Dead leaves are organic matters. It takes time to decompose. During the process, they will fight with your plant for fertilizer. Do up your fertilizer dosage if you intend to do that. Plus, dead leaves give hiding places to pests like snails etc. May give you more issues. Best to keep dead leaves aside and let them decompose or at your composting bin.

Q19. Self-watering – I buy cotton string but it doesn’t work. Cotton string cannot?

Should be able. But size and placement matter too.

Q20. Lining for self-watering pot – Dried wet wipe can work?The lining can use cheese cloth? What is the purpose of putting the lining?

Probably. You can give it a try. As long as the lining can prevent soil from getting out and yet allow water to drain.

Q21. Occasionally leaves grow white fungus, how do we get rid of it ?

What plant? Probably need a photo to diagnose.

Q22. What about NPK 8-8-8. is less than 10 organic?

Bioplus 8:8:8 is certified organic

Q23. Is seaweed fertilizer ok for vege and fruits?

Check out the NPK. Go for higher N for vegetables, higher P and K for fruits. Refer to session 3 slides. Go for seaweed that doesn’t smell for home use.

Q24. What type of fertilizer is suitable for chillies?

Fertilizer with high P and K. I do use Bioplus 8:8:8 or ABS fertilizer to keep pests out.

Q25. Does AB mix also chemical?

AB solution is constructed nutrients. In a way chemical. I have yet to know of pure organic AB mix. I read that US has a form of organic hydro mix in the form of molasses. I have yet to see them in Singapore though. But to plants, they only recognise the basic molecules of ammonium and nitrate. They don’t bother is it is natural or chemical.

Q26. Is it better if we dissolve the fertilizer in water and water the soil?

If it is in solid form, use as solid. If liquid then apply accordingly. I do not see a better result say when soak animal manure and water the plant vs apply as solid as yet.

Q27. For fruiting vegetable, high P& K fertilizer required, but organic fertilizer has low P &K, right? Do we switch to chemical?

The highest natural fertilizer for high P and K is bone meal, bioplus 8:8:8. Yes, chemical will give you very good result, if you don’t mind using them.

Q28. What about homemade fertilizer for food waste? Can you touch on banana peel fertiliser? Which plant is it suitable for and will it attract pests?

In last week response.

Q29. Have problem knowing how much to water. Should I wait how long for water to drain out?

Explained in session 3.

Q30. It is a lot of work to grow vegetables ourselves.What is the main reason for doing so?

The only way to get real natural/organic vegetables frankly is by growing yourself. So yes, many embark on the journey to eat healthy.

Q31. Will you cover hydroponic or aquaponic?

Not in these 4 basic sessions. We do offer as paid session under specialised course.

Q32. How about lemongrass? Does it love water and sun like mint or don’t love water and sun?

They like lots of sun but less water. Probably same amount of water as basil.

Q33. How about this thing call plant vitaliser (eg. HB101), is it necessary?

It is a type of fertiliser and soil enhancer. My apology I do not have lots of experience in this.

Q34. Do we need to sterilize the soil bought from nursery?

Generally, no. But why?

Q35. What soil enzyme for community edible garden.. larger area than home?

I used the same soil enzyme for farm and home. If price is the concern, this version I am using is relatively cost effective for farm actually.

Q36. Bought a potted rosemary from nursery, the plant not thriving, the stems are drying up, how can I salvage the rosemary plant?

You need to change to the right soil mix and repot. At the same time, cut a few cuttings and root them as your second plant. Refer to session 3 under drought resistance herbs.

Q37. Papaya plant (2 plants already) brown in the top and died. Google say soil bacteria. What should I do to the ground plot?

Really need photo. Apology.

Q38. My capsicum plant fruiting (harvested 3), the leaves turn yellow and start to drop off. Will it stop fruiting?

Typically, I see this trend that they will just die off after one full round of fruiting. Frankly I am trying to see if I can prolong the cycle. Still trying.

Q39. Can you suggest good plants for companion planting in Singapore?

I tried. Not good result. Typically, I understand for companion planting, you need to plant whole row and a lot. Not just one or two. As such in space constraint in Singapore, I generally do not see lots of success in that. Would love to learn if you manage to find out how to effectively do that.

Q40. What is the NPK of worm castings?

Generally, like chicken manure. High in N and very low in P and K. But do check out the brand/label when you buy them.

Q41. How to get rid of ants and pets?

For ants, try ants’ gel. Pests, really depends on which/ what pests.

Q42. Does kaffir lime leaf need a lot of water?

Nope. Quite normal. Maybe like mulberry shrub.

Q43. Nai Bai leaves are very prone to having leaf miner. How to avoid it?

Cut the leaves, discard, bag and throw immediately. Over time it will reduce. Do not leave infected leaves around.

Q44. With regards to sand, should we get coarse sand (those used in construction) or lawn (fine) sand?

Coarse sand generally works better for herbs. I do use lawn sand for vegetables as they are easily available. So far not too bad.

Q45. Can we put fertilize anytime of the day?

Yes generally. But if folic fertilizer that you generally spray on leaves, refer to instruction. Some do not like heat.

Q46. Kai Lan is small after 20 days. Put 4 in a small bottle.

I am not sure how big is your bottle. But Kai Lan generally needs about 15x15cm space per stalk.

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