This year, one of the hobbies I took up was planting my own edibles and I have taken some online classes to better equip me on the subject. I cannot understand when people tell me life is boring when there are so many things to learn, and never enough time!
Well, we live in Macao, which is far from the most exciting place on earth – but I see this down time as an opportunity to learn so many new things (and about myself) because there is time to do so given that there isn’t much else I’d rather do given that the nightlife scene isn’t my thing.
I don’t have green thumbs, unlike my parents and the forest of a garden they tend to at home in Singapore. Most plants die on me after a week, so I was excited and pleasantly surprised with how well my seeds are sprouting and growing and it’s been really encouraging.
As long as there’s sunlight or natural light in some part of the house, I realise that’s all you need to get things growing. I was watering enthusiastically everyday but learnt that this isn’t great because in the humidity of Macau the soil gets damp and bugs like the gnats seem to grow out of nowhere and multiply!
It has been a pain point, but I finally figured out the winning formula. I had thrown out the soil, along with my tomato plants that were dying, repotted everything. It was good for two days before gnats miraculously started making another appearance.
Here’s what to do:
- Buy some gravel or sand, I prefer the former as it’s more porous and made for household plants and allows water to seep through to the soil. It blankets the top layer of soil, so any eggs that hatch, the gnats will be stuck under and hopefully die!
- This is a new trick I found on Pinterest and it works like a charm – 4 cloves of garlic, 5 small spicy chillies blended with half a cup of water, I wasn’t sure about the dish soap so I left that out since it’s all edibles that I’m planting. Sieve this and then use the solution to spray on your plants. It’s potent and very spicy, so you’d want to leave your windows open for some ventilation. It made me sneeze alot and my eyes water, but the good news is it wards off the bugs and kills them at the same time! Here’s my board on Pinterest for gardening ideas.
- OH! And do not throw the dried and dead leaves back into the soil – it decomposes and then breeds gnats and bugs!! I thought it would be good compost – but DO NOT do that!
- I water the plants every 2-3 days instead of daily and find that they grow faster and better. The husband says “you need to make them work for the water” so apparently they grow faster. Seems to work so far.
Good luck with your gardening and tell me how it goes! In Macau, Diaso sells the plants support, gravel etc for just 15MOP. I also occasionally empty my used coffee grounds to the soil because I read that the nitrates help as a natural fertiliser.
For soil, I get the potting soil near the Red market and also at the Nursery in Taipa (close to Kafka café at the Hope Clinic). The nursery is at the deadend.