Harvested some caixin from my HDB community garden plot this evening for my dinner. These are organically grown veggies and need just a quick rinse as I did not use any pesticide. They also taste really good! Farming, for me, has become a daily (almost) meditative practice. I take a walk to the garden, water the plants, remove the weeds and marvel at how some of them are growing really well. Sometimes I find myself touching the leaves like how people ruffle the fur of cute doggies. 😀
Some Uni undergrads doing research for their projects recently asked me if I would consider this “farming” (or myself a “farmer”) due to the scale of what we are doing. We don’t have acres and acres of land to grow lots of crops, but I do still consider this farming. What else would it be called? I said to them that whether you get 0 or 100 for your exams, you’re still a student, right? So whether my small plot of land is giving me 1 bunch of caixin or 100kg of caixin, it’s still farming. Next question please. 😛
Though everyone will tell you that caixin is one of the easiest vegetables to try and grow at home or in your garden, no one really expounds on the hard work involved.
First, you have to prepare the ‘land’ / soil. You have to get rid of all the weeds / grass (and they’ll certainly grow back again, faster than any veggie or plant). Then you have to loosen up the soil. Then you sow the seeds. (And you might want to pray that they’ll grow) And you water the plot at least once a day. And you do regular weeding. And don’t forget about the organic fertiliser and/or compost to give your young plants the nutrients they need.
(And yes, sometimes you say a silent prayer of thanks when it rains, and you don’t have to walk all the way to the garden to water the plants)
Often, I feel that I’m watering the land with my very own sweat. I’ll be doing the weeding and perspiring as the sun’s rising higher up in the sky. And I’m squatting till blood circulation to my legs is almost cut off.
As it’s my first time growing edibles in a garden, I didn’t quite know what to do. The seeds were sown too close to each other, so the plants ended up competing for space and nutrients. Will do better the next time round:
And yes, if you’re eagle-eyed enough to spot the kailan, that’s what will be on the menu next when they’re fully grown. 😀
And I’m probably considered one of the lucky ones. Some of my neighbors have long bean or tomato plants which even after weeks and months of care, end up not bearing any fruit! Then you basically have to tear everything down, and start all over again. (I’d totally feel like crying)
At the moment, I have caixin, kailan, tomato, mint, ladies finger, and a torenia plant which gives me edible flowers for my homemade desserts. I’m really looking forward to the kailan, which is one of my favorite veggies. Maybe I should grow kale next as it’s really expensive even if you get it at supermarkets.
For dinner tonight, I steamed a platter of veggies and tofu, and cooked some noodles with an egg. 😀 I found the caixin especially sweet. 😀
I wish the farmers in Mexico who produced these asparagus would have a chance to taste the caixin I’ve grown. 😀 From one farmer to another. 🙂 🙂 🙂