Updated: Apr 11
Have you ever dreamt of retiring to a faraway land, somewhere on a farm, so that you can have an abundance of land for your freshly grown veggies?
Who says this can’t be the dream in Singapore?
Growing your own Vegetables in Singapore
We all know the perks of having our very own edible garden. It spruces up our home, it can promote healthy eating to our children and saves us money and a trip to the supermarket with fresh produce on demand.
However, we empathise with the many inexperienced or first-time gardeners who are often worried about their lack of green thumb.
Singapore’s Tropical Climate
When beginning your edible garden, or generally gardening in Singapore, we must remember that Singapore is HOT, and not many fruits and vegetables enjoy such a climate. Before starting on any project, do some basic research online and look to grow plants that thrive and grow in the heat.
Let us now dig into the 10 easiest vegetables to grow in Singapore.
10 Easiest Vegetables to Grow in Singapore
Vegetables can be categorised into leafy vegetables and fruiting vegetables. Both types of vegetables can often be harvested in a short period of time. Leafy vegetables usually take only three weeks to three and a half months to grow, while fruiting vegetables tend to take longer and take four to seven months to grow.
1. Kang Kong (Water Spinach)
Kang Kong is categorised as leafy vegetables. From our personal experience, Kang Kong is probably the easiest edible to start with when gardening at home.
There is no denying the love Singaporeans have for Kang Kong. Its ability to hold seriously saucy flavours like our favourite sambal and mala is a must-have for family meals.
Kang Kong also thrives in tropical climates like Singapore. They are so resilient and will forgive you if you forget to water them once in a while. This is evident from its abundance even in wartime conditions, showing its ability to thrive!
Kang Kong thrives best in well-draining soil. It requires full sun and moderate watering. When it is time to harvest, simply cut all the top leaves off your Kang Kong, sparing two leaf nodes from the roots.
Harvest Time: 30 – 60 days
Culinary Uses: The leaves and stems are eaten raw, blanched, or stir-fried
2. Bayam (Chinese Spinach)
Bayam is a leafy vegetable. It may not be as common as Kang Kong but it can be just as delicious. A bonus is that they look really pretty too, coming in both green and red varieties. Also referred to as Chinese spinach, Bayam makes for a delightful salad ingredient with a generally sweet, tangy flavour profile. They are high in vitamins A, B, and C, and are also high in protein.
Similar to Kang Kong, Bayam is also resilient and has similar plant care. Put your Bayam in well-draining soil and give them 6 hours in the sun daily. When it is time to harvest, you can cut ALL its leaves off, and it is still able to continue to grow. However, for effectiveness, make sure to leave one or two leaves behind on the stem to keep them growing.
It is easiest to grow Bayam through cuttings and propagation, instead of seeds. You may choose a healthy bundle of spinach leaves from the supermarket and remove the bottom 15cm portion, which you can then transplant to the soil after a week of soaking in water. However, if you opt for seeds, as they are extremely small, make sure that the seed has enough space to germinate. You can scoop a teaspoon of seeds onto your palm and gently blow them towards your soil so they don’t “bunch” together in a single spot.
Harvest Time: 25 – 56 days
Culinary Uses: The leaves are eaten raw in salads or steamed. Yellow and green dyes can be extracted from this plant.
3. Xiao Bai Cai (Baby Pak Choi)
Xiao Bai Cai is also a type of leafy vegetable. Although they are considered a cool-season crop, they are happy growing in our climate.
Xiao Bai Cai, also known as Baby Pak Choi may require slightly more care compared to Kang Kong and Bayam. Put them in well-draining soil and be careful not to subject them to the extreme afternoon heat.
Cut off the plant at the soil level when harvesting bok choy for the whole plant. You may also just cut off the leaves that you will use at one time and let the rest grow on. Surprisingly, immature plants provide the sweetest, most tender leaves and stems.
Harvest Time: 33 days
Culinary Uses: The green-stemmed variety has a milder flavour, more tender leaves and less juicy stems than the white-stemmed variety. The leaves are eaten boiled, blanched, or stir-fried
4. Kale (Dwarf Kale)
Kale, also known as Dwarf Kale is a type of leafy vegetable. Dwarf kale is only one of the few varieties suitable for Singapore weather.
They are a fantastic, nutritious source of vitamins A, C, and K and are known for being packed with a host of antioxidants. Dwarf Kale grows best in well-draining soil and requires full sun and moderate watering.
Harvest Time: 50-60 days
Culinary Uses: The leaves are eaten raw in salads, added to juices or baked into crisps
5. Spring Onion
Spring onions are leafy vegetables. There is no denying that they are used as a staple garnish for many of our foods, from Carrot Cake, Fried oysters and Soups! For the amount of flavour that they pack, they grow in a ridiculously short amount of time.
They enjoy moist soil and make sure it gets at least six hours of strong sunlight. They get taller and taller, and if you let them grow tall enough, they might even surprise you with edible flowers that you can garnish your dishes with. When you are ready to harvest, just snip off the amount you need from the leaves, and they will grow right back.
Harvest Time: 5 – 7 days
Culinary Uses: The leaves are usually used as a garnish, eaten raw or lightly stir-fried
6. Chilli Peppers
The first fruiting vegetables on the list, chilli peppers probably occupy most of our kitchen racks. Instead of tossing their seeds away after a busy day in the kitchen, you may plant them and get a convenient supply of them in the comfort of your home!
If you are planning to plant the seeds harvested from your kitchen, make sure to rinse and dry your extracted seeds overnight as less moisture brings you better results in the growth process. Chillies grow best in well-draining soil and require full sun and moderate watering, once every 2-3 days.
Harvest Time: 60 – 70 days
Culinary Uses: The fruit may be used in various forms – fresh, dried, ripe, immature, cooked or raw. It is popularly used in various dishes like soups and salads
7. Cherry Tomatoes
Cherry tomatoes are also fruiting vegetables and thrive in our climate. They flourish best in well-lit areas and perfectly fit in small spaces like windowsills or HDB corridors since they only grow to about 30cm – 70cm.
They grow best in sandy clay loam soil and require at least six hours of direct sunlight and moderate watering. However, don’t feel tempted to shield them when the sun gets merciless.
Harvest Time: 70 – 90 days
Culinary Uses: The fruit is eaten raw or cooked and used to make condiments and drinks
8. Brinjal (Eggplant)
Brinjal, also known as Eggplant is a fruiting vegetable. The name Eggplant is derived from the shape of the fruit of some varieties, which are white and resemble chicken eggs.
This edible grows best in well-draining soil and requires full sun and moderate watering.
Harvest Time: 65 – 80 days
Culinary Uses: The fruit is cooked and eaten as a vegetable. In Indonesia, there is a light green, elongated version that is eaten raw.
Cucumbers are fruiting vegetables. Similar to chillis, you can get them from your supermarket to grow them at home. You can do this by scooping out its seeds and giving them a quick rinse. Remember to pay attention to stubborn pulp clinging to the edges as this might hinder healthy growth.
Similar to other fruiting vegetables, cucumbers grow best in well-draining soil and require full sun and moderate watering.
Harvest Time: 50 – 60 days
Culinary Uses: The fruit has high water content, and makes a great thirst quencher. It is eaten raw, used in salads, or pickled. The young shoots may be eaten raw or steamed in Southeast Asian dishes.
10. Okra (Lady’s Fingers)
Okra, also known as Lady’s Fingers, are fruiting vegetables. You either hate them or love them because of their slimy texture.
Like cherry tomatoes, they grow best in well-draining soil and exposing these plant pods to strong sun rays for at least six hours daily works best. Lady’s Fingers may be trickier than other plants above as they are prone to infections like downy mildew. They can be identified by white spots on their leaves. If you spot them, be sure to remove them immediately.
Harvest Time: 55 – 65 days
Culinary Uses: Some studies have shown that the fruit contains very high levels of antioxidants. The immature fruit is eaten raw or cooked as a vegetable and is usually added to curries and stews.
Starting Your Edible Garden from Scratch
A basic gardening starter kit involves a few pots or a planter box, seeds, soil and plant fertiliser. The key to a thriving edible garden is your resilience to try and try again. Remember that plants are hardy living things and wish to survive as much as we do.
From the Beginning – Sowing Your Seeds
If you opt for growing your edibles from seeds, the rule of thumb for sowing them is to plant them at a depth of twice the seed’s width. Since seeds come in different shapes and sizes, larger seeds should be planted deeper than smaller ones. Remember to be patient, as the time required for seeds to germinate may vary.
You may either mix your own growing medium or purchase a pre-mixed seed raising medium. They usually contain frass, coir peat, sand, perlite, compost or other soil amendments to keep it moist yet free-draining and suitable for seeds to grow in.
After sowing your seeds, pat them down in the soil. Afterwards, water it using a spray bottle. Remember to prevent the soil from drying out, but also, not to overwater to avoid the growth of mould.
Best Growing Conditions for Your Plants
For a plant to be healthy and experience healthy growth, it requires remembering 5 things:
Adequate Light: The vegetables mentioned above tend to require 4–6 hours of direct sun a day.
Atmosphere: Plants require the right balance of atmosphere! It should not be too hot and dry, or else the soil may dry out. Too wet and mould and mildew could be a problem
Temperature: Every plant has its optimal temperature to thrive. High temperatures may result in heat stress, and excess sun exposure may cause leaf burn in some plants. If there is too much sun in your planting area, consider using a shade cloth. Alternatively, you can grow sun-loving, vining plants like Bitterfourd and luffa on an overhead trellis to offer shade to your other plants.
Water Supply: Too little and the plant will wilt and may never recover. Leaves may also fall prematurely and produce a poor yield. Similarly, too much water can cause waterlogging, root rot, and depletion of oxygen in the soil.
Fertiliser: Deficiencies in nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium will impair the growth of the plant. It is crucial to feed your plants with fertiliser, also ensuring you feed them trace minerals
Fertilising Your Vegetables
Many people tend to forget this step or are afraid that they will over-fertilise. If you are afraid of over-fertilising, organic fertilisers like frass and manure are usually the way to go.
We are spoilt for choice as there are many kinds of fertilisers available on the market. Here is why frass stands out among the many types of fertilisers.
Frass is an organic and complete fertiliser. It not only contains all the macronutrients needed in the growth of our products, but it also contains chitin, which is found in the exoskeletons of insects. Chitin’s benefits to plants include improving their immune system and supporting the defence from pests and diseases. If you are looking to purchase organic insect frass, check out our Insect Feed Technologies fertiliser on our website. Happy planting.