Scribbles in the Sand

All About My Life in Taiwan

Baby Plants!


Day 3 of gardening and it’s already bloody exciting people.

I advise anyone with a balcony or windowsill to go get some vegetables and start growing, because the sheer joy you get when you see your little babies pop out of the soil is just incredible.

On the packets I got the seeds in, the germination time for both the cucumber and Bai Cai (白菜) were 3 – 5 days. With cucumbers having a lower success rate of 35%. Naturally, I was a bit apprehensive as to whether the cucumbers would pop out at all. But to my delight the cucumbers have come out! All three of them!

For the veteran gardeners that are reading this you probably think I’m mad. But I was so happy I did a victory dance on the balcony and shouted “MY CUCUMBERS HAVE GERMINATED” at passers-by below. Okay, so I didn’t shout at the people below, but I totally did a victory dance.

It’s so exciting. Imagine what I’m going to be like when leaves come along! My Bai Cais are also coming up, although they are really really small at the moment.



Veggies aside. I sorted the rose plant and gave it some new soil. I carefully dug it up and found that the soil it had been living in was just dense, soggy clay like soil. So I replaced it with the ‘fancy’ soil I’ve bought and hopefully it will allow the plant to breathe a little. I chopped off all the mouldy bits and just left a couple of leaves and hopefully a flower that will bud soon. So we will see if I can rescue the plant.


The mini-orange tree…well this will be a bit of a larger project for me. As you can see, its looking pretty dead. As its got no leaves so I’m not sure how easy it will be to revive it. I’ve been advised to just take the whole thing out, chop off all the rotten roots and then pop it in the new soil. But I guess thats a project for this weekend.


I also got some mint plants from my mum’s old garden and popped them in a cool recycled bottle pot.I bet you are wondering how that is not rolling off the windowsill. The answer is chopsticks. I stuck to chopsticks to the bottom as stabilisers. They are so handy. I’m not sure if you noticed but I’ve also used chop sticks to prop up my rose plant. All recycled chopsticks.


The mint plants are looking a bit sad I know. My fault. I pulled them out them left them for a few hours before planting them so they went a bit soft, but I’m sure (well, I hope) they will look energised in no time.

Unfortunately, the gardening book that I bought in the end was written in central Japan. While informative, the seasons are all off. So this lead me to do some research into planting veggies in taiwan. I found this fantastic website which uses the key dates of the Taiwanese farmers calendar (lunar calendar) and tells you what to plant when, depending on where you live in taiwan.

Researching planting times have given me a new appreciation of the lunar calendar. The lunar calendar is divided into 24 solar divisions distinguished by the four seasons and times of heat and cold, all bearing close relationships to the yearly cycle of agricultural work. This month (May in the LC) there has been 芒種 (Mang Zhong) and 夏至 (Xia Zhi). The first character of Mang Zhong is the same character as Mango, the second character is planting. So I have always assumed it had something to do with planting Mangos. HA. How wrong was I. 芒種 (Mang Zhong) prompts the farmers to harvest their wheat and start planting rice. Cool huh. The calendar is full of useful farming tips. Im glad that I have got to learn a little more of my own history as well as figure out what I’m planting when. So I’ll be planting tomatoes and chill in August. Fun!

Anyway…… wish me luck and please pass on any good gardening tips 🙂


2 thoughts on “Baby Plants!

  1. It’s exciting when seeds germinate and start to pop out of the soil. It’s like getting confirmation that you’re on the right track 🙂 I’m not an expert but plants can wilt after repotting until they establish their roots again. Mint is a tough plant so it’s likely they’ll be fine. Good tip about using chopsticks for supports!

  2. How are the plants doing? We need to know!

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