Growing Kang Kong at Singapore Home
Kangkong, water morning glory, river spinach, ong choy, kong xin cai, rau muống, trokuon, kalmi saag, kalmi shak, thooti koora, hayoyo – are just some of the many names it is known as in the South East Asian region. This easily grown vegetable is often cooked in various styles – where Sambal Kang Kong, Kang Kong stir fried with garlic and oyster sauce, a bunch of Kang Kong in a bowl of Yong Tao Foo soup, are perhaps the more common culinary variations of this vegetable.
Ask Ah Gong or Ah Ma what is an easy to grow and quick to harvest vegetable? 9 out of 10 times they will tell you it is Kang Kong! Many from the older generation would be familiar with picking vegetables like kang kong grown abundantly by the pond or drain in their kampung during the humble war time days. Kang Kong being abundantly available even in war time conditions simply shows its inherent ability to thrive without much TLC (tender loving care) and of course its love for our local weather and climate. So newbies to vegetable farming, kang kong is definitely something you would want to begin with on your farming adventure. The Kang Kong plant is as forgiving as it gets.
With sufficient sunlight exposure and plenty of water, the leaves of kang kong can be harvested in as little as 60 days from sowing.
How to grow from seed?
After removing seeds from the water, gently bury/ insert the seeds 1 cm deep into a seedling tray or growing pot filled with potting mix. Space the planting of each seed at least 2cm apart to give room for when these kang kong seedlings mature and grow leaves. If the seedlings are grown too close to one another, little sunlight would be able to permeate onto the bottom shoots as the leaves grow dense above..
How to grow from cuttings?
If you do not have access to Kang Kong seeds, you may choose to grow them from cuttings as well. Simply choose a healthy bundle of kangkong leaves when you buy them at the market. You can use the top leafy portions for cooking, but leave the bottom 15cm portion, approximately up to the 4th leaf node for planting. Soak this lower portion of the cuttings in water for a week, noting to change the water every couple of days. Transplant the cuttings to the ground or a container filled with soil as soon as the roots appear.
Water plenty and keep in the shade at the beginning till the plant stabilizes. Afterwhich, you may expose the kang kong plant to full sun. Continue watering good amounts of water – Kang Kong thrives in the moisture and heat!
Soil types for optimal growth:
Kang Kong plants thrive optimally in well drained soil. Germinate seeds or transplant the cuttings to the ground or a container filled with rich loamy soil. Loam is soil composed mostly of sand, silt, and a smaller amount of clay.
5.5 – 7.0
Kang Kong plants once germinated need plenty of sunlight. For mature plants, you would be looking at providing at the very least 6 hours of sunlight to the plant.
While germinating, keep soil moist – not over soaking in water such that seeds over soak, soften and rot (die).
After seeds have germinated, go ahead and water plenty! Water good amounts of water – Kang Kong thrives in the moisture and heat!
By the window where plenty of sunlight is available would be a good spot to position your plant.
If not, any other positions that receive good amounts of sunlight (especially morning sunlight) can work too – HDB corridors, balcony, verandas, etc.