Frost-free Gardening in Hong Kong

It’s wonderful to live in an area where I can enjoy frost-free gardening year round. Fall is officially here. Chung Yeung, a grave-sweeping holiday in Hong Kong, is past and it usually means you can expect cooler weather anytime. Well, it’s true, the evenings are cooler and the air is drier, but the days are still toasty warm.

Frost-free Gardening

Bean sprout

For me, Chung Yeung signals the beginning of a new gardening season. It’s a dry season, with occasional rain. I let my garden rest in the summer and maintain what can cope with the severe conditions on my rooftop. Then, when Fall arrives I am in full-swing, sowing seeds, chilling bulbs, and tidying up the garden in preparation for planting out again.

Enjoying frost-free gardening in Hong Kong

Frost-free gardening is a lot of fun. If you are new to gardening in a warm climate, and are wondering how to plan your garden jobs, just think of Fall like it’s Spring. I always think of Summer like the Northern Winter when gardens get to have a good rest. It isn’t impossible to have a garden here in the summer and there are plants that love the heat and rain, like ¬†sweet potatoes and ginger, eggplant and cucumbers, to name a few.

The beauty of living in a frost-free climate is that I get to garden outside year round. I’m already in the full swing of things. I have some of my seeds started already. Tomatoes, Rainbow Swiss chard, kale, borage and Ipswich pinks are all up inside, and outside, beans are pushing through the ground. I love this time of year!

Frost-free Gardening

I’m especially excited about the Borage and Ipswich Pinks as they are seed I saved from various places on my trip to Canada this year. I collected the Borage seed from a friend’s garden in New Brunswick. Whenever I look at them I remember the surprise visit we paid to my friend. That gives me a lot of joy. The Ipswich Pinks are giving me great joy too, because they are from seed I collected from plants that I planted in my greenhouse 20 years ago! The original plants were grown from seed that I purchased from Thompson and Morgan, an English seed company. What’s even more amazing is that the original plants have survived this long.

One of my Fall garden chores is to lift my lily bulbs and Amaryllis, (Hippeastrum sp), because if I want them to bloom again, I need to give them a period of cold. I usually take off all the dirt, let them dry out and then wrap them in newspaper and place them in the chiller drawer of my fridge. I had great success with my Amaryllis last year. I gave it 6 weeks, but anywhere from 6-8 weeks is good. Chilling lily bulbs is a trial for me this year. They need about 10-12 weeks of chilling. The leaves of my lilies never died back, so I dug them up and now I’m letting them die and dry out before I put them in the fridge with the Amaryllis. Wish me luck! If you don’t let the leaves die back, you limit the possibility of flower buds forming in the bulb for next season. So, this could be interesting. I’ll let you know how they turned out!

Yesterday, I had a pleasant surprise in the garden. I found that my edible ginger had finally produced some blooms. If I hadn’t documented the moment yesterday, I would have missed it! They flowers are dried up today. Maybe more will come? I don’t know. Wait and see.

Frost-free Gardening

Ginger flower

This year, if I have space, I’ll be growing beans, (already up), carrots, lettuce varieties, Swiss chard, kale, tomatoes, onions and chives. I want to try to grow peas again too, hopefully with a little more success than I’ve had in the past! And wouldn’t it be fun to have a bag of potatoes sitting in the corner producing lots of lovely tubers? Hmmmm, space is my problem, or the lack thereof.

What’s happening in your garden this time of year?


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