Kangkong - Water Spinach

Kangkong, Water Spinach or Ipomoea aquatica and in Thai its Paak Buong can be found in abundance in the S.E Asia region. They are use as vegetable and many dishes use this plant.
I prefer raw, since I plant this then its safe for me to consume it raw. Otherwise if its from the market I would refrain myself from that indulgence.
I grow these from cuttings, normally they are sold at the supermarkets with their roots intact. Cut that portion and use it as growth material. I would get about 70% success rate. 

Sometimes when I go to the wet market, this is where old ladies or Chinese Nyonya sell vegetables.
These nice Nyonyas will be more than happy to give me the root cuttings. Probably one less garbage for them to worry about.
There are few variety of Kangkong here, two of which are commonly use as vegetable. The cultivated Kangkong as shown here and the wild Kangkong, where the stem is more darker in color.
In the old days, this plant is consider as worthless, because they can be found almost every where.
Kangkong can be use as feed for the Tilapia instead of Duckweed.

Its best to feed them in the morning where no other foods are given, then they'll eat otherwise they will go for the pellets or other food first.

Its interesting to watch when these Tilapias feeding on the Kangkong.

Serai - Lemon Grass

Serai or Cymbopogon citratus (Lemon Grass) is a common plant for the kitchen in S.E. Asia region. They are use for various dishes. Thai and Malay cooking use lots of this plant.

Commonly grown on Sandy Loam this plant thrive without any care or maintenance. Lemon Grass are commercially grown to provide essential oil extract or for domestic use in cooking.

I am testing this plant in Aquaponics, being a plant that require dry sandy loam it may not grow in Aquaponics. This plant is about 2 months old.

It looks good and new shoots sprouting out from the initial planted.

Blades of leaves from the Serai, there is another variety that not use in cooking the "Serai Wangi" or Cymbopogon Nardus where their leaves are use to ward off mosquito.

I pulled out the plant and look at the roots. This is a sign of healthy root, for such a small plant the roots is enormous. I was not confident that serai will grow in Aquaponics, but after watching it grow I am convinced.

I am replanting it to the other growbed first divide the bunch into two, even a single plant will do. Shown here about 3 to a bunch with root trimmed. This is something I don't know what to call in English, its not a bulb, its not rhizome. 

Planted it with the Pandan earlier and two bunch should be enough for my kitchen. I need to see whether the roots will cause problem to that Bell Valve nearby.

If you want to try this plant, get some from the supermarkets and plant it in the grow bed. It will take root in about a week and just provide some shade to protect it from the heat initially..

Close up of the newly planted Serai.

Updates 11th July 2010 : Here

Update 27th March 10 - Part 2

My mum gave me three Pandan Sapling, I decide to temporarily put them in my recently cleaned growbed. 

These are small sapling and they could grow big. Pandan leaves gives aroma and flavor to cakes and dishes.

Currently temperature in the high, I will plant one of these Pandan Palm on the ground so that it will grow bigger.

Tilapia, no issue with them. I yet to confirm if any breed. I've added fresh fingerling. Now I can't tell the different. 

I will not add any more Tilapia fingerling, I want them to breed. Then I can learn more on Tilapia Breeding.

These Celery are in my Homekit, they are out numbered by Mint and Kesum.

I plant these from root cuttings, those bits that you cut off when you want to use the Celery in dishes. This Celery is different from its bigger cousin that normally found in supermarkets, which are wonderful for salads.

These are the Chinese Celery, they are thinner and lean but more flavor and aromatic.


Update 27th March 10 - Part I

Nothing much been happening, I put on hold the rain gutter growbed due neighbor's house renovation work in progress. There are lots of dust and I avoid to stay in my backyard longer then required to feed the fish and some minor maintenance.

Another one month then it should be ok.

Plant's doing well, the growbed that I cleaned a week back still not planted with any thing yet. Fern as usual great.

Turmeric, spouting new shoots and doing well. Still haven't got the proper shades to protect it from the sun.


Dan's System From Texas

Some pictures of my system construction, in Texas!

Hi Affnan

I have attached some pictures I took while building my growbeds stand and the beginnings of my (your) "Bell-Siphon". The design works very well, but it is very difficult to obtain the parts and pieces to construct it properly. A 3" PVC cap will not fit inside of a 4" PVC pipe without some modification.(alot of sanding!), Bulkhead fittings and 1 1/2" to 3/4" reducers are hard to find in a small town! (I got them through http://www.pvcfittings.com)

Grow media is medium river rocks, but I plan to get some Hydroton next time I go in to Dallas

Thanks again for the help!, you have a Great Blog/site!



In Malay its called Kesum in English its Knotweed Leaf, Phak Phai in Thai and its scientific name is Polygonum minus. This plant its leaves are use for food flavouring and also can be made into Tea.

Native plant of S.E Asia covering Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia. It grow wild in damp places near streams or lakes.

Another ideal plant for Aquaponics since its love damp and wet places.
Kesum can be easily grown from cuttings and spread readily within the growbed. They reach the height of about 1 meter.
Dishes from S.E. Asia will use this leaves as flavouring, and the smell is appetizing especially in Laksa or Asam Pedas dishes. They can also be eaten raw or make into Tea.
To grow Kesum you need cuttings from matured plants about 6 ~ 8 inches in length and directly planted to growbed, after 2 weeks they should be sprouting new shoots or leaves.
Another good candidate for the kitchen growbed and easily grown during initial stages of the growbed conditioning.

Cleaning The Grow Bed

This is something that nobody like to do, but its part and parcel of Aquaponics. One of the growbed look like water logged due to fish waste. Pebbles that I use in this bed is small and the mixing of bigger pebbles is insufficient to reduce the problem.

I am not prepared for this, what's needed is to get rid of the sludge from the growbed. This is one reason why a mechanical filter is helpful in reducing this sludge. Looks like I may need to reattached my Prefilter to the water pump.

Flooding growbed using 50mm standpipe extender ring made from same size pipe. This make it easier for me to rinse the pebbles as I scoop it out and the sludge remain behind to be removed separately.

Extended standpipe from top, various length can be use depends on the condition you need the growbed be in. Maximum extend within the bell I normally use to flush ants from the growbed. Varying length use and finally without any extender ring after plants take roots and grown up.

Sludge still get into the tank, next cleaning I need to figure out how to get it done better. I am running the pump continuously tonight to get the water cleaned.

Three things I learned from this exercise, 1. make sure you have another container for the growth media (pebbles) 2. Make a sludge removal device 3. A solid prefilter will be helpful in reducing the SLUDGE ahhhhhhhhh!!  :)

Update : 21/03/2010

Growbed Cleaned and all gravel/pebbles in and cycled over night.

I need to add more pebbles there is another pail full of pebbles outside. Water cleared up after over night pump ON.

On this main tank I put aerator pump just to help in providing more Oxygen to the fish. I use a 20 watt pump 1660L/Hr flow rate at 0 height pump capable of 1.3m Head for this purpose. There is a snorkel on this pump for the aeration function when needed.

There are more efficient pump, those made for artificial waterfalls but they are capable of only 1.3m Head pressure, If growbed water inlet is less than this height that it would be ideal, since a 20m3/hr flow rate pump only consume 50 watt of power. I need to try out these pumps.

Pudina - Mint

Pudina or Mint is from the Lamiaceae or Labiatae family of plants. There are many variety of this plants the more common in this part of the world is this Mint.

Use as flavoring in Asam Laksa and Mint Tea, it give aromatic flavor to the dishes. Mint traditionally is use as Medicinal herb for treatment cough. Eaten raw its good for health since most  herb has antioxidant properties, in its simplest form eaten raw its just kill body odor.

Mint must be one of the easiest to grow in Aquaponics and a useful herb to have for kitchen garden. It grown from cuttings and spread easily through out the growbed.

Close up shot of Mint

Brownish Soft Stem and creeping on the growbed to take root is common feature of this plant. They need lots of light however during initial planting its best to provide shading to prevent damage due to excessive heat.

New shoots spread horizontally to claim space in growbed. During initial stage of growbed conditioning its best to grow mint since its easiest to do and failure rate is almost nil.

If you cannot plant Mint then forget it,, you can't grow anything.. Cheers.

Sambung Nyawa - Leaves of the God

In Malay its called Sambung Nyawa, its scientific name is Gynura procumbens. Other names Daun Dewa, Leaves of the Gods, Googoolipid, Mollucan Spinach,Sam Akar, Akar Sebiak, Kelemai Merah and Bai Bing Cao
This plant has high medicinal properties, and widely use locally to control Cholesterol, Diabetes and High Blood Pressure. Its can be eaten raw or boil and drink like tea for controlling those illnesses.
Close up of the plant, my initial trial with this plant was a failure. It don't grow well and the leaves are hard and brittle. The changes I did to my system was to switches the pump OFF at night around 8 pm till 8 am.
This plant are easily grown from cuttings, its best to use the young shoot about 5 ~ 6 inches in length and plant it in the growth media direct. It also require shade during their initial period of growth, I recommend 1 months or until you see new leave form.
It take root easily, but rooting compound or hormone are recommended. This plant root is not destructive, they are about 6 ~ 8 inches long, this may be due to Aquaponics where nutrient is not far from the plant.
These plants from my homekit, I decided to remove them due too much and I am trying other plants in it place in the homekit. I have dedicate one growbed for this plant and I am trying to see whether it will flower.
Above is the picked shoot, normally 5 or 6 leaves are taken, this for eating. If for planting then its recommended to have more than this.