Plant your own pesticide-free vegetables

Whenever I give public talks on eating less meat (which also means eating more vegetables), the counter argument to this is always this: Eating more vegetables means supporting the use of pesticides which kills millions and zillions of insects, which are also living beings.

Then, I’d say, buy organic vegetables AND the counter argument to this would be:

1. How do you know it’s really organic?

2. What if they also use pesticides or they kill insects in other ways?

I have nothing to say to this because I am not a vegetable farmer and I know there is no authoritative body that certifies whether produce is really “organically-cultivated” or not in this country. Or, is there? I really don’t know. Even if there is, the counter argument would be: How far can you trust such a body?

Not that this is directly related to the above, but I thought I should highlight it:

It is about GM-crops, presumably pest-resistant because even the insects don’t want to eat it – that’s how “unreal” it is. But this article is not about its toxicity. It is about how much harm it does, not only to us consumers but also the poor farmers who have been duped into using these “magic seeds”.

So, it comes back to the question of: Yes, we want to eat more vegetables, but where can we get vegetables that are truly “organic” or produced without the killing of pests or the use of pesticides?

The simple answer would be: Plant your own! Use only natural fertilizers (an option is Suppleplant Air Plant Love – Natural Mineral Airplant Fertilizer Supple).

The argument to this would be: But I don’t have green fingers and there are insects that eat up all my vegetables, so what do I do?

Well, my answer to this would be: Do what I do!!

1. I am completely hopeless in planting anything.

2. And yes, there are many caterpillars in my garden. They can eat up my painstakingly cultivated crops in one day!

But thanks to Chen’s tips on gardening, I have managed to grow these….feast your eyes upon them! Nothing to shout about, but if you consider the fact that I am completely hopeless in planting, it is something to shout about.


At the pantry, I have two green veges (sorry, I only know their names in Chinese) and one Misai Kucing. These are looked after by Pole, Tabs and Cleo.


Outside at the patio are my proudest achievements. I have this Taiwanese vegetables, which I had harvested and replanted many times (thanks to Chen’s tips!). And it’s so easy because it only grows from the shoots. So, you don’t need seeds at all. Just replant from the young shoots and you have an evergreen supply of vegetables all year round.

What’s good is that the caterpillars don’t eat it! They ate up my previous vegetables….all gone in one night! They are vicious, these caterpillars!

I don’t use any fertilisers or pesticides at all. Only compost.


In the lower tray, are my young shoots of the above Taiwanese vegetables. On the higher tray, okay, not growing too well, but I’m working on it. This is a herb for detox. A purple-leafed vegetable. It’s very easy to grow and is pest-resistant, I was told.


I have more vegetables here. On the higher tray is “daun something” which, I’m told, is used in making otak-otak, but I cook it to eat. And of course I have lemongrass too.


Basil (failed many times, finally successful) and curry leaves.

I used to have the laksa leaf, but that has died, thanks to Mr G’s spraying.


My gardener is Timmy.


 Rosie is my supervisor.

SO…if you are as hopeless as I am in planting anything, let this be an incentive for you to try again!

And you don’t even need the ground. You can use trays like what I do.

Read the link on how much harm GM-crops do to everyone. Do NOT patrionise GM-crops, please. It’s a killer, in many ways.

Happy planting!!






6 responses to “Plant your own pesticide-free vegetables”

  1. Yen Ling

    Very green!! I will seek your advice and help later too. I don’t have ground to plant plants and need those trays as well. Good job, Dr. Chan!

  2. Alicia

    Wow, you curry leaves very healthy. Does it get lots of sunlight?
    Mine is not thriving as well. I’ve tried growing chili padi but they died after the first harvest.

    We have red sugar cane, sweet potato leaves, lemongrass, pandan leaves and kaffir lime. We use pandan leaves as air freshener. We also have a mango tree which has provided us with lots of sweet mangoes (if we manage to get to them before the civet cat or shrews).

    1. chankahyein

      Curry leaves – not much sunlight, only morning and evening. We have pandan too, but cat urine kills them…sobs. And we also use it as a air freshener! My cili padi was eaten up by caterpillars – all “botak-ed” in one night.

      1. Alicia

        Maybe you can try planting the pandan outside the house? We don’t have caterpillars but snails.

  3. Chen

    Shi chai choy (veg in 1st pic) in Malay is sayur manis. And a google of sayur manis brings me to this page that gives it it’s scientific name and its other local names plus nutritional description:

    and google also gave me this page: that shows a recipe with split peas , sayur manis and curry leaves that looks very do-able.

    1. chankahyein

      Yes! Sayur manis! Love it!