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Urban rooftop farms in Singapore

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My gardening and environmentalist friends, Bjorn Low and Allan Lim, have been working on their new rooftop farming spaces in recent months. Bjorn and his team at Edible Gardens were recently given a temporary space at People’s Park Complex, which they have named Nong (agriculture), a pop up farm concept that is certainly one to keep an eye on, while Allan Lim, one of the founders of The Living! Project, and his team managed to secure a space at *SCAPE. What I find exciting is that both are rooftop farms in the city; the former in the heart of Chinatown, and the latter in the heart of Orchard Road.

Nong is located on the 6th storey of People’s Park Complex, and Edible Gardens has collaborated with online retailer, Naiise, to create a shop selling stationary, home decor pieces, and gardening wares. Haystakt, an online maker marketplace has also moved in, and gardening and farming installations by Greenology, Sky Greens and Homegrw also have a presence. Other than its greenery, Nong features a strong design, as well as handmade theme. But the space is only half the joy; there will be workshops held on weekends, check their Facebook events page for more details. The upcoming session of Green Drinks will also be held there on the evening of 27 February – the focus being urban farming in Singapore. Come on down, I have organised this session!! The most straightforward way to get there is via the lift located near KFC.

Building a herbal garden

The plan is to have a garden apothecary and to go outside and get medicated naturally, rather than buying pharmaceutical products in a box. Since medication is mostly derived from plants, we might as well go straight to the source!

When I had first watched an episode of River Cottage where Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall visits a herbalist of sorts, and she draws a bath for him using flowers and herbs from her garden, I was smitten with the idea of one day having a romantic looking garden full of magical plants and know-how. It wasn’t until I’d watched Grow Your Own Drugs by James Wong, that I had grown to realise how within reach that dream was; as long as I did proper research and tried not to be too ambitious immediately, that I would get there. It wasn’t as painful and clinical as I had always thought it to be; it’s kind of like cooking, isn’t it?

But where does one start?

Pesky pests in the garden

Grasshopper

Grasshoppers are so cute but not when they are tearing through the leaves of our vegetables. I squash the ones that I am able to catch, but I let the little guy in the photo go though, and released him in a part of the garden that is full of ferns and succulents.  They have already done some damage to several of our kale plants but not as much as caterpillars have. There has been a remarkable number of garden pests I’ve had to deal with in these last few weeks and admittedly, it has been causing me some anxiety.

What’s growing in my summer garden

In my last post, I shared that our main veggie bed was looking quite unkempt. All of that has now changed, after some intense weeding, soil preparation, planting and mulching by Dan and I. After a year of experimenting in the garden, we now have a good idea of what we use most in the kitchen and what it makes sense to grow more of, rather than dedicating a lot of room to plants that take a long time to mature. The above would be our priority list, and if we have additional room, we could indulge in some exotic vegetables. What we are planting most of this summer are tomatoes and beans! If you'd read my last post, you would recall...

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