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April Workshops: Soil Class + Start a Herb Garden

soil singapore

It’s April, and I am holding two workshops this month – Soil Class (Basic Level) and Start a Herb Garden! More details below, as well as how to book your seat – only 10 seats per workshop!

   

Soil Class (Basic Level)

Relatively new to urban farming, and looking to demystify the subject of soil? Through this talk, learn soil basics and what your plants need to thrive instead of just survive. We will cover what you need to know to gain confidence in growing healthy edible plants, so join us!
  
Date: 15 April 2018 (Sunday)
Time: 11am – 12.30pm
Venue: orgayana stand @Terra Village at Parkland Green, East Coast Park (C1 Car Park)
Cost: $45 per person
Tickets: Limited spaces available, so booking is essential – book your seat now!
  
What you will learn in this session :
– Different types of soil
– Physical needs of plants
– Nutrient requirements of plants
– Which soil to buy?
– Fertilisation
– Tips on growing seedlings 
  
Instructor Bio :
Olivia is a gardener, nature lover and believer of a sustainable society. She writes about gardening and sustainable living on her blog – The Tender Gardener, and raises awareness of environment-related issues through a non-profit environmental society, Green Drinks (Singapore), where she is the President and Co-founder. Very much a homebody, she likes to spend time in her garden, fussing over her chickens and watching bees in her apiary.

how to start a herb garden singapore

Start a Herb Garden

Have you thought of starting a mini herb garden at home? Why not kickstart your journey with a crash course on herb growing?
  
Through this hands-on workshop, you will find out which herbs thrive in Singapore, learn how to grow your garden from stem cuttings, and some basic tips on caring for your herbs. Participants will leave with two potted herbs, notes and greater confidence growing edible herbs.
  
Date: 15 April 2018 (Sunday)
Time: 1pm – 2pm
Venue: orgayana stand @Terra Village at Parkland Green, East Coast Park (C1 Car Park)
Cost: $39 per person
Tickets: Limited spaces available, so booking is essential – book you seat now!

Garden Stories: Edible Flower Enthusiast Joanna Chuah

Joanna Chuah is a breath of fresh air, at only 22 years of age, she is a spirited young lady experienced in growing edible plants. While she specialises in edible flowers, she also shows a keen interest in medicinal plants. Her passion for plants is evident in the manner she speaks about them, there is an unmistakeable excitement in her voice as she introduces me to her garden. She lives in Ang Mo Kio, Singapore, where she grows a unique selection of plants on her rooftop garden, she also has an extended playground for plants in her grandmother’s backyard, and even grows some plants at her university.

My first interaction with Joanna was on Carousell, where there are many willing buyers and sellers of gardening related items. I was so impressed with the variety of plants on her shop and Instagram page that I requested to visit her without delay, I was certainly not disappointed. In her garden she is growing figs, starfruit, passionfruit (a variety found in Taiwan), banana, lemon, coffee, cinnamon, Japanese air yams, chilli, tomato, tulips, blue porterweed flowers, edible roses, among others.

Aside from plants, she sells produce which include edible flowers, fruit and vegetables. Joanna expands her collection of plants through propagation, some of them through a marcotting technique, commonly used for roses and fruit trees. It’s not all purely commerce for her though, she has previously dedicated 100% proceeds of produce for charitable causes that benefitted elderly people and her school’s janitors.

When it comes to fertilising her plants, Joanna mostly uses soil amendments like spent coffee grounds, tea leaves, and crushed eggshells, on rare occasions she uses organic chicken manure. She shared that her pots contain earthworms that help with soil conditioning also. Which then leads me to her penchant for breeding and raising of worms, caterpillars and moths – this is to do with her love of pollinators, and she keeps pollinator-friendly plants to cater to their needs.

My Interview with Matter

Singapore beekeeping

I recently did a photo shoot with Matter in my garden, and there’s an interview too, which you can read here. I got to try on their new tops made using unique ingredients such as banana fibre, and coloured using natural dyes, and also pants from their current collection. I love the pics they took,  especially the ones featuring my bees and chickens.

Of course I hardly look this glamourous when gardening, but this was a little more than just a photo shoot – I did go about my gardening duties that day as usual and managed to check my hive, repot a pandan plant and harvested some ginger.


Our Next Beeswax Wrap Workshop!

Agy and I are back for another beeswax wrap workshop in March, at a new venue!

Looking for a safe, natural and reusable alternative to plastic wrap and aluminium foil? Join us for this fun, hands on workshop to learn how to make your own zero-waste beeswax food storage wraps for use at home! These perfect for encasing freshly cut fruit and vegetables, and sealing a variety of cooked food, and sauces in containers.

We are pleased to collaborate with Funan for this session. During this 2 hour session, textile artist, Agatha “Agy” Lee, and self sufficiency advocate, Olivia Choong, will guide you step by step in preparing a delicately scented beeswax mixture for application on any natural fabric, and evenly setting the mixture to create a beautiful beeswax wrap, ready for you to take home for immediate use!

Once you learn how simple it is to make your own beeswax wraps, you will no longer wish to buy (and throw) plastic wrap and aluminium foil.

Each ticket is priced at $75 per participant, and includes all materials. Limited seats available, so book your spot today!

What will I learn?

We will teach you how to make your own beeswax wraps.

Skills:

  • Adequate preparation of beeswax mixture
  • Even application on cloth
  • Uniformly setting the mixture on cloth
  • How to choose and prepare cloth for beeswax application

All materials provided!

  • Beeswax
  • Pine rosin
  • Jojoba oil
  • 2 sets pre-cut cloth per participant (one 5″ x 5″ for a mug and one 9″ x 9″ for a bowl)

What to expect?

In this 2 hour interactive session, expect a fun learning experience:

  • Hands-on learning with both facilitators
  • Relaxing, cosy and supportive environment
  • Minimum 5 pax to conduct the workshop

Date: 25 March 2018
Time: 11am – 1pm
Venue: Funan Showsuite, Junction of High Street and Hill Street
Price: $75
RSVP: Book your seat here! Only a few spots left!

Green Manure Crops & Crop Rotation

There are many benefits to growing green manure crops, mainly to improve soil conditions for growing your next crop of healthy vegetables. These benefits include higher nitrogen availability, additional organic matter, increased beneficial micro organisms, improved soil structure and water retention, breaking up hard soil, and in some cases soil fumigation and weed suppression.  I would highly recommend growing green manure plants as part of a crop rotation strategy – don’t have one? I’ll show you how 🙂

What is green manure?

Green manure consists of leguminous plants such as those in the peas, beans and grass family which have nitrogen fixing capabilities. Liberally distribute or broadcast seeds in your pots or garden plot, and after around 6 weeks, “chop and drop” these plants and dig it into the soil and leave to break down for 1-2 weeks to add nutrients back into the soil. Don’t wait till it begins to flower or fruit or you will lose these nutrients.

For our tropical climate in Singapore, I would suggest the following:

  • Mustard seed
  • Cowpea
  • Pigeon pea
  • Soy bean
  • Green bean / Mung bean
  • Winged bean
  • Lab Lab

If you happen to forget to chop and drop your plant in time, at least you can eat the pods of pea and bean plants, or use mustard seeds, leaves and flowers in your cooking. If you are looking to purchase some of these seeds, I have cowpea and lablab available here. I will eventually update this post to include links where you can buy these seeds.

Cowpea plant