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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 ūüôā

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

Christmas Gift Guide for Gardeners 2017

christmas gifts for gardeners 2017

Tis the season to be picking out meaningful gifts for those we care about! Are you wondering what to gift a gardener friend, family member or spouse this Christmas? Or maybe something for yourself? Here a quick guide to great Christmas gifts for gardeners in 2017!

1.Botanical Watercolour Workshop Voucher РKnow someone who loves art and plants? The highly talented Lucinda Law of Within hosts botanical watercolour workshops at her studio. Get your Single Visit Workshop Voucher here for $138 or email go@within.sg to purchase one or more vouchers.

2. DIY Beeswax Wrap Kit РA natural, reusable alternative to aluminium foil and cling wrap, beeswax wraps are breathable and can last up to a year. This is perfect for growers who love to cook, DIY and opt for a zero waste lifestyle. Get the kit for $49, complete with all the ingredients you need to make 6 beeswax wraps here!

3. Pots –¬†Tumbleweed¬†stocks some pretty attractive pots. This marble pot is great for indoor plant lovers who like design that is simple yet sleek. lt’s yours for $60 from the Tumbleweed shop.

4. Plant stands РAdd a bit of style to the indoors with these plant stands, great as a standalone statement piece or one in a cluster of plants. Available from $100 at Tumbleweed and Noah Garden Centre.

Zero Waste Guru Bea Johnson is coming to Singapore

Aside from gardening, I organise environmental meet-ups and talks every month with Green Drinks (Singapore), and we have invited world renowned zero waste advocate Bea Johnson to speak in Singapore on 19 December, there will also be a modest zero waste marketplace and the event serves as a society fundraiser!

Hear from Bea Johnson, mingle with members of the zero waste community and pick up zero waste essentials for yourself or as Christmas gifts from the zero waste marketplace. Vendors include Neishaus and ŚÖÉśįĒÁęĻÁČôŚą∑/Feel Good bamboo toothbrush among others.

This event is organised by Green Drinks (Singapore), and is made possible by venue hosts thebridge and Spacemob.

Event Flow
7pm: Registration
7.15pm: Introduction and talk by Bea Johnson
8.30pm: Proceed upstairs to Spacemob for the zero waste marketplace and mingling session

About Bea
Bea Johnson and her family adopted a zero waste lifestyle a decade ago; their household produces a mere pint of trash per year. With her blog and bestseller Zero Waste Home (translated in 17 languages, #1 on Amazon waste cat.), Bea launched a global movement and continues to inspire a growing community to live simply and take a stance against needless waste.

Her methodology is based on 5R’s: ‚ÄúRefuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot, and only in that order‚ÄĚ. She shatters misconceptions, proving that zero waste can not only be stylish, but also lead to significant health benefits, and time and money savings. She speaks at universities, corporate events and conferences all over the globe, including Google, Pixar, Adobe, the European Parliament and the United Nations.

She has completed eight international tours and given 190+ speeches in 30+ countries on 6 continents. She has appeared on TV shows and in publications everywhere, from The Today Show to BBC Breakfast. Passionate and optimist, she was dubbed “The Priestess of Waste-Free Living” by the New York Times and is the leading spokesperson for the zero waste lifestyle. She is a Grand Prize winner of The Green Awards, a member of the New Dream advisory council, and a French native who currently lives in Mill Valley, California.

About Green Drinks
Founded in November 2007, Green Drinks (Singapore) is a registered non-profit environment-focused society that connects the community, including businesses, activists, academia and government, for knowledge sharing and collaboration opportunities. One way we do this is by organising informal talks every month, over drinks!

Singapore is one of more than 500 cities with a Green Drinks presence. Started in 1989 in London, the Green Drinks movement is a self-organising network that is meant to be simple and unstructured. The global site can be found at www.greendrinks.org.

Date and Time: 19 December (Tues), 7pm – 9.30pm
Venue: The Metro @ thebridge, Ascent, #01-07, 2 Science Park Drive
Admission: $15
RSVP: Buy tickets here!

See you there!

December Soil Class at Citizen Farm!

My next soil class will be held at Citizen Farm!

Relatively new to urban farming, and looking to demystify the subject of soil and buying soil in Singapore? 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!

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

[To learn about soil amendments and mixing your own soil, please join us for the intermediate soil workshop on a later date]

Date: 3 December 2017

Time: 11am ‚Äď 12.30pm

Venue: Citizen Farm, 60 Jalan Penjara

Cost: $39 per person

RSVP: Book your seat here!

12 Nov Workshop: How To Grow A Vegetable Garden

Join me at my upcoming workshop РHow to Grow A Vegetable Garden! The registration fee for each workshop is $85, but spend a minimum of $80 in 2 combined same-day receipts at Parkway Parade between 6-17 Nov, and receive an $80 cash refund on the day of your selected workshop.

Learn how to grow your own vegetables and edible plants on your sunny balcony or backyard in Singapore during one and a half hour workshop. I will share essential gardening tips and the know-how for growing edibles that are well-suited for our climate.

Guests will take home a gardening starter pack which includes seeds, seed raising mix, pots and plant notes on vegetables and herbs such as beans, eggplants, okra, and kale, among others, and you will leave with the knowledge you need in order to grow, nurture and harvest your own food.

Date: 12 November (Sunday)
Time: 3PM – 4.30PM
Venue: Parkway Parade Basement Atrium, 80 Marine Parade Road
Cost: $85
RSVP: Sign up for the workshop here!