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Composting in Singapore: Which is the Best Composting System for You?

composting food in Singapore

Thinking of making compost at home but unsure where to start? Whether you are looking to creating your own compost for your plants or seeking a solution to food waste, there are several systems to choose from when it comes to composting in Singapore. Here is a list of systems available locally, there is one to suit your space, budget and comfort zone.

1. Smart Cara – This is for those who prefer a straightforward, high tech option and do not mind the $899 price tag. Made in South Korea, there is no need to sort your food waste and you can put raw and cooked food into it, unlike many low tech solutions. This unit holds up to 1kg of food waste and it takes 3-4 hours to convert food to compost, grinding and dehydrating it in the process. Measuring 31cm long x 27cm wide x 34cm tall, it doesn’t take much space in the home and is perfect for kitchens with space constraints. Get your Smart Cara from Ecoponics.

2. Bokashi Bin – This anaerobic system uses EMs, or Effective Micro-organisms that include beneficial yeasts and bacteria, to hasten the process of composting through fermenting food waste. When the bin is full, it is sealed and left alone to pickle, and after 10 -14 days, its contents will be turn into pre-compost, which needs to be added to a compost bin or heap to further compost for at least two weeks because it requires that amount of time for its acidity to neutralise. What is fantastic about the Bokashi Bin is you can compost eggs, dairy, cooked food, as well as raw and cooked meat. Like many low tech compost systems, the Bokashi Bin requires a balance of wet and dry ingredients so that its contents are not too moist, which can result in a bad odour. This system requires the continual purchase of Bokashi EMs, which is applied each time food is added to the Bokashi Bin. During the composting process, leachate is also produced and can be used as a nutrient booster for plants. The 19-litre Bokashi Bin is currently available at a special price of $90 at GreenSpade, find out more here.

3. Baba Compost Bin – This is suitable for those who travel often and are unable or unwilling to take care of a worm bin. An anaerobic composting system, this compost bin is most suitable for raw food waste and garden clippings, but not meat, eggs or dairy, and also produces leachate which can be diluted and applied to plants. Similar to the Bokashi Bin, the manufacturer recommends using this bin with their house brand Compost Maker, which contains microbes to speed up the decomposition process. This is not absolutely necessary, alternatively you can mix fruit and vegetable peelings and/or garden clippings with moist healthy soil to assist with composting, remember to balance the green (nitrogen) and brown (carbon) materials. A reminder – always dispose of diseased plant parts, and never add it to your compost bin! Place this in a warm or sunny spot to accelerate the breaking down process, and after two months, your compost should be ready. There is a chance that your compost might still be acidic and might require an aerobic phase for the pH to neutralise. This is one of the more affordable composting options in this list, the Baba Compost Bin is available in two sizes – 15L at $48, and 30L at $63. Get yours at World Farm!

4. Tumbleweed Tumbling Compost Bins– This is one for the urban farmers and gardeners! The Tumbleweed is an aerobic composting bin which makes mulch and compost in weeks – depending on how long you leave your garden clippings, dried leaves and fruit and veg clippings in there for. It is recommended to balance 50% garden waste (green and brown) with 50% raw food scraps in the tumbler. What makes this special is the ability to effortlessly turn its contents, and through this act of aeration, your organic waste is well mixed and breaks down quicker because oxygen is required for decomposition. This unit makes for a wonderful addition to community gardens, courtyards and backyards. Find a sunny spot to house this tumbler and turn it every couple of days. The Tumbleweed Compost Tumbler is available in 140 litres ($299) or 220 litres ($269) at Organic Origins.

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 – Know 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 – A 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 – Add 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.

Christmas Gift Guide for Gardeners 2016

Hunting for an appropriate gift for a new or experienced gardener? Here is a list that is sure to contain at least one relevant gift for gardeners of varying expertise, for any occasion!

  1. Mosquito repellant plants – Mosquito Plant, Citronella, Marigolds and Lantana are some plants which are said to repel mosquitoes. A thoughtful present for everyone, really. Available at Far East Flora and all good nurseries.
  2. Seeds –  The Seeds Master stocks a huge variety of heirloom, organic, and/or hybrid fruit, flower, and vegetable seeds. They do not sell GMO seeds. Buy individual packs or seed collections, available on their website, from S$5.62 a seed packet.
  3. GIY stick – This is for the travellers, the busy folks, or laid-back gardeners who love the aesthetics and/or benefits of plants but are not to able to dedicate time to watering them. All you need is a reusable bottle and a piece of fabric to use with the GIY stick. Buy it here, at S$10 each.
  4. Headlamp – This one is for the night gardeners, and can be used for any other kind of hands-free activity, or even during black outs. Available for $14.90 at Decathalon.
  5. Haw’s copper indoor watering can – A real showpiece which will last well through the years. Haws are renown for quality watering cans, and its watering rose ensures gentle sprinkling of water on your plants. Buy yours at Super Farmers or Plain Vanilla Home – 315 Outram Road, #08-06 Tan Boon Liat Building.
  6. Dr Bronner’s Castille Soap – This is a great gift that can be used for more than one purpose. This natural, fragrance-free, all-purpose soap comes in concentrated form and needs to be diluted before use – it can be used as a hand soap, or dishwashing liquid, and then used as a pest spray on plants. I don’t recommend just any kind of soap for plants because of its ingredients, including fragrance, but this is one that I consider to be safe. Available at Bud Cosmetics, S$11.90 for 236ml or 944ml for S$30.80.
  7. NaturalGro Organic Kelp Liquid Fertiliser – Seaweed emulsion contains more than 70 trace minerals that are beneficial to plants. Used at a foliar spray or soil conditioner, this is a useful gift for every gardener. Available at The Nature Company and World Farm, 240ml for S$11.50, or 1L for S$35.
  8. 1001 Garden Plants in Singapore (3rd edition) – This is a plant bible of a large variety of  plants available in Singapore, and is a popular read. Contrary to the title, there are more than 1001 plants included in the latest edition. Get your copy today from Singapore Botanic Gardens Shop, Nong, Kinokuniya and Times bookshops, S$27.90.
  9. Botanical watercolour classesWITHIN offers botanical watercolour classes and they have a few different packages for aspiring botanical artists. Vouchers are now available, starting from S$138 for a single class. We recommend at least an introductory class – 4 classes for S$380, materials are provided. More information here.

Something that I wanted to add to this list was knee pads but I wasn’t able to find ones of good quality. Hopefully by next year, I’m getting to that age where I need them and will have to buy mine overseas. I hope to compile a much more comprehensive guide next year. Happy holidays!