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Garden Stories: Donald and Rachael Tan

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I had the pleasure of visiting Donald and Rachael Tan’s green haven and corridor farm in Punggol recently, and was bowled over by how space-efficient and creatively laid-out it is. Between the couple, Donald maintains the plants, and Rachael harvests produce for the table.

Even though his corridor gets only two hours of sun each day, he has managed to grow a wide variety of plants. Beyond ornamental plants, he grows microgreens, herbs like purple basil, chocolate mint, thyme, dill, pandan, curry, sawtooth coriander etc, he has fruit plants such as gooseberry, grapes, gac fruit, and vegetables like kang kong, amaranth spinach, curly kale. There are so many different plants that I can’t list them all… in fact, I can’t remember them all!

I got to know Donald better when I caught up with the Edible Gardens team one day for a lunch discussion. We bonded over the subject of Daiso and its small but useful gardening section, and how he, as well as my parents enjoy buying supplies from there to supplement our gardening needs. It was after viewing photos of his green corridor from his phone, that I felt like I had to pop by for a look. The plastic baskets sitting on his verandah are all from Daiso, and he has lined them with geotextile, which provides good drainage while keeping all soil in place when watered.

An Edible Flowers Workshop: 22 Nov, 11am-12nn

I've recently put together this workshop on edible flowers, featuring flowers which I love for its looks, as well as its culinary and medicinal uses. Join me if you are keen! Details below. The Tender Gardener presents An Edible Flowers Workshop - a guide to growing plants like Nasturtium, Roselle, Mammoth Sunflowers, Shungiku (Garland Chrysanthemum) and Calendula, for use in salads, tea and even as natural remedies.Other than learning how to grow these flowers, we will cover its nutritional benefits, and also touch upon how they can be used for cooking and suggest some medicinal purposes.As part of this 1-hour workshop, you will receive some seeds to get you started, a bag of Nong seed raising mix and an attractive self-watering...

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Garden Stories: Thomas Lim of Edible Gardens

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This month, I joined beevangelist, Thomas Lim and his Edible Gardens colleague, Suekay, on one of their bee rescue trips. It was Thomas’ second visit to this property in Punggol, where he had previously removed a hive successfully.

On this occasion, the whole process took more than two hours, which is not uncommon, so lots of patience is required on their part. Their task is not as easy as it seems, as the bee suits, although much thinner than the conventional version, is quite warm when worn, especially for that duration. Also, angry bees will swarm around them, and they are sometimes stung in the process, like they were that day.

Thomas and Suekay had to walk away a couple of times in order to calm them down, the rationale for that is bees don’t fly too far away from their hive, and at some point, the bees will have to go back. Bees also picked up on their scents, and would leave the owners and I alone even though we were standing quite near the both of them.

Who to call when you find bees in your home in Singapore

Most certainly not pest control! We have a shrinking population of native bees in Singapore and we need to protect them. While they might seem scary in a big swarm, don't let it intimidate you and your family members, because they will not sting anyone unless they feel threatened. They are important pollinators in Singapore and it breaks my heart each time I hear about pest control companies killing bees. There is a humane, constructive, and gratifying solution to this. Get in touch with Thomas Lim from Edible Gardens at thomas@ediblegardencity.com or 9632 8448, he's the beekeeper extraordinaire at edible landscaping consultancy, Edible Gardens. He is able to re-home bees to apiaries like the one I am holding below. Unfortunately for me, termites took over my...

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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.