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April Session of Soil Class

Soil Class is back again in April, join us!

Soil Class (Basic Level) by The Tender Gardener

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 & Time: 15 April 2017, 10:30am – 12:00pm
Venue: NONG at HortPark (33 Hyderabad Road (off Alexandra Rd), Beside the lawn
Cost: $39 per person, with limited spaces available, so booking is essential
RSVP: Sign up here!

What you will learn in this session:

– Different types of soil
– Physical needs of plants
– Nutrient requirements of plants
– 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]

Garden Stories: Alexius Yeo of Project 33

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It was a real treat to pop by Alexius Yeo’s place. The permaculture educator and practitioner turned his backyard into a productive vegetable urban farm and started a tightly knit gardening community called Project 33, named such because of his house number, and also it began as an initiative to give 33% of their produce to foster community spirit.

A while ago, he had a pair of hens but they would dig up his garden and undo the hard work he had accomplished. I took in his hens, but while I loved having them, they didn’t get along with my existing flock, and I had to return them to him after AVA came knocking when a neighbour complained about too much noise in the morning. I learnt later that they had found a veteran chicken enthusiast to care for them.

I met Alexius when he was still working at Edible Garden City, but only got to know him better after he had left his chickens in my care. These days, he teaches nature-based educational programmes to schools. Incidentally, our mothers are good friends and ex-colleagues, and I found out after overhearing my mother’s conversation with his mother about our backyards turning into farms.

Alexius is one of a growing number of people moving towards an urban homestead lifestyle in Singapore. Other than the monthly Project 33 meetings at his home, which centres around a potluck and gardening workshop and/or activity, he teaches gardening classes like organic pest management, creating a herb garden, and building soil. His well landscaped backyard farm includes a wide variety of herbs and Asian vegetables, some fruit trees – even a Chinese date plant, and ornamental plants. In addition, he has a lovely pond with fish and a free range tortoise, a really nice green space to relax.

Be sure to pay him a visit sometime!

Spring Garden Update in Singapore

DSCF4087I’ve been doing a lot of gardening of late, trying to improve the look and feel of the garden… I feel that it is lacking in the design department and also not as productive as I would like it to be. In recent months, we have at least doubled the number of plants in the space, and I have been looking online for garden inspiration. Still quite far off from how I’d like it to look, but we’ll get there.

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Birds have been eating my seedlings and even chomping on aloe vera leaves, so I purchased a heavy duty net during one of my trips to Australia to keep them out. I left one side semi open, as you will see from the pictures below. It allows for better air flow, as it can get pretty hot in there. Occasionally, I find a spotted neck dove in there pulling out seedlings. When there’s a will, there’s a way.

I decided to grow extra plants with the intention of selling them at Gardener’s Day Out, but it looks like I won’t be able to make it to the next two sessions because I am planning to travel during that period of time. At some point, I might have a plant sale at my place.

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Feature in Female magazine

Ok I don't really garden in that outfit :) I've been featured in Female magazine's May issue, alongside two ladies who enjoy growing their own edibles. My garden looks quite barren compared to theirs, admittedly I had little vegetables growing at the time, many were still seedlings and I had been focusing more on flowers. Another reminder to avoid periods of bountiful or barren, and instead plan my garden better so that it's always a highly productive garden. Pick up a copy to look at the other gardens featured in the story, they look pretty marvellous!...

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Garden Stories: Suekay of Urban Agriculture

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I enjoy my catch-ups with Suekay, sometimes I pop by her Bishan residence to talk about collaborations, where the garden offers a wonderful backdrop to our discussions. She lives with her in-laws, who have created a lush, pretty garden with the help of a gardener. It has quite a neat, unified, formal appearance, with mainly ornamental plants. There are plans to introduce edible plants in the near future, which is exciting to hear. As you’ll see, I couldn’t resist getting a little snap happy on the garden… It’s such a beautiful, relaxing space, I feel like I’m visiting a resort each time I go there.

I’ve known Suekay for a while now and I love her warm personality and down-to-earth approach to everything she does. She’s very driven with her online gardening supplies business, Urban Agriculture, which retails a range of gardening products including seeds, microgreen kits, fertiliser and soil enhancements. We have a working arrangement where I list seeds and worm tea on her website. On top of running Urban Agriculture, she looks after NONG (by Edible Garden City)’s retail operations.

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She made a transition from the financial sector to go full-time into promoting urban farming, a profession that she finds a lot more joy and meaning in.  Here she shares her motivation on making a career switch, and her journey so far. If you find Suekay familiar, you might have seen her in a previous post on her beekeeper colleague, Thomas Lim.