Last week, I went with my beloved friend Bhavani Prakash to visit Derrick Ng at his spray-free farm space in Neo Tiew. He’s an inspiring, enterprising young man with a vegetable farming business and a fish soup stall, and has an impressive corridor farm at home. He’s determined to improve Singapore’s food security, and has a strong desire to bring healthier, pesticide-free food to Singaporeans. He is one of a collective group of people who have adopted farm plots on this property.
Derrick explained to us that he uses a closed loop system to ensure no waste is created in the process of growing vegetables and fish. The vegetables that don’t make to it the market or his fish soup stall, Wang Yuan Fish Soup, end up as compost. The fish he farms is for the purpose of making fish emulsion, an effective fertiliser for plants.
After showing us around his three greenhouses, he was kind enough to give us some freshly harvested Purple Chye Sim to take home. I cooked it that evening in a soup, and it was very delicious. During our time with Derrick, he dispensed lots of growing tips related to vegetables and fruit trees. He also shared that he favours permaculture as a farming practice, and he uses resources that are readily available to him, and makes the best of what he has.
I can’t emphasise enough, the importance of knowing your farmer, where possible, because there’s an assurance that the food you’re consuming is safe. Also, it’s been said that eating locally and seasonally is healthier for us because we follow the rhythms of nature.
Here are photos of Derrick’s farming plots, and an interview where he shares details of his journey so far.
This is a long-overdue second instalment of my trip to Japan some months back.
Continuing our Kyushu adventure from Fukuoka, my parents and I arrived by train to Kumamoto, a castle town with elements of old and new, as can be seen here.
We lived within walking distance of the castle, and I greatly enjoyed my visit there. I love its wide open spaces, and even though the city was just behind the trees it didn’t feel that way within the castle compounds. I was happy to be in nature, away from city buildings.
This morning, I made my way to the Singapore Botanic Gardens for brunch and saw this wonderful living wall across from its main entrance. I had to have a closer look.
It has a lot of vibrant colours and different textures, and spans at least 50m long. Whoever designed this green wall did a brilliant job. It also attracts bees and other insects. Here are some of the flowers I had photographed.
So you have bought some plants from a nursery, or maybe someone has gifted you a plant, and you now have to figure out where to put it. You decide to maybe to look online and then you begin a process of trial and error, or perhaps you still can’t figure out why plants are just not performing. My family does this at home too, we play musical chairs with our plants sometimes, and it makes perfect sense.
As the seasons change, the sun direction changes also, for example, the sun sits higher in the sky during summer. So for the plants that we put in the ground, we have to be very sure of where to place it that season. Most of the plants we have in Singapore are in pots, so we can move them around as necessary. Also, we have a sunny, yet cooler area that we have created using shade cloth, absolutely necessary during the hot and sunny summer months.
In Australia, Dan and I mainly plant in the ground and practice crop rotation among our 8 garden beds. During summer, we have a designated shady bed for our lettuce, otherwise it will be too bitter for consumption. Some plants will bolt to seed in warmer conditions, coriander is one example.