This is the first of an ongoing series on growing edible plants successfully in Singapore with urban farmers who have consistently grown a particular vegetable well. I speak with Desmond Tan about his preferred method of how to grow tomatoes in Singapore.
When I first visited Desmond Tan at Our Kampong Farm, a rooftop community garden where he is an active resident volunteer, I learned that he grows tomatoes really well, a crop he has grown over the last three years. Those who have tried growing tomatoes in Singapore know that it is not the easiest plant to grow in a tropical climate. In this post, he shares with me his process of soil preparation and useful tips that every home urban farmer can use. While he started out with hydroponic tomatoes, which he says is more straightforward and free of pests, he now grows in soil, which is admittedly much more tricky and more expensive.
How To Grow Tomatoes in Singapore
Desmond rarely buys tomato seeds, and instead uses seeds from cherry tomatoes that he buys from the supermarket. His most successful crop came from a Holland-grown brand of tomatoes – a variety called Sweet Pearl, which gave him sweet, bountiful bunches of cherry tomatoes, he lamented that he has difficulty finding it these days.
Two months prior to transplanting his tomato seedlings to the pots where it is to grow, he prepares the soil with four free inputs:
- Very finely ground eggshells for calcium
- Coffee Grounds for nitrogen
- Okara (by-product from soy bean drink stall) for nitrogen
- Banana peels (by-product of goreng pisang, or fried banana, stall) for potassium