Many Singaporeans are interested in urban farming nowadays. They want to grow plants, particularly the herbs and vegetables right in their HDB flats.
Some Singaporeans have become successful in growing a mini farm in their spaces. Here are some of the tips that they have shared to make urban farming a reality and a success in your home:
1. Look for an area
Most of the HDB farmers grow plant right in the corridors of the HDB. This space is the best place to grow plants because it is where the sun shines most. Most plants need enough sunlight. Tomatoes and other herbs such as basil, Indian borage, mint, and thyme, among others need enough sunlight to grow. On the other hand, be sure that the corridor is clean. It must be left unblocked, and you must allow at least 1.2 meters for the walkway and emergency needs too.
Another space to grow plant is right inside your flat. You may put your plants beside your window where the sunshine fell. You just need a plant rack in which you could place all your plants.
2. Prepare your seeds and seed pots
Before you start planting, you must buy your seeds and seed pots first. Know what vegetable plants you want to grow and choose the one that is easy to plant. You may try Kangkong, basil, parsley, watercress, Indian borage, tomatoes, lady’s fingers or okra, lettuce, and spinach, among others.
Some HDB farmers use a plastic cup for growing seeds. But, you must punch holes at the bottom to let the water goes out and prevent the roots from rotting. You may also buy a seedling tray, which is very handy to use. You could easily carry the tray where the sun shines most.
You can buy your seeds at NTUC and Ban Lee Huat Seed Pte Ltd, among others.
3. Have a seed-starting mix
Seeds could germinate well with not a too heavy garden soil such as seed-starting mix. This soil is full of nutrients, and your seeds will grow fast. You could see them sprouting in three to seven days.
4. Transfer your plant
When your plant is about two to three weeks old, you may transfer them in bigger pots. Since you do not have soil in HDB, you may purchase a sack of garden soil or look for on-going construction that gives the excess soil they have from their excavation works. Do not forget to aerate the soil before you transfer them from seed pots.
You could reuse big plastic bottles and plastic containers and turn them into plant pots. Many HDB farmers use these plastic bottles, and their plants grow well. Be sure that the plastic containers have recycled numbers such as 2, 4, and 5 because they are safe and not poisonous for plants. Do not use plastic with recycle numbers 1,3, 6, and 7.
5. Water the plants
Be sure to water the plants once in the morning and the afternoon when your seeds are just starting to germinate. But, do not put much water because the seeds and sprouts might drown. After a month, water the plants once a day. Tomatoes do not need much water as well as the bell peppers. On the other hand, they need sunlight most. You may put fertilizer after your plant is a month old.
6. Buy a plant rack
You may array your plants on the corridor. But, it is advisable that you buy a plant rack so you could put many pots vertically. You may also hang your plant pots to a suspended stand, which you could buy for around $40.
7. Clean the corridor
The HDB corridor is a common passageway, and all the homeowners walk into it each day. It is advisable that you clean the hallway for dry leaves or excess water to avoid inconveniences. You may compost the dry leaves by putting them in your plants. They will break down in weeks and become fertilizer.
Take care of your growing plants and visit them always. Indeed, you will enjoy the fruit of your labour after a month or three months depending on the growth of plants. Besides, you will also have added fresh air in your homes.