Beginner's Guide To Creating An Urban Garden At Home

Thinking of starting your own urban garden but are unsure of how to go about it? To help you kickstart the process of creating your personal urban garden at home, we've put together a beginner's guide, to equip you with the basic knowledge that you'll require to start growing edibles in the comforts of your home! 

For those living in HDB flats, take note: 

If you're currently living in a HDB flat and planning to grow your plants in the corridor, you need to take note of a couple of HDB regulations before you can embark on your journey of creating your own urban garden. With corridors being communal spaces and important passageways used by both you and your neighbours, it's important to adopt good etiquette and observe all safety regulations.

No one likes being attacked by plants when they're on the way home after a long day at work or school, so always ensure that you maintain clear access for others  a clear width of at least 1.2m that is left unobstructed at all times.

Keeping a good unobstructed distance in the HDB corridor

Additionally, with the rise in dengue cases over the years, it's also quintessential to ensure that your urban garden doesn't become a breeding ground for mosquitos. Hence, for starters, a good habit is to remove the excess water in your plant dishes on a daily basis. 

Essentials you'll need 

1. Pots and planters

  • You can definitely make use of items that you already have at home (e.g old bottles, cans, cartons)
  • For something more proper, take your pick of pots and planters from a wide variety of materials  terracotta, plastic and stone and designs
  • Pots and planters can also be great complements to your home, instantly making your home feel more lived-in
  • Make sure to choose the right size for your plants to achieve optimum growth 

2. Organic soil 

  • Unlike regular soil, organic soil has a wide variety of micronutrients that will help your plants to grow healthily, creating fruits and vegetables that are safe for you and your family as well as the environment
  • Organic soil can help your plants to resist pests and diseases, reducing the need for other chemicals and pesticides
  • Organic soil typically has a better balance of drainage and retention of water, allowing for less frequent watering 

3. Fertiliser 

  • While organic soils are already packed with nutrients, your plants still need fertiliser to ensure success

4. Watering equipment

  • You could probably get by with existing items in your home, such as water bottles and pails 
  • However, for better control of how much water you're watering your plants with, it might be a good idea to purchase a watering can and spray bottle 

5. Gardening trowel

  • Perfect for adding soil and fertiliser, picking out weeds and repotting plants
  • Metal is more durable than plastic, but plastic is more lightweight 

You can never go wrong with growing some herbs! 

Growing herbs in the kitchen  Individual pots of herbs being grown in the kitchen, by the window

Herbs are a great way to kickstart your urban farming journey. Not only are they relatively easy to grow and maintain, they also take up smaller amounts of space. Under the right conditions (i.e good amount of sunlight), herbs can flourish relatively quickly, meaning that you'll be able to sow and reap the rewards of your effort in no time! Growing your own herbs also means that you'll be able to bid farewell to store-bought herbs, saving you a relatively significant amount of money in the long-term. 

To begin, choose some herbs that you always have in the kitchen and those that you use most often in your cooking. Some of the most common herbs that most Singaporeans would use include: basil, rosemary, mint, coriander, parsley, cilantro, thyme and chives. Apart from sticking to the usuals, why not try something new that you could use to create new dishes? 

If you're going to be growing herbs, it's worth noting that you'll have to keep a regular lookout for any pests. A good rule of thumb is to check on your plants daily, while you're watering and pruning them. It's best to get rid of these pests early, before they have the opportunity to expand their family. 

TIP: If you're thinking of growing mint, it'd be best to ensure that they are planted in their own, individual, pots, due to their tendency to choke out other plants. 

Think it's impossible to grow fruits in a flat or apartment? Think again. 

Growing lemons indoors, by the window  Growing blueberries indoors

Being able to grow fruits in a flat or apartment might sound like something that's completely unfathomable, so you might be surprised to find out that certain fruits like berries and small citrus fruits (e.g Meyer lemons, lime) actually thrive indoors. The key to successfully growing fruits in your urban garden is to ensure that they receive sufficient sunlight. It might take a couple of months or even a year to reap the fruits of your labour, but you'll definitely feel extremely proud and satisfied when you're finally able to harvest your fruits. 

For berry-lovers, try your hand at growing blueberries and strawberries! However, do note that it might be best to grow them during the cooler periods of the year — typically in August. 

Microgreens: Superfoods that thrive in Singapore's climate

Microgreens

Singapore's humid and sunny weather is perfect for growing microgreens all year round. Also known as any edible plant that is harvest and eaten at the seedling stage, microgreens are perfect garnishes and often offer a much higher concentration of nutrients compared to their fully mature siblings. All they'll need is a good amount of natural sunlight and soil that's constantly moist. Within 1 to 3 weeks, depending on the type of plant you're growing, they should be ready for harvest. 

You don't need a large amount of space, a green thumb or fancy tools in order to create your own, personal urban garden at home. It might take some time and effort but we guarantee that it'll be well worth the effort, especially when your edibles are finally ready for harvest! Happy farming!


References: 

  1. https://www.lifestyleasia.com/sg/beauty-grooming/wellness/how-to-urban-farming-singapore/ 
  2. https://thesmartlocal.com/read/urban-farming-singapore/
  3. https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/special/urban/the-urban-garden.htm
  4. https://www.nparks.gov.sg/-/media/nparks-real-content/gardening/gardening-resources/garden-etiquette/good-corridor-gardening-practices.pdf?la=en&hash=BC33454DA908DFB2C87FA68E61C4236E885C9066
  5. https://www.kellogggarden.com/blog/soil/what-is-organic-soil/
  6. https://everythinggreen.sg/pages/guide-to-growing-your-microgreens

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