SINGAPORE: Interested households will be able to receive free packets of seeds that they can use to grow their own vegetables at home, under a Gardening with Edibles initiative launched by the National Parks Board (NParks) on Thursday (Jun 18).
The initiative is aimed at encouraging home gardening and strengthening Singapore’s food resilience, NParks told reporters.
It also complements the Singapore Food Agency’s 30 by 30 goal to produce 30 per cent of Singapore’s nutritional needs by 2030. Currently, 90 per cent of Singapore’s food is imported.
The seed packets contain seeds for one type of leafy vegetable, one type of fruited
vegetable and instructions in four languages.
The seeds for leafy vegetables include kang kong, xiao bai cai and kailan, while those for fruited vegetables include cucumber, brinjal and tomato. Each species takes about four to eight weeks to grow.
“The plants were selected based on its ubiquity in local cuisine and fast-growing traits,” said Mr Ang Wee Foong, deputy director of nursery management at NParks.
About 150,000 seed packets are available for the initial phase and the programme may be expanded based on the reception.
Each pack contains about 1,000 leafy vegetable seeds, which households can use to grow a few rounds for consumption.
“With the extra seeds that they have, they can also share with others or their relatives, exchange different seeds to try as well,” said Mr Ang.
Interested households can register for the seed packets on the NParks website or through 6499 1099 from Thursday until Jun 30. The seed packets will be sent through mail by Aug 1 for those who registered online.
"APT" TIME TO SPARK INTEREST IN GARDENING
NParks said it has noticed a growing interest in people harvesting their own food at home, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic when their movements were restricted and they spent more time at home.
“In this period of time where people can’t gather large groups to do community gardening, the idea of gardening at home with your family in the comfort of your home is quite apt now,” said Mr Ang.
He added that nurturing edible plants can build “self-reliance” as people equip themselves with new skill sets.
The instructions in the seed pack call for soil and fertiliser to grow the plants, which should be more accessible when more businesses open in the second phase of Singapore post-circuit breaker reopening.
“For those who do not have pots or soil at home, with the gradual reopening of businesses in Phase 2, there would be more access to these resources,” said Mr Ang.
Online resources will also be provided through NPark’s social media channels, including a YouTube channel with a 10-part "how-to" series for beginners to advanced gardeners.
“We’ve also come up with simple step-by-step instructions on how to set up your hydroponics system at home using just sponges and plastic containers,” said Mr Ang.
NParks is hoping to encourage the public's interest now, so that when the COVID-19 situation improves, more can join community gardens and grow a wider variety of edibles, including herbs and spices, said Mr Ang.
NParks launched a Community in Bloom programme in 2005. To date, more than 1,500 community gardens are tended to by at least 40,000 gardening enthusiasts, it said in a press release.