18 Jul – corn & maize, ladybirds & aphids

The maize plant in the 3 Sisters bed has started flowering! :)

The maize plant has started flowering!

The maize plant has started flowering! (Photo credit: Dennis & Lydia)

Do you know what’s the difference between maize and corn? Well, I didn’t.

Neighbour Dennis explained that the maize is the plant, and corn is the yummilicious yellow fruit that we are familiar with.

Dennis & his sis also reported seeing quite a number of ladybirds in the garden. We have at least 3 types! Red dots on black. Orange dots on black. All black.

Lady birds are very welcome in the garden, as they are very active predators on aphids and ants. In fact, Dennis was even considering allowing one of the plants to become infested with aphids, just so that we have a larger population of lady birds!

Check out this Youtube video of lady birds in action :)

Lady bird :)

Lady bird :)

 

 

16 Jul – Our garden has won SILVER in the CIB Awards!

The results of the 2014 Community-in-Bloom Awards were released quietly on NParks’ website in early July.

Pavilion’s edible garden has won the SILVER award (under the private housing estate category)!

CIB Awards - Private housing estates awarded SILVER

CIB Awards – Private housing estates awarded SILVER (image from NParks pdf on the results)

Looking at NParks’ summary on the Award achievement bands for the winning gardens, it appears that many community gardens have also done well in the awards.

Couldn’t help wondering what aspects helped us win the SILVER award, and what we can do better to achieve the PLATINUM. and GOLD bands. Would be nice to have a detailed report of sorts!

Summary of participating gardens & achievement bands

Summary of participating gardens & achievement bands

Here are some responses of neighbours when we shared the results on Whatsapp and Facebook:

Teck Lee – “Cool! Rewarded for your rewarding spirit and effort.”

Kristy – “Awesome news, congrats”

John – “Well done those with green hands ! The best is yet to be :)”

 

 

5 Jul – Logs from two fallen trees

A Pometia (hardwood) tree in the park had to be felled, to make space for a new playground. The neighbourhood committee had several discussions with NParks to try to save the tree. As the tree could not relocated, removal of this one tree was seen to be a last resort.

To try to recycle, we asked NParks to keep some of cut trunk logs and branches for use in the garden. The park manager managed to save some branches for us.

A few days later, NParks mentioned that they had to cut another tree. This tree is an Albizia growing at the forest edges of Choa Chu Park park. The tree had fallen during the heavy rains and strong winds. Neighbours Steven and Cuifen went to CCK park to select some trunk logs and branches – and the landscape contractor kindly delivered them to the garden.

While we have no clear plans on what to do with these trunk logs & branches yet, we are in talks with Social Creatives to work with the neighbours in creating an art mural in the edible garden. Perhaps something interesting will come out of this :)

Trunk logs & branches from a felled Albizia tree

Trunk logs & branches from a felled Albizia tree

16 Jun – Winter melons harvested!

The garden is based on an open concept. We have always been encouraging neighbours to take from the garden. If you need dill, Butterfly Blue Pea flowers, dill, laska leaves, Indian Borage… feel free to take some from the garden, as long as there’s plenty left for others!

We had to re-think about this in the last week.

One afternoon, neighbour Mr. Teo called up urgently to report that one of the large & newly ripe winter melons was stolen. As it cut and taken away. None of us saw it being taken away, so we don’t really know who took it. Was it one of the neighbours, or a random park visitor? After all, there was nothing (not even a fence or a sign) to stop a visitor from reaching out and taking away an easily accessible melon.

The winter melon plant was lovingly cultivated by Mr. Teo for months from seed. It finally gave us 8 winter melons to gawk at… They are such an attraction, every single park visitor (whether they are into gardening or not) really appreciated them.

We lost 1 melon to football.

And then the other melon was cut away.

A final straw came about when a 3rd melon was forcefully pulled out just a few days later – we found its stalk curved in an awkward manner.

Felt so sayang that our melons are disappearing just like that. What more can I say for Mr. Teo who checks in on the plant for months every other day?

Mr. Teo decided we had to harvest the melons right away. Either we harvest them for our own consumption, or risk not having them at all.

Of the 5 remaining melons, he harvested 4 (the 5th one looked like a dwarf version of the rest). And generously decided to give all 4 away.

He and another neighbour (who was also present) said they would wait for the next round’s harvest.

Perhaps we need to consider fencing some parts of the garden? Especially those with limited items for harvesting.

Earlier this month... 6 winter melons hanging proudly on the pergola

Earlier this month… 6 winter melons hanging proudly on the pergola

3 of the harvested melons!

3 of the harvested melons!

16 Jun – Visitors from Perak!

We welcomed our 4th large group of visitors in as many weeks…

This was a group of 10+ visitors from Perak, Malaysia. NParks was hosting them for a few hours, and our visitors specifically wanted to check out community gardens in park settings.

The visit is on a Monday afternoon though! If only they came on a weekend - we would surely have many more neighbours to welcome them.

There were three neighbours (Mr. Wong, Mr. Teo, Ai Yong) present at the garden when they arrived. Unfortunately, the neighbours are Chinese-speaking, and couldn’t share much with our visitors from Malaysia.

Azza (from NParks) tried her best to share what she knew about the garden.

Neighbour Cuifen came by later. She wasn’t feeling well at all, having stayed at home to rest and recover.

Azza was really helpful and asked questions to help with the sharing. The visitors were very interested and asked many questions.

They seemed inspired by our sharing, but wondered aloud how they can bring the community gardening concept to Perak. They shared that the people there already have their own plantations… would they like the idea of community gardens?

No photos from this visit unfortunately! So just words.