12 Apr – Update

At least five neighbours came down for our regular weekly community garden session this morning. For two other neighbours who came by subsequently, it was their first visit to the garden – they had heard about it, and wanted to see the garden for themselves!

A few things we that did within a couple of hours:

Improved the quality of soil in 2 wicking beds. Soil quality has been an issue as the beds were made in a hurry, resulting in too much compost in the beds. Neighbour Steven donated some bags of red brick soil, which we mixed with the existing soil. Dennis and Lydia led in this activity as they knew how it is to be done.

Improving the soil in a wicking bed
Improving the soil in a wicking bed

Neighbour Cuifen brought bags of brewed coffee and tea collected at her workplace, as well as free bags of brewed coffee from Starbucks. Starbucks Singapore had kindly said that we can collect brewed coffee from nearby Starbucks outlets, but so far, we have no need to do so!

adding bags of coffee into the open compost
adding bags of coffee into the open compost

As part of housekeeping, Cuifen busied herself with tidying our toolbox. The toolbox was a kind donation from a neighbour, Benny, who’s in the construction line. In our toolbox, we have bulky tools for common use, hats, boots, organic fertiliser, first aid box (items to be added)… A simple box with items that are very useful when we need them

A peek into our toolbox
A peek into our toolbox

Dennis, Lydia and Cuifen also discussed how we wanted to grow the 3 sisters, now that the bed is ready, and we have seeds. The seeds were donated by another neighbour, Kaiyan, who gave us at least 3 varieties of corn seeds! We decided to start with planting the variety that looks most like the type that people are familiar to seeing and buying at the supermarkets (the yellow corn cobs). As we consulted our corn-“expert” Lydia, the following idea came into being…

  • 3×3 rows of corn – seedlings to be transplanted in when they are ready
  • bean seedlings to be transplanted beside the corn, 1 week after
  • pumpkin / gourd seedlings to be transplanted in between the spaces

Of the neighbours who came by to check out the garden for the first time, Mr. Wong who had attended our group meeting a few days before, is growing giant pumpkins at home. Or rather, he is starting to grow them. He doesn’t have any more seeds for us, else we would certainly love to have a giant pumpkin in the community garden!

He did however give us packets of seeds that he painstakingly brought back from the US. Mr Wong, apparently, has a farm in Arizona, hence his interest and knowledge in growing plants that are not exactly from the region. It was obvious from our conversations that he has a lot of passion for what he does, and is very willing to invest his time and resources in creating what he believes in.

Planning how we will grow the 3 sisters
Planning how we will grow the 3 sisters

And finally… a quick peek at our little mint plants in the herb spiral. Dennis and Lydia have been monitoring the settling of soil within the spiral, and adding baby transplants (mint, thyme, oregano). Dennis shared that in time, the herb spiral should look bushy. At the moment, they are busy trying to get as many baby plants as possible – so that once we have sufficient baby plants, we can do workshops.

This idea from Dennis sounds really interesting. workshop: grow out your baby mint – get the children to bring home baby plants to grow, once the plants are larger, to bring back and transplant, with the transplant plants labelled with their names and under their care.

Mints
Mints
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