Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Growing vegetables in Singapore

When I was growing up in the countryside, my aunt who lived next door, grew all kinds of vegetables in her sprawling farm. Grandma used to stand in the fields all day with a hoe (changko), manually ploughing and tilling the soil into beautiful fluffy beds for planting.

When I moved back to live with my parents at the orchid farm 7 years ago, I was again surrounded by commercial vegetable farms. These are huge farmlands with rows and rows of glorious vegetables spanning across acres of fertile land.

So it is no surprise that sooner or later, I'll start growing vegetables of my own. However, when I started reading up on vegetable growing in Singapore, I couldn't find any information on the internet. There are millions of webpages on vegetable growing in temperate countries, but why the shortage of information about growing vegetables in the tropics like Singapore?

That inspired me to set up this blog to share my vegetable growing journey with fellow gardeners. I'm growing vegetables in my patio (which apparently is larger than my living room) using planter boxes. When dad found out I am planting vegetables, he started ploughing the spare land in his farm to prepare for my expansion! Indeed, he is a better gardener than I am and I'm sure he will have more success than me. The race is on!

I wanted to be eco-friendly in my pursuit, so I'm using paper-pulp egg trays to grow my seedlings. One of the advantages of using paper trays is when I'm repotting them, all I have to do is tear out a chunk of the tray and plonk it into a planter box or flower bed for the next phase of growth. This will reduce the trauma to the young plants and eliminate root damage.

To ensure the seeds sprout properly, I've used a good soil-based compost. Indeed, every single seed that I planted sprouted nicely.

Here are the seedlings after 5 days. That's kang kong on the right and kai lan on the left.

I transfered the kang kong shoots into a styrofoam box which is great because it is light and portable, and it retains moisture and has lots of drainage holes below. Here they are 3 days later. Vegetables grow well in porous soil with good drainage. I used a mixture of black volcanic soil, fine sand and normal gardening clay.

It has been 20 days since I sowed the vegetable seeds (kai lan, chye sim, spinach, kang kong and lettuce. They're growing rather well. I'll post more photos later. I also sowed some carrot, tomato and egg plant seeds thereafter. The carrots are growing so well now.

The initial growing process is probably the most trying period because the sprouts are so delicate and difficult to handle especially when transfering them to the planter box.


  1. hello!
    this is osk reddy from hyderabad, andhra pradesh, india. i am looking for collaborators and partners who can join hands for commercial vegetanle production. i have land bank of about 100 acres with all the necessary infrastructure. the proposed land is situated in nellore district which is 120 km away from chennai city. if any body interested can join with me. please get back or put me to the right partner.

    thank u

    osk reddy


  2. hello!

    this is osk reddy proprietor of s.kumar's agri business corporation hyderabad, andhra pradesh, india is looking for agro based best business opportunity to start in the state of andhra pradesh and south india. i am already engaged in agro based trade activity since 1998. if u find any demand oriented good product please inform. i hope your immediate response in this regard.

    thank u

    osk reddy

  3. hi this is anwar alam khan from hyderabad
    i am intrested in agro based work
    i would apriciate if you let me know your works thank you

  4. Hi! Really glad to read your blog, as I am also trying to plant a 'kitchen garden' in my back yard here in Singapore, and when I first looked for information, it was hard to find.

    I look forward to reading about your vege-exploits!

  5. I agree with you about the lack of tropical guides. When I started growing my tomatoes 22 days back, every site said "Wait until the last frost" - But I live in Chennai, India! Frost? What's that?

    And it looks like Singapore is well equipped with stores selling you the stuff you need. It's more difficult here in India...

    Hope to read more on your gardening exploits. Just for interest, since Singapore's climate is more or less the same as Chennai's, what vegetables are native to it and perfectly suited to its weather?

  6. Hi!
    I love your blog! I to agree about the lack of tropical guides, I just started growing in Costa Rica and I am so not a gardener, so all the information is welcome :)
    Keep up the good work!

  7. i agree with what you said about lacking of information on gardening in singapore. I recently read about recipes concerning edible ferns an am very interested in growing them or finding them in singapore. I wonder if all those ferns growing wild in singapore has edible fronds or not, but there don't seem to be anyone who can tell.

  8. I am new to gardening. Gotten myself a foam box and am clues where to but the soil to plant veg. Can you advise me? Roughly how many bags are needed for one foam box?

  9. Hi there! I'm also trying to grow vegy in Singapore, but I'd like to ask you how long I should leave the plants out in the sun. I face the east, and would it be too hot for the veggies? Thanks.

  10. Where can I find vegetable seedlings in Singapore? Thanks.

  11. Hi,

    Where Can I find the seeds for Spinach in Singapore?
    Moreover, how can I maintain a constant supply of seeds? Do I need to keep buying them to plant new ones or can I harvest seeds as well?

  12. Hi.. My name is Angie.. May i know what seed (as in which brand) are U using? I bought a few packet of horti seed and already attempted to plant all of them in the past few mths but none sprouted. In the past I've planted some seeds from malaysia and it sprouted... Any recommendation? Thx!!