Farming Tips

A database of farming-related advice we’ve accumulated.

Growing Seedlings

  • Grow seedlings under direct sunlight rather than at a windowsill – this will keep them stout and healthy. Transplanting them to the soil is easier if they’re healthy. But do this gradually – place them under direct sunlight during the morning only of the first day, then gradually increase their time in the sun. 
  • A special type of soil (black in color) is needed for new seedlings. Do not use the soil currently found in our planters.
  • Do not use fertilizer on seedlings. It will kill the seeds!
  • Place cotton wool at the bottom of the tray and top with soil. Seeds should be placed at a depth 2-3x their diameter.
  • Alternative to seed tray: 2 layers of egg trays stacked on top of each other.

Planting

  • Planting should ideally be done in the evening. (Trans)planting stresses the plants as does the hot sun, so to minimize the stress from the latter, evening is the best time for (trans)planting.

Pests

Side note: since we’re an organic farm and do not use pesticides, our threshold for pests will be higher – don’t expect picture perfect produce (this doesn’t naturally exist).

  • Put a mosquito coil about the tomato plant at night to prevent fruit flies from attacking the fruit.
  • Get rid of the white powder on tomato plants if you spot any.
  • The white stuff on the leaves are leaf miners aka larvae of insects that live in and eat the leaf tissue of plants. But the leaves they’ve attacked are still edible!
  • Can use neem oil or lay coffee grounds (but not too much) over the soil to repel pests
  • Remove leaves that have signs of pest-damage

Plant Combinations

  • Sweetcorn + cucumber. The cucumber can use the sweetcorn for support as they grow, saving space.
  • Marigold + mulberry.
  • Basil + tomato.

Soil

  • Should loosen the soil every 2 weeks (by working the surface of the soil loose with a fork; can go deeper if it’s a tall plant, but if it’s a small plant you should be careful and not go too deep or you’ll risk destroying the roots) – encourages aeration
  • Add more compost to the soil to prevent it from hardening (if the vegetables turn yellow, it’s because the compost has too much wood. Adding more peat would be good, since it’s easily degradable)
    • Compost should have no meat, beans or egg shells. Without these, the compost shouldn’t stink.
    • If compost is too dry, add water.
    • The finer the material added to the compost, the fast it will break down – can blend stuff, or cut stuff up before adding it to the compost.
  • Can grow legumes/peanuts to improve the soil – loosens the soil upon harvest and makes the soil more nutrient-rich

When we have come to the end of our farming season (i.e. summer), we can fell the land and let weeds naturally over take it, or cover the soil with weed protecting sheets.

Helpful plants

  • Basil repels pests and mint repels ants

Online resources:

  • NParks’ videos on hands-on gardening (these are LIFESAVERS): https://www.nparks.gov.sg/gardening/gardening-resources/hands-on-gardening-videos