Urban farming made easy with tools and tips: Hydroponics, irrigation systems, and more

Urban farming made easy with tools and tips: Hydroponics, irrigation systems, and more

Start digging

Text: Brandon Alexius Chia

Image: Unsplash

Like it or not, most of us are homebodies now. Dependent on the individual, it can go either way; you might have adopted a pet, tapped into your domestic talent in the kitchen, or even attempted to grow your own produce. Urban farming has also been on the rise lately, as most of us are now aware that it is in fact, beneficial for the environment. Less plastic and less food waste. But let's say not all of us are born with green fingers — leave it to these tips and tricks to help your dying crops out or inspire your next harvest.

Extra gear that makes a difference

Most of us, who have already started to have pots going, would have the basic gardening tools such as spades, shovels, hoes, shears, and more. But these are not enough if we don't start caring for the basic needs of plants first — we're talking soil, water, and light — and ensure that they are all in top condition.

  1. Smart soil tester
    Many plants need a whole sleuth of vitamins and minerals to grow into actual fruit-bearing or edible crops. Hence, soil plays a major role, which is why we need to ensure that there are enough nutrients in it so that it can give the plants what they need to flourish. Hook up the tester to your phone to get consistent updates as time goes by, this is useful in knowing when to do some repotting. Some testers can also gauge water levels and temperature.

  1. Self-irrigation System
    Let's be honest, we've probably killed many of our green friends either because we forgot to water them or we waterlogged them. With this nifty gadget, you can programme the device to dispense water slowly throughout the day or at certain times of the day. Just stick the tube deep into the soil and call it a day.

  1. Vertical hydroponics stand
    Unfortunately, not all of us are blessed with good natural sunlight in our household. This is where this comprehensive system comes in handy — this machine allows you to plant a whole plethora of herbs, microgreens, and veggies while occupying a small amount of space. Plus, you won't have to worry about light as it comes with an in-built LED light to aid the photosynthesis process. These stands also come with their own watering system that does not require any soil. No muss, no fuss, and happy plants.

Urban farming made easy with tools and tips: Hydroponics, irrigation systems, and more (фото 1)

Start small and local

Let's learn to walk before we run. Herbs like basil, thyme, and mint are easy to grow and maintain as they only need small pots to grow. Aromatics like ginger and onions are also easy, just cover them in soil once they start to sprout.

After you've cultivated a habit of tending to these plants, you can move forward with vegetables and fruits. However, not all veggies were meant to thrive in our humid, tropical climate. Eggplants, aloe vera, pandan, chillis, pineapples, and lady's fingers are good choices. However, if you're into more exotic flavours, avocados and habanero peppers can also be grown here in sunny Singapore.

Here are some local brands that will help get you started with planting kits:

Super Farmers

This wellness brand aims to improve nutrition and food consumed daily. The farming kits come with six different seed options — kang kong, Chinese kale (Kailan), chye sim, beetroot, and broccoli — along with individual bio-degradable pots. The microgreens will be edible at the 14-day mark but you can also spread the seeds out into other pots for a longer period to create a sustainable supply of vegetables.

Easi Grow

Relying on hydroponics, this brand sells an assortment of microgreens, flowers, and systems that will help your seedlings take root and grow into beautiful edible greens. They also have different lighting options to enhance the growth of the plants.

Go Pasar

Don't have the patience to wait out the germination stage? Hop on over to the "Carousell" of the gardening world. This website is full of listings for harvested homegrown vegetables and mushrooms. Some people are also selling their extra potted plants that are already ripe with fruit. All you have to do is continue caring for it.