With the increase of people growing their own food in gardens, the National Parks Board is implementing a new plan that will promote gardening. Their plan will include training young people, offering gardening festivals, and providing garden plots throughout Singapore. Since its introduction over, 10 years ago, communities have improved their gardening skills and are developing edible gardens to a whole new level.
Due to the increased interest in gardening, each year the National Parks Community holds their Garden Edibles Competition. The number of entries has risen over the past year by approximately 35% and the quality of the entries has improved dramatically. Since its introduction 3 years ago, awards are given out to those who have excelled in the field of edible gardening. Some of the most popular edibles include tomatoes, beans, and gourds.
An Increase Of Plots For Gardens:
Plans are already in the works to provide more plots in at least 10 parks over the next 2 years. This is thanks to the enormous success of Community Garden Festival at HortPark. HortHouse is an excellent training place for CUGE or Center for Urban Greenery and Ecology. HortHouse offers 11 varieties of flowers and plants for showcasing while teaching home gardeners new skills and techniques. By the end of this year, it is believed there will be over 200 plots throughout highly populated towns including Clementi Woods Park, Punggol Park, and many more. HortPark itself will have an additional 160 plots as well.
The Overall Plan:
There are 4 stages that will be implemented for gardening. Training, the introduction of edible gardening, introducing new varieties of plants, and horticultural technologies. They will also be offering an outreach program to engage more people.
Developing Gardening Skills:
Gardeners in the different communities will be able to take courses in edible gardening starting in early 2018. These courses will be provided to give gardeners the skills and techniques needed to grow their own gardens successfully. As gardeners develop better skills and gain more knowledge, they, in turn, can pass this on to others within their communities. Working with AVA (Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority), the National Parks Community will offer further training in the leaf-baring category of edible foods through a program called Master Growers. This program will cover tutorials and hands-on sessions in gardens.
Why Is National Parks Introducing New Programs And Training?
By offering a larger variety of plants and technologies, it will attract even more people who are interested in edible gardens. The Germplasm bank which is formed by NParks’ Pasir Panjang Nursery comprises of native and cultivated fruit trees and other plants and has been in operation over the past few years. It is believed they have over 200 different kinds of fruit trees and other plants to date. Many groups are offering their products for sale at the HortPark Monthly Gardeners’ Day Out Events. During the Community Garden Festival, there will be a huge display of new technologies including growing lights and vertical planters which will provide home gardeners with great opportunities to grow their own plants indoors.
What Are Outreach Programs?
Each year the National Parks will organize trails for the public to discover more things about gardening in their own communities and meet other gardeners. They will be a part of activities offered at various community gardens, block parties, through school events, and be sharing their products. These outreach programs started in November and will run through December and are located along various trails such as Fengshan. During these events, there are open house events to view gardens, a farmer’s market, various competitions, and gardeners sharing their knowledge and giving out different plant cuttings. There are also online gardening trail guides along garden trails which will be available for anyone who wishes to visit these gardens when gardeners are available.
The Garden Festival is a combination of many opportunities to reach out to the public. This is an excellent opportunity for communities and the industry to come together. Visitors will learn the latest skills and trends for edible gardening along with the latest technology for home gardening. This outreach program will introduce an array of edible plants through school programs and distribute seeds to children throughout the year to increase the interest of kids of all ages. The Nation Parks will be handing out well over 40,000 seeds to children, yearly.
HortHouse will be opening a new visitors center on Alexandra Rd. Courses will be offered for landscaping to increase gardeners’ knowledge which will be advantageous for Singapore’s gardening plans for the future. The facility will have 11 varieties of plants on display outdoors which will also add to the courses at HortHouse. This is all in an attempt to entice the public into growing their own plants in their gardens.
The Production Of Orchids:
National Parks has announced they will be taking over the orchid production from AVA starting in January of 2018. Orchids play a very important role in Singapore and these beautiful plants are associated with this city. By watching over the production of orchids, National Parks will be able to focus on increasing orchid production within the industry and create a better understanding that is needed to develop and improve policies across the board.
The Biennial Community Garden Festival:
This festival was first launched in 2015 to engage the public and gardeners in taking up gardening and growing their own plants. Each year, the festival draws people from all over including gardening enthusiasts who join together to share their interests.
This year, the festival will be showcasing garden plots created by community gardeners. There will be tours of the Pasir Panjang Nursery, workshops, and lectures.
The National Parks Board, Community Garden Festival, HortHouse training program for the Center for Urban Greenery and Ecology (CUGE) are just a few organizations creating projects for a greener Singapore. These organizations are providing communities with the opportunity to grow their own edible gardens, create other gardens with flowers and fruit trees and adding to the growth of Singapore. Eco-awareness is the focus for the city and people who want to experience a better lifestyle and a much better environment.
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