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Want to learn about urban beekeeping in Singapore?

Edible Garden City and Melbourne City Rooftop Honey are proud to present their first ever urban beekeeping workshop. I will also be doing a sharing on my experience as a hobbyist managing our local Asian honeybee, Apis Cerana.

Spend an afternoon with us to learn all about these gentle, hardworking insects that help pollinate our fruit trees (you can say their efforts literally bear fruit for us) and tirelessly collect nectar to make delicious, nutritious honey that’s as good as gold.

This beekeeping workshop covers the following: 
– The plight of honey bees around the world
– Why and how bees make honey
– The benefits of honey and how to use it
– Why urban beekeeping? Urban vs. Rural
– Beekeeping insights for Singapore
– What we can do to make our cities more bee friendly
– The art of tasting honey, with accompanying fine-dining canapes from Cordon Bleu-trained Chef Isaac Henry

Workshop Details: 
Date: 1st September 2018, Saturday
Time: 3pm to 5pm
Venue: Citizen Farm, 60 Jalan Penjara
Price: $60 including materials ($55: Early bird promo ends on Friday, 24th August)
RSVP: Register here! There are limited seats so book your spot without delay!

See you there!

The post Learn About Urban Beekeeping in Singapore at Citizen Farm! appeared first on The Tender Gardener .

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I recently got my hands on this medium sized Vegepod and I’m a massive fan! I’ve had it for 4 months (18 weeks) and in this time I have enjoyed lots of leafy greens and the pleasure of sitting and tending to my plants in a raised planter, something I have not been able to do before, because as most of you can relate, I am usually squatting or kneeling when fussing about my plants. 

I had been thinking of establishing a garden bed to grow green leafy vegetables and herbs at home, and as with all gardening decisions, I have to consider my curious chickens who are useful at turning over a spent vegetable bed but they also enjoy digging in the ones they are not supposed to! Also, the occasional mynah comes around and uproots my seedlings, which is pretty annoying. For many of my planters, I use cloches – which I make using chicken wire, and I also use plastic mesh to protect my plants.

Fortunately, the Vegepod comes with a netted hood, which help to keep these predators and many other pests out. It is optional for you to use, but aside from the protection, I appreciate the shade it offers – in this case 17%, which helps when I am growing plants that may not be acclimatised to our steamy tropical climate yet. 

What exotic plants am I growing? Nothing exceptionally unique, but the seeds are mainly from overseas – curly and Tuscan kale, cherry tomatoes, sweet basil, dill, Italian parsley, nasturtium, white borage, red spinach and a purple carrot. One of the curly kale plants look really small, that is because I had just transplanted it not long ago.

I have placed my Vegepod in a spot which gets morning and mid day sun till around 2pm, depending on the time of the year. Previously I had grown lettuce and I could tell that the amount of sun was adequate because it did not taste bitter. The two kinds of kale also taste good, with no bitter taste, so this is definitely a good place for them to grow. The red spinach is definitely crying for more sun and the tomato plant seems to want more sun too, but are otherwise doing well.

I received this medium sized version from Blair and Philippa of Vegepod Singapore, who requested that I try it out. I’m not obliged to promote or write a post but I truly love this product and I am even considering buying another.  These are the reasons why I love it:

Raised Beds

I’ve opted to get a stand with my garden beds. With raised beds, I don’t have a snail issue, and it’s a lot more ergonomic and makes for more comfortable gardening. I have placed a chair next to the Vegepod so that I can sit and tend to my plants. It has become a daily morning and evening ritual for me to sit and observe my Vegepod, it’s amazing how much plants can grow on a daily basis.

Self Wicking Beds

The Vegepod has water reservoirs so I don’t have to water the soil everyday, and I can get away with watering once every 2-3 days if it doesn’t rain. Through capillary action, water “wicks” into the soil from the reservoirs, so plant roots have access to the moisture it requires. In the event that I overwater, there are overflow holes for excess water to drain out of the planter.

Protective Cover

Other than keeping out pesky birds and chickens, and giving shade to plants which might not have acclimatised here yet, I’ve found that the protective cover offers good protection for seedlings that I’m hardening off. As mentioned earlier, the cover offers 17% shade, and I leave my seedlings in growing punnets in the Vegepod at times, and they have been doing very well. The netting also keeps out lots of pests, but really small ones, like spider mites and aphids can still get in. 

The Vegepod comes with misting sprays, and these are optional to install on the cover. If you choose to use the misting method of watering your plants, you will have to place your planter near a water point. I have opted to water my plants manually due to preference, and when it rains, water permeates the cover so I don’t have to water them.

Sturdy, Good Quality Product

Personally, I find the Vegepod smart-looking and visually appealing.  The garden bed component is made of food grade safe polypropylene, and UV stabilised so that it can last for at least 10 years – this is important given our harsh sunlight. The stands are made of galvanised steel and powder coated black, and seems very strong and sturdy.  

The Vegepod was easy to assemble and there are some highly entertaining videos on the website that can help you put it together with ease. I certainly preferred the videos to the instruction sheet in the box, you’ll see what I mean when you take a gander. I put this together myself so I’m pretty proud of it!

From left: Sweet Basil, Dill, Cherry Tomato, Tuscan Kale Curly Kale Red Spinach Sweet Basil

Overall I am pretty impressed with the Vegepod and I would recommend this to those who can afford the space. It comes in three sizes – small (0.5m x 1m), medium (1m x 1m) and large (2m x 1m), and you can view it in the flesh at Candy Floriculture, SinFlora and Eco-Scape. You can also find Blair and Philippa at Gardener’s Day Out each month at Hort Park. For more information on this product, visit Vegepod Singapore

Please share your Vegepod photos with me on Instagram! I’d love to see what you are growing! I’ve been trying to pack my planter with as many plants as possible, and I find this a good exercise in bio-intensive growing. I will continue to share my Vegepod photos on Instagram Stories, so please join me there, where I also share all kinds of gardening and farming stuff!

The post Introducing my Vegepod! appeared first on The Tender Gardener .

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This Saturday, The Hive Lavender is hosting the Urban Farm & Feast Market – a local farmer’s market at their lovely co-working space. There will be a marketplace, where you can watch demos, purchase food, produce, plants, and garden products, and also on offer are health, gardening and urban farming workshops! I will be teaching an Intro to Soil Class for absolute beginners, and also have a booth selling seedlings, seeds and pre-loved gardening books, so pop by and visit!

Urban Farm & Feast Market Details:
Date: 25 August, Saturday
Time: 12nn – 5pm
Venue: The Hive Lavender, Level 6, Vanguard Building, 1 Kallang Junction
Admission: Free
RSVP: Book your ticket here!

Vendors and workshop providers you can expect to see include:
The Sustainability Project
Healing Food = Food that heals
The Tender Gardener
Yumicorn Singapore
The Green Co.
Farmily 家和农
Foreword Coffee
Well Dressed Salad Bar & Cafe
Quan Fa Organic Farm
3D-Printing-Hub.Asia
Simplified Technology Pte Ltd and others.

To view the entire list of workshops on the day, visit the Urban Farm & Feast Market event page! Know someone who could benefit from learning about choosing the right soil for growing plants? Book my class here!

I hope to see you there!

The post 25 August: Urban Farm & Feast Market appeared first on The Tender Gardener .

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John Chong is a jovial man and one who loves his bees. Out of pure passion, he decided to open BEE aMAZEd Garden, a bee education centre at Kampung Kampus, located in Yishun. I have since visited twice, and I really like his humble facility, which has a garden for bees, bee observation gallery, educational aids and an area for classes and workshops. For those keen on bees in Singapore, this is the place for you! My first visit was with my friend GK, and more recently, Waj (pictured above), a beekeeping enthusiast who recently relocated from London with his family.

BEE aMAZEd Gardens offers several education programmes including garden tours, bee education classes, and even basic beekeeping, see here for the list. In addition, the education centre also provides organisations a CSR opportunity to adopt a hive. So far, John has hosted school visits to his centre, and welcomes group bookings.

Upon entering the premises, you will first notice the flower garden which features bee-friendly plants, and then an observation gallery where you can get reasonably close to bee hives without the risk of being stung, followed by a talk/workshop space with educational aids.

John mainly uses hives based on the Kenyan top bar hive design, he had them specially made to suit our local Asian honeybee, Apis cerana. Recently he had a couple of Apis dorsata colonies but one was stolen by a monkey(?!) and the other flew into a mangosteen tree. Aside from being a wonderful educator, John has great anecdotes and is an entertaining storyteller.

While I was there I got to taste some of John’s honey label – My Honey, indeed it was very tasty. He also offers a honey tasting class so if you love honey, you should certainly check it out.

BEE aMAZEd Garden is located at 91 Lorong Chencharu, if you would like to visit, drop John a message at their website or contact him at info@beeamazed.com.sg. This is a great place to observe bees in Singapore!

The post Bee Amazed Garden: Learn About Bees & Beekeeping in Singapore appeared first on The Tender Gardener .

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Agy and I are back for another beeswax wrap workshop in early July at Funan Showsuite!

Looking for a safe, natural and reusable alternative to plastic wrap and aluminium foil? Join us for this fun, hands on workshop to learn how to make your own zero-waste beeswax food storage wraps for use at home! These perfect for encasing freshly cut fruit and vegetables, and sealing a variety of cooked food, and sauces in containers.

We are pleased to collaborate with Funan for this session. During this 2 hour session, textile artist, Agatha “Agy” Lee, and self sufficiency advocate, Olivia Choong, will guide you step by step in preparing a delicately scented beeswax mixture for application on any natural fabric, and evenly setting the mixture to create a beautiful beeswax wrap, ready for you to take home for immediate use!

Once you learn how simple it is to make your own beeswax wraps, you will no longer wish to buy (and throw) plastic wrap and aluminium foil.

Each ticket is priced at $85 per participant, and includes all materials. Limited seats available, so book your spot today!

What will I learn?

We will teach you how to make your own beeswax wraps at home!

Skills:
  • Adequate preparation of beeswax mixture
  • Even application on cloth
  • Uniformly setting the mixture on cloth
  • How to choose and prepare cloth for beeswax application

All materials provided!

  • Beeswax
  • Pine rosin
  • Jojoba oil
  • 2 sets pre-cut cloth per participant (one 5″ x 5″ for a mug and one 9″ x 9″ for a bowl)
What to expect?

In this 2-hour interactive session, expect a fun learning experience:

  • Hands-on learning with both facilitators
  • Relaxing, cosy and supportive environment
  • Minimum 5 pax to conduct the workshop

Date: 7 July 2018
Time: 11am – 1pm
Venue: Funan Showsuite, Junction of High Street and Hill Street
Price: $85
RSVP: Seats are limited to 10 only. Book your seat here!

**Please note: this workshop is not suitable for those who have allergies to beeswax, pine rosin and jojoba oil.

ABOUT OUR TRAINERS

Agatha “Agy” is a textile artist who is passionate about building environmentally aware communities. Her goal is getting people to reconnect with their clothes through techniques such as repair and transforming them into creative wearables (aka upcycling). Currently she is exploring embroidery and natural dyeing techniques as a way of reconnecting with our clothes, and nature too. Agatha can be found at Agy Textile Artist, and is a founding member of Connected Threads Asia and Fashion Revolution Singapore.

Olivia is a gardener, nature lover and believer of a sustainable society. She writes about gardening and sustainable living on her blog – The Tender Gardener, and raises awareness of environment-related issues through a non-profit environmental society, Green Drinks (Singapore), where she is the President and Co-founder. Very much a homebody, she likes to spend time in her garden, fussing over her chickens and watching bees in her apiary.

The post Upcoming Beeswax Wrap Workshop! appeared first on The Tender Gardener .

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Shopping for plants but wondering which ones are toxic for your cat and/or dog? I speak with veterinarian and plantswoman, Gloria Lee, who highlights edible and ornamental plants poisonous to cats and dogs and explains what pet owners should do if their pet is poisoned.

1. Are most plants safe for cats/dogs? Is there a rule of thumb when it comes to choosing safe plants?
Most plants are in general not systemically toxic to cats/dogs. The more commonly available plants in Singapore which happen to be toxic to cats/dogs, are generally locally irritating to the mucosa or lining of the gut, thereby causing unpleasant gastric signs of drooling, vomiting and diarrhea. In general, plants with sap can be considered not edible. To be safe, all plants should be considered potentially toxic, unless otherwise proven. This is especially so if you have puppies which have no safety valve when it comes to chewable things. Puppies are more likely to ingest large amounts of inappropriate materials, causing more serious problems

2. Which edible and ornamental plants should cat/dog owners completely avoid having around the home?
I cannot think of an edible plant which should be avoided around the home, unless you are referring to something like brinjals and tomatoes where the green unripe fruits are toxic. There are some highly, highly toxic plants which can kill outright e.g. oleander, all bulbs belonging to the Lily family, Rangoon Creeper (Quisqualis indica), Deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna), Datura etc. Flowers in bouquets are sometimes more attractive to cats and dogs and also need to be considered, not just the plants themselves. Bouquets often involve exotic flowers not grown in Singapore or the tropics, and hence, do not ping the radar when investigating a potential source of toxicity.

The common plants found which cause gastric signs are often ‘house plants’ or corridor plants e.g. Dieffenbachia(dumb cane), Money plant, ZZ plant (Zamioculcas), Peace Lily, Mother in law’s plant, philodendrons- these only cause issues if ingested in sufficient quantities- which then depends on the size/weight of the pet.

3. What are some tell-tale signs that our cat/dog has been poisoned?
Lethargy, salivating/drooling, vomiting and/or diarrhea. Hopefully the owner would be aware that their plant has been torn to shreds or is MISSING (!)

4. What immediate actions can we take before bringing our cat/dog to the vet?
It is advisable NOT to delay the trip to the vet clinic and if possible, call ahead to let the clinic know AND to bring recognizable samples of the offending/suspected plant. Unfortunately, a lot of vets may not be knowledgeable about identification of plants. But having the correct ID can assist the vet in looking up information about possible antidotes. However, most toxic plants in general do not have specific antidotes. Identification of plants can be difficult since some have multiple common names/Chinese names etc and some have names not relevant to their actual Family eg Peace Lily is actually a Spathiphyllum belonging to the Family Araceae and not an actual Lily.

5. Do you regularly encounter visits from pet owners with cats/dogs that have been poisoned from plants?
Luckily no. We probably see more issues from ingesting foreign bodies e.g. durian seeds, socks and toxicity from food eg onion, chocolates, raisins.

From a gardening perspective, I have encountered suspected contact irritation to the skin from pets rubbing against a plant which had been sprayed with chemicals (fertilizer/insecticide), the fine hairs on Bamboos, ingestion of manure based fertilizer and of clay pebbles.

Gloria Lee is a veterinarian at Mount Pleasant Vet Centre (Mandai) based in Singapore, and also the Honorary Treasurer of Singapore Gardening Society.

All images were taken from Pexel.

The post Plants poisonous to cats and dogs appeared first on The Tender Gardener .

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Want to learn about urban beekeeping in Singapore?

Edible Garden City and Melbourne City Rooftop Honey are proud to present their first ever urban beekeeping workshop. I will also be doing a sharing on my experience as a hobbyist managing our local Asian honeybee, Apis Cerana.

Spend an afternoon with us to learn all about these gentle, hardworking insects that help pollinate our fruit trees (you can say their efforts literally bear fruit for us) and tirelessly collect nectar to make delicious, nutritious honey that’s as good as gold.

This beekeeping workshop covers the following: 
– The plight of honey bees around the world
– Why and how bees make honey
– The benefits of honey and how to use it
– Why urban beekeeping? Urban vs. Rural
– Beekeeping insights for Singapore
– What we can do to make our cities more bee friendly
– The art of tasting honey, with accompanying fine-dining canapes from Cordon Bleu-trained Chef Isaac Henry

Workshop Details: 
Date: 1st September 2018, Saturday
Time: 3pm to 5pm
Venue: Citizen Farm, 60 Jalan Penjara
Price: $60 including materials ($55: Early bird promo ends on Friday, 24th August)
RSVP: Register here! There are limited seats so book your spot without delay!

See you there!

The post Learn About Urban Beekeeping in Singapore at Citizen Farm! appeared first on The Tender Gardener .

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This Saturday, The Hive Lavender is hosting the Urban Farm & Feast Market – a local farmer’s market at their lovely co-working space. There will be a marketplace, where you can watch demos, purchase food, produce, plants, and garden products, and also on offer are health, gardening and urban farming workshops! I will be teaching an Intro to Soil Class for absolute beginners, and also have a booth selling seedlings, seeds and pre-loved gardening books, so pop by and visit!

Urban Farm & Feast Market Details:
Date: 25 August, Saturday
Time: 12nn – 5pm
Venue: The Hive Lavender, Level 6, Vanguard Building, 1 Kallang Junction
Admission: Free
RSVP: Book your ticket here!

Vendors and workshop providers you can expect to see include:
The Sustainability Project
Healing Food = Food that heals
The Tender Gardener
Yumicorn Singapore
The Green Co.
Farmily 家和农
Foreword Coffee
Well Dressed Salad Bar & Cafe
Quan Fa Organic Farm
3D-Printing-Hub.Asia
Simplified Technology Pte Ltd and others.

To view the entire list of workshops on the day, visit the Urban Farm & Feast Market event page! Know someone who could benefit from learning about choosing the right soil for growing plants? Book my class here!

I hope to see you there!

The post 25 August: Urban Farm & Feast Market appeared first on The Tender Gardener .

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