Letter of the week: HDB flats should come with balconies for gardening

Chinese spinach grown along a corridor. PHOTO: IRIS HO

I am glad that the National Parks Board has taken the initiative to encourage home gardening by giving out free seeds (More community plots sprouting up to cater to gardening enthusiasts, June 19).

However, not all Housing Board flats have the luxury of a balcony or sun-facing windows for this. And the community gardens are often too small to fulfil the needs of everyone, leading to quarrels or even theft.

While we may never achieve complete self-sufficiency in the supply of fruits and vegetables due to our shortage of land, if we can get every household to use a small part of the home space to grow produce, the amount grown could be significant. This would surely help to reduce the reliance on imports.

HDB should investigate the feasibility of making a balcony with a planter box a standard feature of flats. Some features to collect rainwater and redirect it to the planter would be especially useful.

There are advantages to having a balcony with a planter box. A balcony provides the elderly with an outdoor environment without having to leave the house. And they can spend time there doing meaningful gardening.

Also, a planter box ensures the balcony is kept clean without the need to use trays for pots of plants, which can collect water for mosquitoes to breed in.

Wong Boon Hong

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