NParks to give out 3,000 seed packets to spur edible gardening

Seeds distributed by NParks in 2020. Instructions on how to grow the vegetables will come with the packs of seeds.
Seeds distributed by NParks in 2020. Instructions on how to grow the vegetables will come with the packs of seeds.PHOTO: NPARKS

SINGAPORE - Some 3,000 seed packets including cauliflower, radish and pumpkin will be distributed to avid gardeners, who can start registering their interest for the seeds on Saturday (March 20).

The seeds are part of a new tranche of edible plant seeds for distribution to the public by the National Parks Board (NParks), to encourage gardening with edibles among Singaporeans.

This was announced by Ms Indranee Rajah, Second Minister for National Development and Finance, at the Community Garden Edibles Competition award ceremony at HortPark on Saturday.

Successful gardeners of the seeds will be able to submit their harvests for judging at the next Community Garden Edibles Competition in October.

Each seed packet contains seeds for one type of fruit or vegetable. Other varieties to be given out this round include winter melon, cherry tomato, lady's finger, cucumber, snake gourd, sword bean and luffa.

The public can register their interest for the seed packets by filling out a form at this website. They can also call the visitor service centre at HortPark on 6471-5601.

However, unlike last year's distribution where the seed packets were sent by mail, gardeners will need to collect the seed packets at a physical location upon successful registration.

Since NParks launched the Gardening with Edibles programme, last year, to complement Singapore's goal to produce 30 per cent of the country's nutritional needs locally by 2030, the agency has given out about 460,000 seed packets of edible plants.

NParks also developed free online resources and workshops to impart gardening skills to the public, through tutorial videos and masterclasses.

On Saturday, some 1,000 gardeners attended a masterclass on rooted vegetables led by Mr Ang Wee Foong, NParks centre director of the seed bank and deputy director of nursery management.

Those who missed the masterclass can watch a video of it on the NParksSG YouTube channel, or the agency's NParksBuzz Facebook and Instagram platforms.

Ms Indranee said NParks is also planning to work with social enterprises in the community urban farming sector in the future.

The aim is to create more spaces for recreational gardening, engage the community through gardening-related activities, and provide micro-employment and volunteering opportunities to residents, said the minister.

She said the idea is to enable social enterprises to manage community garden spaces in the heartlands and organise programmes for seniors, persons with disabilities and the special needs community.

Said Ms Indranee: “We are studying how best to support such social enterprises, and will provide more details when ready.”

The new initiatives come under the NParks' Edible Horticulture Masterplan, which was launched in 2017 as part of Singapore's vision of developing a City in Nature.

On March 20, some 1,000 gardeners attended a masterclass on rooted vegetables led by Mr Ang Wee Foong. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Meanwhile, registration for more than 230 allotment gardening plots comprising a raised planter bed measuring 2.5m by 1m opened on Saturday. Gardeners can lease the plots for three years at $57 annually.

The scheme was piloted in 2016 with 80 plots at HortPark. Today, there are more than 1,700 allotment plots in 20 parks across Singapore, all fully subscribed.

To encourage more interest in gardening, NParks has also introduced to the public more than 50 new edible plant cultivars developed in its nursery, such as golden papaya and society garlic.