Comment: Gardening for self-sufficiency? The fruits of my labor have been few


My family is lucky to have their own garden. Singaporeans living in apartments can bid on allotment gardens or volunteer to tend community plots. Or they make do with their space by keeping windowsill gardens or investing in fancy hydroponic towers.

The Internet is full of solutions for gardening for food, no matter how much space you have. YouTube videos about gardening for self-sufficiency have exploded, possibly prompted by inflation and pandemic shortages.

There, self-proclaimed farmers discuss how to plan crops, lay out plots and compost waste to maximize yields. In these circles, farming techniques like permaculture, crop rotation and companion planting are casually discussed – enough to make any hobbyist’s head spin.

Singapore’s gardening Facebook groups – the most popular with over 100,000 members – provide advice and problem-solving. But since success depends so much on individual circumstances, it’s discouraging to see attempts to hand-pollinate pumpkin blossoms or propagate Italian basil from cuttings end in failure.

The idea of ​​working the land for food is quite romantic, but it’s still work in the end. We urban Singaporeans don’t all have the land, the resources and, most importantly, the time to do this.

Working to put food on the table already takes so much – can we really be expected to grow that food too?

While the only farming I could do from now on is in video games, I came away with a deep respect for people who are dedicated to growing their own food.

Or I could just do it for the fun of it, not the pressure to feed anyone. The pace and routine of raising a living being is also fulfilling in itself.

Erin Low is a research writer at CNA Digital.

Terri S. Tomasini