Fieldnotes Project Updates

Fieldworkers notes – July 2021

Fieldworkers Meet 7 August 2021

Siglap South 

Soil is completely black, plants not doing so well. Worms don’t move around, they just gather in the worm bin. 

Are they overfed there? Not really…

Might be an environment issue instead – not enough sun

If we grow fruiting vegetables, they may not do as well compared to asystasia, sweet potato, kang kong, ginger.

The garden also has white ginger flowers – grown for the fragrant smell.

Irene hasn’t been so responsive on the chat, so Megan has been conversing with Doris more

They have a vermicomposting thing going. 


Not active since June, as there was a complaint from a resident which escalated. Madam Zhang who was involved in the garden, was made to step down as Chairman. A resident had complained against practices in the garden which she was directly involved in. Vivian and Hanjing approached Jacqueline from NParks, who went to negotiate with garden manager. 

Original test bed was very clayey. This was dug up, but not done in time, so it became a pond with fishes. It had to be removed; the soil was removed, and Jacqueline brought clay soil to fill up the plot with a hugelkulture method. The RC wanted them to dig this up and cover it with soil, but Jacqueline managed to convince them to use a hugelkulture method. They then had to do a cool off period – no one was allowed to go except for the RC chairman. 

But this is a good thing too – the soil can rest and break down. After Heightened Alert, we could continue. 

Rectangular plot was removed (mulch was removed), and compost was poured into soil.

Gonna stick with garden as garden members are active. 

Madam Zhang had had a big operation, so been telling her to rest. She is also passionate, so she also wanted to do things, but had to tell her to rest, and not overstretch herself (and her post-operation stitches) and others around her.

Some lessons: soil regeneration in SG is unique: Need to take one approach and slowly ease into it. Community gardens do get shut down when residents who don’t understand something well enough make a complaint.

Garden originally wasn’t cemented, then it was, and this created an overflow of water on the vertical side. It was not designed with a garden in mind. It made gardening so much more difficult, and when gardening is difficult, there is more collision in ideas, and sometimes the garden just closes down because of this. 

Cemented gardens 

Bring additional problems, such as algae, which operations managers resort to removing with high-pressure waterjets.

Oi Lian shares that she was very sad to hear about the old rain trees cemented over in Margaret Drive. Tree roots are severely impacted when paved over with cement, even if they reach into the ground. We urge BCA to consider working with the National Parks Board to merge complementary technical and best practice recommendations, so our construction and built environment industry can help to grow a healthy ecosystem of urban trees, plants, soil and water for the next 55 years and more.


when we try to solve a problem with just one view, 

it creates more problems. 

This is why we need:

Contextual, lived experiences to speak to, and be heard by policy and current practices

Changing one garden at a time, one gardener and one resident at a time.

Just continue what we’re doing, there is a reason we are doing this, and we’ll try our very best to reach as far as we can go! 

NParks has to deal with the bureaucratic stuff, but at the core of it, they do see the value of it

Continue to do the fieldwork, and mark your fieldwork hours!