Heading towards the Garden at Siglap South, one would either have to walk around the compound, or down and up dark flights of stairs in a small space. Immediately, you would see a spiral herb garden, a growing variety of edibles in interconnected soil beds and trellis.
Walking in the garden, you may go barefoot. Soles on paths paved with cocopeat, dried leaves and twigs.
Going barefoot (was comfortable), left my soles soil-less.
The regenerative garden expanded into an L shape, with a papaya circle, banana circle and heaps of compost piles with a worm bin. As the garden is blocked by concrete walls of neighbouring houses, it does not receive as much sunlight as ideal. Practising regenerative methods, the gardeners experimented with many ways to retain moisture while creating looser soil. The soil is also nourished by the gardeners’ housemade fish fertilisers, worm towers peaking out at every plot and of course the lovingly prepared compost.
Huge compost piles heat up to 60 degrees and they are often filled with foodscraps that the gardeners retrieve from the neighbourhood and nearby wet markets. It’s their dedication to feeding the soil with organic matter that turned the once compact soil into one that is now full of life – earthworm-spotting, moist but loose.
To an eye that visits the garden once in a while, the garden undergoes subtle changes. A growing lushness, constantly fruiting passion fruits, plants re-seeding and re-growing again. At every turn, one may also encounter rarely seen plants, like java ginseng, white ginger (which flower tastes like jasmine) and more native plants like ulam raja, lady fingers and sweet potato leaves that fill the soil beds. Growing along the beds are a type of medical flower which is commonly seen around the pavements in Singapore. It was only a visit to Siglap garden that one might realise plants that are edible are actually all around us!