Partners Soil Companions

Tang HB – Methodist Girls’ School

Human health comes from soil health.

Mr Tang HB

The garden space in Methodist Girls’ School (MGS) was badly damaged a few years ago when their sports complex was built near to it. Construction debris such as broken bricks and rocks was buried in the garden under a thin layer of landscape soil, on which grass was later planted. 

Before growing any crops, my friends and I had to remove as much construction debris from the soil as possible. We also added purchased soil and purchased compost to quickly amend the soil for growing. We used about 3 tons of purchased soil and 600 kg of compost to create the grow areas. We won’t need to buy anymore soil or compost because we are now creating our own soil and compost in the garden using food scraps from the canteen stalls, garden waste, grass clippings and fallen leaves.

The pond in the garden was poorly managed. There was only one species of fish – tilapia. The filtration system was not functioning properly. The water didn’t smell nice and there were string algae floating around. The school management was already planning to give up the pond and fill it up with soil to grow grass. I asked the them to let me try to revive the pond. Luckily, they agreed. Instead of using their artificial filtration system, I planted a diversity of aquatic plants and introduced more than 20 species of fishes. The ecosystem created is working well and the water is clear now. I have recorded 23 species of dragonflies visiting the pond. A few species are breeding in the pond. I can see their exuviae sometimes.

Today, the garden is producing food for both people and animals and is also providing ecological services. Teachers and students come to the garden not only to admire it but also to make observations on ecology. It is now a living classroom for students to learn about food and nature.

What plants do you grow in the area?

Edibles and ornamentals, annuals and perennials

Do you grow on a raised bed or directly in the soil?

Combination of the two

Roughly how large is your site?

About the size of a basketball court. 436 sqm

What are the microclimate conditions over time? (how sunny or shady, for how long? How wet and windy is the spot?)

A mixture of these

What practices do you use with the soil?
  • Mulching – the main practice.
  • Composting using soil in a shaded area.
  • Burying food scraps in soil in grow area.
Is there anything else about your site that is worth noting?

It is a regenerative food garden attracting biodiversity and sequestering carbon.