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NParks giving out 3,000 seed packets to grow edibles

Pumpkin, cherry tomato among varieties to be included in new round of distribution

Charmaine Ng on 21 Mar 2021

The Straits Times


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Some 3,000 seed packets including seeds for cauliflower, radish and pumpkin will be distributed to avid gardeners, who were able to start registering their interest for the seeds yesterday.


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, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and Second Minister for National Development and Finance, at the Community Garden Edibles Competition award ceremony at HortPark yesterday.


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.


People can register their interest for the seed packets by visiting and filling out the form. 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 HortPark after registering.


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 for members of the public to pick up gardening skills, through tutorial videos and masterclasses.


Yesterday, 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, she said.


She added that the idea is to enable social enterprises to manage community garden spaces in the heartland and organise programmes for seniors, people 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.


Meanwhile, registration for more than 230 allotment gardening plots comprising a raised planter bed measuring 2.5m by 1m opened yesterday for leasing 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.​


Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.



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