Urban gardening in Singapore: 5 reasons why we should teach city kids about gardening and growing food

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It’s the school holidays in Singapore (let’s not think about the big summer break yet), and we’re constantly wracking our brains for fresh new projects to keep the kids busy. By now you will have caught our urban gardening adventures: our green thumbs have been in overdrive growing our own salads and greens from our balconies and small outdoor spaces, and we won’t lie to you, we’re feeling rather proud of our seedling-to-harvest efforts. Our clever vertical Aerospring Gardens have certainly inspired the HoneyKids team to think more about homegrown food and fresher-than-fresh produce, so now we are turning our minds to how we can get our little ones more involved too. Now we’re in the swing of things, here are five reasons why we think we should all be getting our city kids into gardening…

1. It answers the question: ‘Where does our food come from?’
Before the arrival of our Aerospring Garden, and subsequent constant crop of leafy greens, herbs and salad staples, if you had asked our kids where our veggies came from they would have said ‘the supermarket’. Even worse, they might have thought it was normal for salad to come in a plastic bag. Growing up in a city environment, it’s inevitable that our kids don’t get much exposure to farming experiences and endless fields of locally produced crops, so let’s pique their curiosity and teach them that we can grow our own green goodies, even from a balcony or small backyard! (We like the Aerospring for its space-saving vertical setup and self-watering, soil-free system – this is as easy as gardening gets!) We guarantee kids will love watching their food grow from a seedling into a bowl of salad from their own balcony.

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HoneyKids’ junior gardener, Angelica, has loved tending to her own little garden and watching her hard work pay off with bundles of fresh produce.

2. It teaches responsibility and gives them a great sense of achievement
We pulled off something amazing here: the kids completed regular chores with our little garden without batting an eyelid! Little kids love watering plants – and in our case, topping up the water supply for our Aerospring with the hose (a very fun job). Other kid-appropriate tasks include trimming dead leaves, looking out for pests and doing the all-important job of harvesting tonight’s salad!  We love nothing better than to see our children puff up with pride when they accomplish something important to them.

 

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While his green fingers may be small, Rafferty is feeling cooler than a cucumber when it comes to his job of rotating the plants to make sure they all get enough sun.

3. Gardening is all about learning through fun: experimenting, getting hands mucky and tasting new things!
Our kids have had such huge fun flexing their little green fingers while planting seedlings, pruning crops, examining plant roots and pouring water and plant food into the garden. The opportunities to experiment have been as bountiful as our mint harvests! Not only have they had a lesson (without realising) in responsibility, they’ve also experienced the triumphs and trials of experimenting with growing their own produce. They now know that basil grows really well here in Singapore, stevia combined with mint is actually pretty delicious – all the more so when they grew it themselves – and that their cucumber mission was, sadly, a big fat fail. 

4. It teaches children to care for the world around them
In a world that is becoming increasingly overburdened by consumerism, exploitation and a lack of regard for the environment, we feel passionate about showing our kids how we can do our little bit to reduce our own carbon footprints. We say it is never too early to put small people on the right path to green values, and what better way to teach them that than by showing them how we can grow our own chemical-free, fresh goodies right on our own balconies, or in our gardens? Involving the kids in the nurturing of the plants also gives the kids a new level of respect for what’s involved in producing good, clean food – and that it shouldn’t be wasted!

An urban gardening success story: this little guy couldn't wait to try the cucumbers we grew on the balcony!

An urban gardening success story: this little guy couldn’t wait to try the cucumbers we grew on the balcony!


5. It encourages them to eat their greens!

Somehow kids have a natural anti-greens radar that is pre-programmed to make them think they hate veggies from the get-go. Gardening is going to fix that, folks! Plonk brussels sprouts from an unknown origin on their plate and the cries of horror will be immediate. Get them to cultivate and harvest their own kale or cucumber and there is no way they will be able to resist having a little nibble. Getting kids to grow their own greens is literally the most cunning plan ever for coaxing the small treasures into trying and loving salads and veg that would previously not have stood a chance.

Check out the rest of our adventures in urban gardening to see what we’ve been up to during our mission to grow our own food!
Getting started with urban gardening
Growing greens from seed
Troubleshooting common gardening problems in Singapore – and our first harvest!