With various initiations of going green and eco-friendly, many Singaporeans have stepped up their game with planting their own fruits and vegetables in their gardens. It’s very convenient for those who own landed properties as their gardens will be right in front of their houses. In contrast, residents who do not stay in landed properties will have to purchase plots of gardening land in areas such as Punggol.

Due to Singapore’s tropical weather and climate, there’s a limited number of fruits that can be grown here. Here are some tips and advice to grow your own fruits on your landed property:

1. Plan and mark off the space for the tree to grow

Ensure that you have space big enough to accommodate your fruits. Plan wisely and allocate more than sufficient space in your garden for your fruits. This is to prevent plot misallocation; an ineffective use of space that limits what you can grow. One of the chief problems is when the tree starts competing with other plats for room; they’ll grow smaller and more slowly.

This is especially true for mango trees, which need to be at least 7.5 meters away from roads or other trees (their root systems extend about this far underground).

A huge space in the backyard of a landed property.
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Don’t just plant anywhere, measure the distances from the road and other trees.

2. Set up a monitoring system

Singapore’s tropical climate is full of bugs and other creepy crawlies, unfortunately. You’ll have to be prepared to defend your young tree. Don’t be fooled, as something as simple as an ant’s nest nearby can be sufficient to damage the growing tree’s leaf systems.

You should be prepared to allocate some time every day – about 30 minutes or so – checking on the growing tree. You’ll want to take note of whether its growing, and whether it’s being targeted by any sort of vermin, fungi, and so forth.

3. Brace for the initial expense; proper tools are worth it

The starting part is the most expensive, as you’ll need to invest in proper tools.

You will need different equipment such as barrows and trolleys, digging tools, harvesting tools and maintenance tools. It’s best to consult someone at a gardening supplies store, as these come in a myriad of different sizes and shapes. In general however, expect to spend between $750 to $1,000 for some of the initial tools (but they’ll last you for years, or a lifetime if they’re good).

If you don’t want to buy a wheelbarrow, you can check if the gardening supplies store can help you unload those sacks of soil (you’re going to pay for transport anyway, right? May as well, as it’s a nightmare to load it into your car).

As time passes, you will have to change and replenish the soil. Stick with the same gardening centre, for customer loyalty discounts. Overtime, weeds and unwanted roots will also grow, so you’ll need quality maintenance tools such as shears and rakes (i.e. not the cheapo $20 types that will break after one use!)

When it is finally time to harvest your fruits, you will need harvesting tools such as sickles and gardening knives. Avoid using improvised methods, like going at the fruits with gardening shears – not only will you bruise and damage them, you could hurt the tree or yourself. Again, this mean investing in some quality tools.

Five different types of gardening tools such as a shovel.
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Invest in an array of gardening tools for different purposes ranging from ploughing to harvesting.

4. Fencing off the tree

To prevent random animals such as stray dogs or even your own pets from eating your fruits, fence up your fruit garden. Wooden fences are more expensive, but they are generally preferred to wire fences; they are harder for small animals to squeeze through. It also removes the possibility of injuring someone’s cat or dog, when the animals stubbornly try and then get trapped.

You’ll need to talk to a carpenter for wooden fencing though, and they charge based on length. We were quoted amounts ranging from $5 to $8 per foot (30 cm), but were told it can vary greatly based.

5. Buying fertiliser is a must

Fertilisers provides nutrients to the fruit trees. Different fruits have different fertiliser requirements, so be sure to do your research beforehand. For example, passion fruit requires a large amount of nitrogen fertilisers. Ask the gardening centre when you’re in doubt. The cost of a one-kilogram typical bag of fertiliser range from approximately $10 to $25, depending on the brand.

Note that more fertiliser does not equate to better quality of fruits. If there is too much fertiliser, more shoots and leaves will grow instead of fruits. It may also cause your trees to become weak from rapid growth, resulting in broken branches in the future. However, if there is too little fertiliser, there will be slow growth of your fruits, causing you to have fewer harvest. Furthermore, your trees will be lacking of nutrients and be more prone to diseases and pests.

As such, you need to be ready to do a lot of homework here.

Fertiliser being distributed to a plant.
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Know the type of fertilisers your plants and fruits need.

6. Devote Your Time

Fruit gardening or rather, all gardening, require a huge amount of devotion and time. You will have to consistently water your plants and fruits and to weed out unnecessary shoots and leaves. If you are a frequent traveller, install automated irrigation systems and solar panels so that your plants and fruits are still well taken care of. A simple automatic watering kit and solar panels cost about $50 to $60 and $40 to $350 respectively on Ezbuy and Lazada, excluding delivery and shipping fees. Also, do frequent checks on your plants and fruits to ensure that they are healthy. You would not want your efforts to go to waste because of a pest attack.

Having all these information at your fingertips, please keep in mind to plan well and do your own research before making any decisions. Also, be prepared to be overwhelmed by the impending responsibilities because fruit gardening takes a lot of time and effort.

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