Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Potential Space

In Singapore, space is something of which there is plenty...if you go upward.  On an island that hosts 5, 312, 400 people in an area of 274 square miles, I am living in the third most densely populated country on earth.  That doesn't bode well for those of us wishing to take over plots of land for growing food instead of housing people.  But in countries that are heavy with humans yet meager with ground, the ability to adapt can be surprising. 

Prior to the Asian Bird Flu epidemic, many families kept chickens in their apartment bathrooms, relying on the eggs they provided.  In 2005, to prevent the spread of the bird flu, chickens in Singapore were culled. (I'm looking in to whether or not you can currently keep chickens here - on my list of potential endeavors).  On nearly every balcony around here you see things growing in pots.  Singapore does not have gardens in it's city.  It is a city in a garden.  The entire island, if left alone, would retake it's land, enveloping the concrete in vines and greenery of all sorts.  Things just grow here, no matter what.  But I do not see many people growing edibles.  And it seems strange to me that in such a rich environment, people would not take advantage of the rain and the sun to grow their own foods (as little or as much as they can).

So, I have a little bit of space.  Mostly what I'm looking at for growing potential right now are the walls that surround our lot.  I think vertical gardening might be our best bet in this place, and right now this is my blank canvas.

Our back wall, butting up to the American School.

Our side yard.
You see those indented areas on the back wall that get so much daylight sun?  I think building boxes to fit in those indents and having various plants growing out of the wall would be wonderful.  The problem is resources.  There are no Lowe's or Home Depots here.  You do not go out and build something yourself.  So, this will take a lot more thought and planning.

The side yard, with the open railing is the one I want to take most advantage of.  Being able to see directly into my neighbor's yard and windows, and knowing they can do the same, is something this privacy-loving American has a hard time with!  So, I'm thinking to either have pots along the base with vining plants growing up and into the railing, or boxes that hang from the top of the railing and trail down to the ground. 

Well, it is a lot to consider.

I am very eager to get started, though.  The girls and I walked to the store last night to get some rosemary for our soup.  I came back with two rosemary plants and a gardenia.  They smell so good!  I can just see in my mind a wonderfully lush herb garden out my back door.  So, it's time to get cracking!

For now, I have figured out the laundry situation.

I made homemade laundry detergent last week, which is seriously amazing stuff.  It cleans well, smells good, costs pennies, and is simple to make!  Along with the washing comes the drying.  I bought this hanging rack, and for now it works.  I really, really miss my retractable lines!  This single rack is not nearly enough to handle my family's wash load.  I think 15 more racks are needed.