Having to import over 90% of its food, land-scarce Singapore is subject to the global food market's volatilities. In response, Singapore has doubled down on its ’30 by 30’ goal, an initiative to produce 30% of the country's nutritional needs locally by 2030. Given that the typical household in Singapore spends about S$1,199 per month on food (more specifically, S$350 to S$475 per month on groceries), one easy way to save on your grocery expenses is by regrowing edibles from scrap parts.
Does growing your own food save money?
|Estimated Monthly Needs
|Estimated Monthly Grocery Cost/S$
Unfortunately, spring onions can go limp in the fridge very quickly. A simple solution to this would be to grow them yourself. All you have to do is cut off the spring onions' root end – leaving around 3 cm – and place them in a bowl of water. Once the spring onion has reached roughly 10cm in height, transfer it into a pot. Water it daily and enjoy your harvest after 5 to 7 days.
Celery is one of the most low-maintenance vegetables that you can grow. Cut off the bottom root from your celery (about 5 to 7cm) and place it upright in a bowl of water. Replant in soil once you notice the appearance of new shoots. This should take roughly 3 to 5 days. Harvest once the celery stalks have reached at least 15cm in height (approximately 3 months).
If you’re a fan of Thai cuisine, then growing this versatile herb is a must-try. Cut about 2 to 3cm off the lemongrass's tops and place them in a jar of water for roughly 2 weeks. Change the water daily. Once the roots start to firm up, transplant the stalks into a pot. Harvest when the stalk grows to 30cm.
A handful of fresh basil can transform a simple pizza or pasta dish into something bright, flavorful, and delicious. Place a stalk of basil – about 8 to 10cm – in a glass of water. Remove roughly 75% of its leaves. Once the roots are approximately 5cm, transplant the herb to a pot. You can harvest fresh basil after 3 to 4 weeks.
Chilli is probably the easiest vegetable to grow on this list, which says a lot. All you need to do is collect the chilli seeds and plant them in potting soil under ample sunlight. Make sure to keep the soil constantly moist – but not soaking wet. Depending on the variety of chilli you're planting, some are ready to harvest 60 days from sowing, while others can take as long as 120 days.
While there are a few leafy vegetables you could grow in Singapore's hot and humid climate, you'd typically need to purchase their seeds. Thankfully, this doesn't apply to lettuce – where you can regrow it from its scraps. Place the base of your lettuce in a shallow bowl of water. You should notice roots appearing after 3 to 4 days and have your first harvest in 10 to 12 days.
Admittedly, you're going to need a landed property for this. If you have space, however, you'll find that nurturing an avocado tree in your garden is a pretty low-effort endeavour. First, remove the avocado's pit. Wash it clean but do not remove the brown skin. Place the avocado seed half-submerged in a glass of water; you can do this by sticking toothpicks into the seed, which will serve as support. Once the tree is about 15cm, transplant it into a pot. A disclaimer: it's going to take some time before you can harvest avocados. Some plants begin fruiting when they are 3 to 4 years old, while others could take as long as 15+ years!
There Are Many Benefits To Having Your Own Urban Garden
In addition to saving money on your monthly grocery bill, having your own edible garden also comes with other benefits. For example, you’ll be able to make vegetarian meals with fresh produce from your garden. Maintaining a garden can also serve as a teaching opportunity for your children. To maximise savings on your grocery bill even further, remember to sign up for the best cashback credit card in Singapore!