Project Spectra 3 – Building Biomass and Stablizing the Ecosystem

It has been over 3 months since we last updated about Project Spectra. Back then, we chopped and dropped the green manure to prepare for a round of planting. After leaving the green manure to break down in the soil for a week, we started planting works. Here is our progress so far.


While the garden today is very much different from what it was before, we are still dealing with many problems that come with starting a garden from scratch. There was zero life on this rooftop just a few months ago and you are creating a universe! The ecosystem is still unstable and the rooftop conditions are too hot and windy. We have started the process of restoring soil fertility through adding compost and green manure. However, there is still lots to be done by nature herself, and nature does not rush. Continue reading

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Project Spectra 2 – Green Manure + Chop-and-Drop

Earlier, we posted about kickstarting the rooftop farm at Spectra Secondary School by growing green manure. You can read about that here. We are happy to report that the legumes have been growing very happily and rapidly. We have been intentionally lazy and have not watered or done anything. There is a time for us humans to work hard and there is also a time to sit back and watch nature do her magic. As expected, the monsoon rain really sped up the growth of our green manure.

Week 3

The legumes have sprouted and grown through the thin layer of mulch. You can literally see it growing by the day!


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Project Spectra – Farming on a Rooftop

We were tasked to build a farm on the rooftop of Spectra Secondary School recently. It is a new secondary school in northern Singapore that focuses on vocational and practical skills so that students will be well-equipped to work upon graduation. The school’s philosophy behind this rooftop farm initiative is “No One Owes Us a Living – We Work Hard to Put Food on the Table”. As such, we will also be teaching the students how to farm organically. I have no doubt that it is out of this world for these city teenagers.

The barren rooftop when we first stepped onto it.

The barren rooftop when we first stepped onto it.

The good and also bad thing is that the infrastructure is already built. There are 11 big concrete planters filled with soil which means we can start growing soon. Unfortunately the soil has been left bare for a few months. In the tropics, this mistake was magnified by the baking sun and torrential rain. I learned from the school that the landscape contractor has scraped off the top layer of the soil because it was muddy. My guess is that the “mud” is actually the fertile top soil that got damaged by the elements. We are now left with the clay subsoil… Continue reading