Personal trainer Balan Gopal turned waste into a herb garden right in the corridor of his HDB flat.
While the initiative is a great one and proves that HDB flat owners can still have a moderate and sustainable garden producing edible and fresh greens, would it lead to cluttering and attract insects that most homeowners try so hard to keep away?
Mr Balan Gopal first came up with the idea while researching about coffee grounds, he learnt that coffee grounds could be used as a base to grow one of his favourite types of food, oyster mushrooms. His tinkering led to multiple failures before he hit success. Once success came Mr Gopal kept going and before he knew it had a sustainable garden growing in his corridor.
He faced setbacks that could have killed the project before it even took off, such as placing not yet decomposed fish guts in his grounds to act as a fertiliser for his plants. The stench from the fish guts was as pungent as that of a garbage truck according to his wife. His neighbours must surely have been able to smell the stench but were probably patient enough to not kick up a fuss. Although Mr Gopal does reward their patience with regular herbs and greens that he grows in excess.
Not all HDB corridors are as isolated as Mr Gopal’s. A lot of older HDB’s have common corridors with a lift foyer, and not all neighbours are as appreciative or patient as his. Although the idea of a herb garden is an attractive one it does implicate your neighbours. We’ve heard stories of neighbours with excessive plants in their walkways, a herb garden might be no different.