BY: Dan Phale*
This is my third time for me to publish a post related to kitchen gardens since I created this blog on WordPress a couple of years ago. I am, actually, publishing this article with all reasons to proudly say that I am a regular kitchen gardener, filled up to the brim of my mind with a keen interest in sharing with everybody what positive things a kitchen garden can bring in our lives.
It appears that there is an imbalance of of life as characterised by insufficient human needs. Actually, most of us have much less earning capacity than the ever rising cost of living. And this makes it a requirement for all of us to have viable and diverse means of sustaining our livelihood at household level, both in the short term and long term. In fact, one of the short term means, in accordance with my mother’s advice, happens to be the creation of a kitchen garden.
Managing The Kitchen Garden is not all that challenging. Let us bear in mind that the soil needs to be regularly boosted, and we can do this by adding composite manure both before and after planting vegetables; or we can plant nitrate fixing plants. If we rare chicken or guinea fowls or ducks on free range basis, we should ponder erecting a woven bamboo fence, or a wire mesh fence, or a twine mesh fence around the garden with an aim of keeping them away from the vegetables.
After planting, it is also very important to ensure there is adequate moisture in the garden. This is achieved through a number of ways, for example, adequate and regular irrigation and mulching. And in terms of irrigation, we have to create basin-like planting stations which allow water to go deeper into the soil so that our vegetables do not wither.
It is further vital for us to randomly plant shrubs around the garden with an aim of providing some shade for the vegetables. The shade provided by the shrubs helps in shielding the vegetables from the scorching sunlight, and the soil doesn’t get dry just anyhow.
Benefits Of A Kitchen Garden are quite numerous. For instance, we are able to get healthy and fresh vegetables which are highly enriched in all the nutritive values within our compound; wasteland around our compound is made useful as well as productive; waste materials like the sweepings and/or the droppings are accessed easily and/or cheaply as in comparison with manufactured fertilizer; there is a reasonable saving of the cost of buying vegetables.
Well, the savings cannot be seen in just overnight. But after a period of time, let us quantify vegetables so far consumed, we surely realise that there is a huge saving in this initiative. At the meantime, for instance, there are mustard leafy vegetables in my kitchen garden which, in view of my estimation, will help me save the sum of K8, 000.00 which is equivalent to the sum of US10 dollars in a period of three months… This means, for the whole year, a substantial amount of money can be saved.
Let us take notice of the fact that we can also plant medicinal herbal crops in our kitchen gardens. Actually, this initiative shall ease the task of moving up and down in the quest for the herbs in times of need because they will be readily available for use… And to some extent, such plants – skillfully intercropped with vegetables – do add some colour to the beautiful scenery of the surrounding of our compound.