When the going gets tough, the tough have to equally get on the move. Everywhere we look, people living in urban centres are trying to do much with limited space.
Due to the continuous high rate of rural-urban migrations today, people are building houses on small plots of land in order to have their own homes.
In so doing, they also would like to grow flowers in their compounds as a means of beautifying them.
However, with the high cost of living and limited space, when homeowners begin to think about how expensive growing and maintaining a flower garden is, say in terms of watering, applying manure and spraying to keep away pests, many are beginning to reconsider their decisions and are thinking of alternatives.
For instance, some say, “Why spend so much time and money on something that is not edible?” Suddenly, homeowners in urban centres are throwing flowers out and planting vegetables in their small plots of land as a way of maximising it for shelter and gardening as opposed to working on it to merely look beautiful.
The students of St Kizito High School in Namugongo used to plant flowers in their school compound, but with time, they felt that they were not gaining much from them.
Mary Nsangi Kakembo, one of the directors of the school, says they decided to plant vegetables instead of flowers.
Most of the vegetables they planted were flowering plants that made the compound look nice and at the same time serving as vegetables.
‘’When green pepper, eggplants and tomatoes start flowering, they look like flowers in the garden and yet they are addible too. The cabbages and spring onions also look great when they start growing. This is the reason why we started smart farming, where the students get the expertise in farming and also do it as a business to get some pocket money during holidays,’’Kakembo says.
How the off-ground vegetable garden is made
To set up an off-ground garden, one needs cement, timber empty mineral water bottles water and soil. This off-ground garden can fit in an area of only two metres which is suitable for those who don’t have big space in their homes. The empty water bottles can be picked from anywhere – for example from parties, at the roadside and from rubbish pits. This is one way of keeping away plastic bottles from affecting the environment.
- Fill the empty water bottles with soil
- Arrange the bottles as you fix cement mixed with water between the spaces to make a raised wall to the height and width you desire, leaving space in the middle.
- Leave the cement to dry for one week and place a black hard kaveera to protect the soil from passing through the wire mesh that has been put on top of the raised wall to cover the space that was left in the middle.
- Fix timber around the raised garden and thereafter put soil which has manure in it. Transplant plants of your choice that include, green pepper, spring onions, cabbages, tomatoes and more to the garden.
- Water the plants morning and evening in order to achieve good yields.
- If any pests attack your vegetables, spray them.
The below area below the off-ground garden can be used to grow mushrooms because they are the only type of plants that need little sunshine.