KITCHEN GARDENING IN KENYAPaul Rugendo
Urban farming is the act of cultivating, processing and distributing food in or around towns and cities, while kitchen gardening is the growing of edible plants as well as medicinal plants for domestic use. It reflects various of social and economic growth.
By being a social movement for sustainable communities, where growers for social networks. The networks later evolve after receiving formal institutional support through integration into local town planning as a movement for sustainable urban development.
Provision of direct access to fresh vegetables, fruits, and meat products through urban agriculture improves food security and food safety.
There are various types of kitchen gardens depending on one’s needs, space and resources:
A reusing project in which gardeners convert used tires into planters that can hold various vegetables, herbs, and fruits. Recycled tires make great planters as they are deep enough for plant anchorage and can withstand cold temperatures as well as heavy wind and rainfall. They are set up by filling a used tire with soil and subsequently planting seeds or seedlings of one’s choice. To create raised beds one stacks the tires, while for separate and contained planters one uses a single tire.
A keyhole garden is a round garden bed with a compost pile in the center. It has a notch at the front, that gardeners can easily add to or turn over the pile. Featuring a drainage layer, a soil layer, and a planting area, they bring together the necessities of plant growth. Keyhole gardening uses kitchen waste, garden waste, and wash water as food. Layering has been proven to enhance soil health. At the very bottom we start with wood, then compost manure, worms, wood ash, straw, and finally topsoil. The layers are repeated until the desired height is met.
Jerry can garden
Entails the conversion of used jerry cans into planters. There are various ways of making jerry can gardens though the most common is cutting the can into two halves. Both halves are then filled with soil and manure in a ratio of 1:1. Gardeners are also advised to perforate the jerry cans at the lower sides and at the bottom to prevent water clogging. This method is suitable for growing vegetables, herbs, and spices.
They are container gardens from upcycled drawers. First one constructs a wooden frame that will hold the drawers. Once the drawers’ general condition is checked, they are drilled at the bottom so that moisture has somewhere to drain out. The drawer is then filled with soil and manure up to three-thirds in a ratio of 1:1. Finally planting takes place. For plants like strawberries, the use of mulch is encouraged to help reduce water loss as well as keep the fruit clean.
Wick irrigation garden
Involves the use of ropes as wicks to supply water to plant roots below the soil surface to minimize evaporation. The water inside a pot or raised container can be transferred to the soil by a wick. A small wooden structure is first constructed to support the five-liter containers used. A third of the container is cut which will be used to supply water to the plant, while the other part is used for planting. The method is referred to as wick irrigation as it uses highly absorbent material to absorb water to the plant. Half of the wick remains in the water while the rest is in the soil. Plants are not watered directly but rather absorb water when they require it.
A garden that resembles a cone and involves arranging soil in a conical shape above the ground to create more space for crop growing. This is often by use of plastic containers or heavy polythene sheets to make the cones. The cone is wider at the base and narrows as one goes up. The garden has a lifeline of five to ten years, with replacing manure being all one is supposed to do during all the planting seasons. The cone can feed a family of six with vegetables all year round.
Food robe garden
Entails the use of old buckets, basins, drawers, and cement bags to plant depending on one’s kitchen requirement. They are suitable for planting vegetables, fruits, herbs, and spices.
Benefits of kitchen gardening;
- Consistent supply of fresh fruits and vegetables that are high in nutritive value and free from toxic chemicals.
- Promotes income saving as an individual or household reduces their purchase of fruits and vegetables.
- Successful recycling of kitchen waste and wastewater.
- Increased productivity of wasteland around the home.
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