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Farming with little land

Helpful principles for farming with little land

1999 Available in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese

Footsteps magazine issues on a wooden desk.

From: Looking after our land – Footsteps 41

Ideas for making the best use of small areas of land

Maybe you have no land or just a small garden. Try planting vegetables which grow on vines or up poles and need little space on the ground. You could grow them up the side of your house or along fences, in unused corners. You can plant one or two vines in every small, sunny space. Some examples of such plants are cucumbers, gourds, tomatoes, malabar spinach, passion fruit, choyote (or christophine) and all kinds of beans (eg: Lima bean, runner bean, winged bean, lablab bean). You could also plant vines in large containers such as big clay pots, tins or barrels filled with compost.

Most vegetable vines grow best when planted in the rain season. Dig pits at least 30cm square and 30cm deep. Mix the dug out soil with plenty of manure and compost and then replace it and press down firmly.

Plant three or four seeds in the centre and water well. Once established, just leave one or two seeds growing unless you grow two or three different vegetables in the same hole. Use waste water from cooking or washing to water the vines. If the vines are close enough to the house, you can dig little channels or use bamboo pipes or hollow logs to carry water straight to the plants. Mulch and cover the soil around the vines with straw, paper, pebbles or plastic sheets.

Vines have weak stems and cannot stand on their own. They need support from posts, wire, trees or string. Take the time to support the vines and make sure no fruit or vegetables touch the ground.


Information from the Developing Countries Farm Radio Network, 366 Adelaide Street, West Suite 706, Toronto, Ontario M5V 1R9, Canada. Fax: (416) 971 5299 E-mail: [email protected].

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