Many homes, particularly in urban areas, have little room for growing crops or vegetables. However, outside nearly every house is an area of bare ground. The soil may be hard or infertile and people often do not consider using it for growing vegetables. But here is one way of using this unused space for a tiny garden.
The system works best if a number of families agree to work together, building one garden each week. The idea may also be useful in refugee camps.
- When the pit is half full, pour on
water to soak the waste. Then add the
subsoil, followed by the topsoil.
- Plant rows of vegetable seeds and
herbs. Useful plants which will add
flavour and vitamins to the household
diet include tomatoes, spinach,
traditional leafy vegetables, peppers,
beans, carrots, onions and all kinds of
herbs. Try to plant taller plants such as
tomatoes and climbing beans in the
middle. Cover with a mulch – a thin
layer of grass, straw, rice husks or similar
– and water well. Household wastewater
is ideal if not too soapy.
- If possible, find an old broken basket
and sink this into the centre of the plot.
Over several weeks, fill this with
vegetable waste and weeds. Water
mainly through this basket once the
young plants are established. This will
wash more plant nutrients into the soil.
- Now decide whose home will have
the next door-sized garden. If there is
space you may be able to build several of
ACAT in South Africa have used this
idea in KwaZulu-Natal with great
success. Many people have been amazed
at how easy it is to produce their own
vegetables. One lady said she thought
she could only grow traditional crops
like maize. But now she can grow
cabbages, spinach and onions. Her
husband is very impressed!
ACAT (Africa Cooperative Action Trust) is a
long standing Tearfund partner working in
KwaZulu-Natal. PO Box 943, Howick 3290,