What are the benefits of starting a food garden at household level or in the community?
- There are a lot of social and environmental benefits for families, schools and communities in growing their own food. Communal farming not only unites neighbourhoods and help combat food insecurity - it also encourages healthier eating.
- A range of vegetables can be grown at home or in school or communal gardens from the old favourites like spinach, tomatoes, carrots, beetroot, potatoes, mealies, green beans, peas, cabbage, cauliflower, garlic, onions to different lettuce varieties, peppers, chillies, artichokes, asparagus, brinjals, zucchini, patty pans, different colour tomatoes, different colour carrots and micro- greens to supply the growing demand for different organic vegetables by upmarket shops and restaurants.
- One does not need a big garden or lots of water to grow your own food. One can start small! For instance start with a keyhole garden, bag garden, a compost trench bed or even with a hydroponic food garden.
How can one start a food garden in an urban area where space is a limitation?
- If space for a garden such as a backyard, balcony or rooftop is a problem then one can start a container garden to grow vegetables such as spinach or chard, lettuce, cherry and bush tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, summer squash and also herbs. Large buckets, crates or planter boxes can be used as containers. Remember drainage holes are essential. Without proper drainage, soil can become waterlogged and plants may die. The holes need to be large enough to allow excess water to drain out.
- A container garden can be moved in and out of the sun. If your plants seem to dry out in one window area, you can try different areas to adjust to what is best.