Jul 03, 2022 News
==The Creators’ Coven==
By Zena Henry
Kaieteur News – The advice here is not professional, but it works. Even before the pandemic, I enjoyed gardening and still do. But it is much easier to put your hobby in motion when you’re not swamped with tasks that provide very little time to do the things you love.
But in this case, we are looking at gardening, the maintenance of your very own kitchen garden, not just as a hobby or an activity to enjoy and pass the time, but as a means of lessening the load on pockets and helping to stretch a dollar further given the global catastrophe caused by the COVID -19 pandemic and now, the Russian war on Ukraine where the two power house producers of items such as grains, can no longer deliver its goods to the world on the scale that they used to.
Small countries like Guyana are told to brace for high prices, which we have been experiencing for almost two years now. The United Nations for instance, is warning if the current situation persists, millions of people around the world will go hungry and many will starve to death with extremely poor countries in Africa, the Middle East and even in the west, being most at risk.
Alarms have already gone off with reports highlighting the difficulty some countries are facing in getting food to its people. Even here in the Caribbean, leaders said they could not buy food from overseas just a short time back even when they had money in hand to pay for it.
The Coven has nonetheless highlighted the need for sanity and resilience at this time; understanding the situation and finding ways to address it. Regardless of the situation, one’s response to same is where all the power of the individual lies. So, any situation could be addressed with the right tools. What then are the right tools given the current situation that we are faced with?
One does not have to be poor to start their own kitchen garden. In our contemporary lifestyles, we love knowing that we can go to the supermarket, pick up a basket and get everything already cleaned, packaged, even chopped and diced and “pot ready” out of the package. For some of us, the extra couple dollars don’t matter because it lessens the preparation time.
The question today is how many of us can still speak like that? I sure can’t. The pandemic has hit so hard that my dollars must be spent with much prudence right now. And this is me who has basically just me to look after. I can only imagine what the parents, especially single ones with four and five children must face when it’s time to provide for their young ones.
I must reiterate that if gardening could be done as a hobby for some, it could be done by persons whose jobs it is to put food on the table since that garden could be the difference between the number of nights the family goes hungry, and the number of nights food is just a pick away. At the time when my kitchen garden took up a large amount of my time, I lived out of town.
I was employing some gardening techniques in my routine that I didn’t even know had official descriptions and were actual techniques applied in the growing process. It just seemed right, and I applied them.
In this week’s column, as promised, we will look at some of the planting techniques to help grow your own food and cut the household food bill. Last week, we looked at composting; a cool easy way of creating rich organic fertiliser for your kitchen garden from the organic scraps and other waste coming out of the home and environment.
Kitchen gardens in small spaces can work. When I kept my kitchen garden, my aim was to produce as much as I could, especially since I enjoyed sharing my surplus with others and we sometimes traded. My bed rows were not small, because I wanted them to hold more plants since I found that the rain would wash off the top soil from my smaller beds way too much.
At the time, I hadn’t seen it as a waste of space but looking at the technique closer, the single-row method does kind of waste space. I later learnt that this method is part of what is called intensive gardening where farmers will plant rows with two or three plants side-by-side to create one wide double or triple row. Wide rows allow plants to grow densely and crowd out weeds, it also allow for more vegetables to be grown in less space, and it allow plants to mingle, creating shade on the soil to keep it cooler and reduce evaporation.
Using this garden layout to maximise space, would then allow for the gardening method called interplanting or intercropping. Again, this helps with efficiently using space. The idea is to plant fast-growing vegetables among slower-growing ones so that the faster growing crop is harvested before it begins to crowd the slow ones. Low-growing crops that need shade can be planted among taller growing ones. For example, lettuce and parsley could be grown under tall crops like tomatoes and peppers. The shorter plants will not get excess sunlight but just that which the taller ones let filter through.
Vertical Gardening is among some of the exciting farming techniques that I have come across. It is so creative, space efficient and offers such ease on the back from having to bend over to tend to the crops on the ground. When the space on the ground is used up, then it is time to go up. Before we go into other crops, let’s deal with vining plants such as cucumbers, beans, peas, squash and passion fruit immediately. They grow easily on trellises or fences, which can be made of anything, even a couple of sticks set in the ground is good enough for the vines to make their home.
In terms of other produce, vertical farming is a bit more complex and could call for a lot more money depending on the set up. For example, some vertical gardens are indoor controlled set ups with a mechanised system providing the plant with water and nutrients based on the apparatus’ design. But this is not our focus, we are looking to save cash, so gardening in containers is the technique most likely to complement your vertical garden.
Of course, we have seen plants growing in an old bucket or an old cut out plastic bottle has the tomatoes or pepper tree. Now imagine those same containers secured to a wall or placed on improvised outdoor shelves made for that specific purpose. There are different types of vertical setups that are cheap. More research could be done on this to help determine which is right for your garden.
Containers are however a big solution for gardeners with limited space as large containers could be used to grow various crops; short or tall, leafy or not. Another piece of advice the Coven will offer is to grow the crops with large yields. That is important so extra money could be earned from selling your surplus, if you choose. If you are considering adding some income from your labour, by all means get the larger yielding crops.
We in Guyana are fortunate to have our fair share of sun and rain and it is basically ideal for planting the crops we need. So here are some crops to consider for your new kitchen garden; tomatoes, peppers, shallot (scallion), eggplant, bora, cucumbers, squash, lettuce, kale, pumpkin (maybe depending on space as pumpkin vines can really spread), corn, spinach, pak choy, thyme, broad leaf thyme, celery, cabbage, okra, corilla (bitter melon) and any other crop that can fit in your kitchen garden.
Aug 13, 2022Captain of Hawaiian Sensation, Damodar Daesrath, has stated that his team is ready to make a big impression at the forthcoming Canada Cup One three-day softball extravaganza set for September 2, 3...
Aug 13, 2022
Aug 13, 2022
Aug 13, 2022
Aug 13, 2022
Aug 13, 2022
Kaieteur News – If anyone should possess the institutional memory of the post 1970 history of the PPP, it is Clement... more
By Sir Ronald Sanders Kaieteur News – In the first part of this commentary, the conclusion was reached that the great... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]