Wednesday March 5 2014

CONSTANCE OBONYO: Benefits of having a kitchen garden

You can have a variety of vegetables in your kitchen garden including spinach.

You can have a variety of vegetables in your kitchen garden including spinach. Photo by Constance Obonyo 

“Every household should have a kitchen garden, not only for its food value, but because of the mutual relationship the garden would have with the kitchen.” Yokoyakim Omwodo Akanga of Bira village, Lwala parish, Mulanda sub-county in Tororo District says.

She explains that a household needs a kitchen garden because it provides food. “They get vegetables and the garden also benefits from the kitchen. This is possible when the family digs a pit near the garden. Whenever they sweep the house, they throw that rubbish into that pit.”

She says the rubbish should include ash and water from the kitchen. “The water makes the rubbish wet so that it can easily decompose. The ash also helps the rubbish decompose fast. Even vegetable bits that the family has not consumed should go into that pit.”

She adds, “You don’t need to cover it. After three months of this constant heaping of rubbish and wetting, the rubbish will then be ready to be used as manure. You don’t need to turn the rubbish.

The ash in it will do the decomposition for you.” Other things that can go into the pit are left over food and banana peels. This means kitchen waste that cannot decompose, like plastic water bottles, should go into the normal rubbish bin.

“After the kitchen has fed the garden and the pit is full, scoop the manure and spread it on the soil in the garden before growing your vegetables.

Best vegetables for a kitchen garden

A kitchen garden is best suited for vegetables like tomatoes, onions, pumpkins, egg plants, cabbages and greens. These supplement the family’s food requirements. That is how the kitchen also benefits from the garden,” Akanga adds.

However, while you will be getting food, you will also be cutting out some of the bills like the extra bill for rubbish collection and the cost of fertilisers.

It will also be a place for bonding with the rest of the family while you work, as Omwodo Akanga testifies: “My family’s health has improved over the years because of it. I cannot express the joy of eating a plate of fresh salad from my own garden in words. The time we spend tending it as a family has also been worth it.”