Farming: Plant vegetables
What you need to know:
- Seed procurement should be done in farmers’ shops. In some cases it may be necessary to plant seedlings nursery bed.
Vegetable growing seems the best and easiest way to set off as an urban farmer. A small piece of land at the back of a residential house may be enough to produce some amount of vegetables to sell to fellow residents in an urban setting.
Most vegetables are ready for harvesting in less than three months which means they are worth the effort for anyone keen about some regular income. Since many towns have permanent piped water systems the urban vegetable grower is assured of water for irrigation in case the rains fail.
The demand for vegetables is quite high especially in urban settings where they are not as commonly available as in rural areas. In the countryside most people live on their farms and have easier access to the crops they want to eat including vegetables. Urban vegetable farmers don’t have to worry about transport difficulties of their perishable product to the big market in towns.
Vegetables are important as part of our diet because they are a good source of vitamins and minerals and they are recommended for good health. They are steamed or cooked or simply served raw as some form of accompaniment to the main dish.
They are served as part of the menu in many restaurants. They are often served in small quantities like some accompaniment to the main food on the plate. They are good fodder for livestock when they are no longer fit for human consumption after some weeks of harvesting.
Ground preparation for vegetable production should involve mixing the soil with organic manure, like farmyard manure or compost. Seeds of some local vegetables may be directly sowed into the prepared garden.
Seed procurement should be done in well recognised farmers’ shops. In some cases it may be necessary to plant seedlings prepared in a nursery bed. The area agricultural services extension officer should be consulted for regular advice. The seedlings should be well spaced in the garden according to breeders’ directives.
A vegetable farmer should create a link with a restaurant or two in town where he or she expects to sell the vegetables. Some farmers link up with vegetable stall owners in markets.
Others talk to school owners because nowadays many schools include vegetables in school diets. Cooked food vendors often seen walking the streets buy vegetables for inclusion in the food they sell.
Mr Michael Ssali is a veteran journalist.