Your garden could be your income

Wednesday June 23 2021
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Marion Nakayenga, a lawyer and florist among her plants. PHOTO/Rachel Mabala

By Joan Salmon

Regardless of the size of your garden, you are putting a lot of effort to ensure it continues to thrive. Even when you say it is only a hobby, because you have passion for it and put in time to keep it there, there is no harm in turning passion into money minting venture. Your efforts will be worth something. Some wonder how this can happen and so we share various money making tactics you can engage in.

Making compost

For any garden to thrive and remain healthy, pruning is a must so you can get rid of excess leaves and branches, as it sometimes damages the soil by killing the microorganisms therein.

Ivan Nkata, a landscaper advises that one prepares compost manure out of it. “Dig a hole and bury these leaves and branches and allow them to rot. Depending on what you are decomposing, the period is between 15 to 30 days. Apart from fertilising your garden, you can sell this to other farmers so they can fertilise their garden too using organic matter.” With people preferring organic foods, farmers will readily welcome this manure. He says you can sell this at Shs5,000 per half kilo.

Engage in vermiculture

You can also engage in vermiculture; the introducing of earth worms into your garden and house rubbish to aid decomposition thus creating vermicompost.

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Emma Naluyima, a renowned farmer says these worms must be put in a trash can.

“While the process is similar with what happens with other compost making processes, the difference here is that worms aid the process, making it faster. As they move through the matter, they create tunnels thus aeration. They also enrich the compost with their excreta, thus giving you an excellent soil amender.”

Apart from giving you rich compost, Naluyima says the process gives one an easier way to deal with rubbish accumulated from a home.

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You can earn from raising seedlings for sale. PHOTO/Rachel Mabala

She adds that there is also the ability to breed worms that can be used to feed fish should you decide to introduce fish farming to your gardening. These can also be used to feed chicken.

Create a bird sanctuary

Another venture could be making nests for birds so that you can make it a bird home for types such as pigeons. “These are very appreciative of free shelter and will be willing to occupy these nests. An affordable way to make these is using plastic cans placed at the ceiling opening. One can also add guinea fowls, incorporate a water source, say a pond for geese to create a tourist place,” Nkata shares. You can also add aquatic life in the pond but also add an aquarium with colourful fish for extra effect.

Animal rides

In cases where one has a large place, Nkata says there is a possibility of introducing donkeys and horses to attract families, more so children to enjoy rides. “When these animals are accentuated with beautiful gardens, they will draw lots of people in because there is beauty to observe. It will be great to add a seating area to allow for places to seat and rest.”

Create a backdrop

You may not have the skill or the equipment to create amazing pictures, but you can create a serene environment that can draw professional photographers. Eric Kizito, a photographer, says professionals are always looking for fresh places to do outdoor photography. “Therefore, you can open it up to people that desire to do photography as well as those who wish to use them for event photography such as wedding shots.”

He adds that there is also a possibility for those that desire to shoot music videos could come knocking. “That calls for a good mixing of plants and flowers and ensuring that there is enough colour and various plant heights. Publicity is also needed to ensure that the word goes out there so those in need can come and check it out.”

Grow medicinal plants

Venturing in plants such as aloe-vera, cactus, and neem trees owing to their medicinal properties is a worthy idea. “Selling them to those in need is rewarding because many people are looking for natural ways to combat disease. These plants are easy to work with because most can grow in various conditions and do not require a lot of attention to flourish,” says Nakalema. One can also add value to these plants in form of liquefying aloe-vera, drying the neem leaves to be used for longer and so on.

“For every plant you are growing in this bracket, it is important that you do your research to understand  their curative properties coupled with their side effects because your knowledge is as crucial as your access to them. People will be more willing to buy from you if you are well informed and confident about what you are selling to them.”

She shares that selling value added products is more rewarding. For example selling liquid aloe-vera is easier than a leaf. “While you may sell a leaf at Shs500, a litre of the same could go at Shs10,000. Additionally, the liquid is longer lasting.”

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Sell seedlings

Many people do not have the knowledge required to multiply plants or create varieties. That is why they look for ways to skip this life-giving stage. Therefore, Jonathan Kasoma of Eco Designs Co Ltd, says if you can do that in the comfort of your garden, you will earn from it. “One way is through grafting and propagation of seedlings from the plants to create plant varieties and sell to those in need. Save the knowledge, the tools you will need to make this happen, are garden scissors, thread and cotton wool.”

People can also raise seedlings from their garden or seeds. Some of the requirements here are the ideal soil to support growth, seed trays if you are using seeds as well as a humid and warm temperature. “You will also need a watering can to ensure that you keep the soils wet. Depending on the type of plant, seedlings start from Shs1,000 to Shs20,000 depending on the type.”

Bee keeping

Within the landscape, one can set up an apiary in one corner of the garden because the bees can benefit from the flowering plants. In this case, rather than just have coloured leaf plants, Kasoma says people need to add several flowering plants to allow for these bees to get nectar. “Adding trees for shade will keep the hives cool and the bees less aggressive. A litre of honey can go for as much as Shs10,000 depending on the quality of your honey.”

Demonstration gardens

Sharing knowledge is an amazing aspect of life as it also leads to more learning. That is why Kasoma urges seasoned farmers to make demonstration gardens on their land to showcase various gardening strategies such as how to work on a small piece of land. “For example, rather than just grow matooke, you can teach them the importance of  incorporating piggery, poultry, vegetables, herbs and spices and use the manure from the animals and birds to fertilise the plants. This will also teach people that it is possible to practice organic farming.” He says one could charge Shs30,000 per person per visit and also ensure there are stipulated farm visiting days to avoid getting overwhelmed.

Conduct gardening classes for children

Today, many people are abandoning farming for high tech jobs, however, farming and plants on a whole are crucial for the ecosystem. “You can turn your garden into a study centre for children on how to grow things such as herbs, fruits, and vegetables from scratch, and how to take care of them. Tapping into these young minds will help to nurture people sold out to save our environment. Therefore come up with a fee, per lesson, per child as well as the schedule for holding the classes,” Rachel Nakirya, a gardener urges.

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Invest in bamboo

Apart from using them for boundary demarcations, Kasoma says bamboos can also create raw materials for art and crafts as well as construction. “We have seen people make bicycle parts, photo frames, and cups out of bamboo. Others use the bamboo stems to make fences, and poles for roofing. Therefore, planting bamboo is a worthy venture. The trick is to ensure that you do not allow the tree to overgrow by slashing the undergrowth. That way, you will avoid snakes and pests that tend to make them a habitat.” Depending on the size of seedling, in case one wants a seedling, the cost ranges from Shs2,000 for stems, a bamboo at average human height goes for Shs10,000.

Use even the waste

Pruning is a must so you can get rid of excess leaves and branches. You can use these to prepare manure for your garden and for sale to other farmers who are interested in gardening organically.

Herbs and spices

Planting herbs and spices can also help one to sell their produce since many people are in need of these to add taste to their meals, among many things. “There are several ways to earn from these plants so you cannot fail when you venture into these. For example, you can dry them and sell to those that desire to make potpourri, and those that need them for prolonged use. Drying them also helps to avoid wastage as some start rotting thus the need to dispose of them,” says Robinah Nakalema, a gardener.

She adds that one can mix different herbs or spices. “Ensure that you mix complementing spices and herbs to get an amazing product such as packed coriander, cumin and ginger to season your meats.” The price depends on the type and number of spices.


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