When it comes to gardening, the simple fact is that it is only expensive if you choose to make it so. And according to Abalimi Bezekhaya co-founder Rob Small, there are many ways to create, grow and harvest your own food without spending a lot of moola. All it takes is a little planning and patience.
“Starting a garden is not difficult and does not cost much, but it is tremendously satisfying when harvest season arrives,” says Small.
Founded alongside Mam’Thenjiwe Kaba, Abalimi Bezekhaya is an organisation that promotes small-scale urban farming in low income communities in Cape Town.
A newbie gardener’s first step toward bettering their lives, families and communities starts the moment they plant their first seed. However, before you begin, you must first plan your garden, says Small.
Plans and prepare your garden
Vegetables thrive in sunny locations, but they require enough water, so you should plant your garden near a water source, Small advises. It is also crucial that they’re close to your home so they can be conveniently cared for and maintained.
You are also going to need some protection he says.
To keep animals out of your garden, use netting or nets to create a barrier he suggests. Plant shrubs or tall grass to build a wind-resistant fence that will also protect the plants. The plants are dried out by the wind, and the ground dries out quickly.
No need for expensive equipment
Planting beds should have a width of one meter and a length of as long as you want, says Wolseley farmer veteran Andy Cloete (53). There should be a path between each bed to reach all the seedlings in the garden and make sure they don’t get trampled on.
There is definitely no need to acquire new gardening tools right away. What you have in your hands can perform miracles in the yard, such as making seeding holes by creating your own watering bucket by drilling holes in empty plastic watering bottles.
Before planting, the planting ground must be fertilised to ensure that everything you plant will thrive. As a result, you’ll need to gather debris to make your own compost by bearing fruit waste and vegetable peelings in a whole. When that has been rotten enough, cover it with soil. When it is rotted, it can be used as a fertiliser.
Make a vegetable tyre
Cloete contends that most people throw away valuable garbage such as potato peels, rotten tomatoes, cabbage peels, onion peels and cabbage stalks, all of which can be used to multiply food for free in their gardens.
To build your own vegetable patch with a tyre, you will need:
- Recycling a used tyre
- Take the top rim off the top tyre
- Remove the label and cap from a 2-liter bottle
- Make three holes in the bottle’s sides
- Plastic should be used to line the tyre, with 4 – 6 small holes at the bottom
- Fill the tyre with grow mulch, then use your finger to poke a hole in the grow mulch and fill it with water
- Plant seedlings in the vicinity of the bottle, but keep it one hand apart from each other
- Water your plants by filling the bottles on a daily basis
How many spinach seedlings can a sachet yield?
For an estimated R30 per seedling sachet, each type of five seedlings can produce up to R50. So if you have ten tyres, they can all be planted from one sachet and per month can produce up to R500. “That is how cheap it is to start a garden,” says Cloete.