Have you ever imagined the magic feeling of grabbing fresh fruits and vegetables at any time straight from your home garden no matter the size of the backyard?
Even if you are not a fun of gardening, a kitchen garden will gradually motivate you and your children to develop the passion for comfortably growing your own vegetables, for the family to enjoy them fresh all year round.
According to Leonard Muzahura, a professional gardener with CIDI gardening and landscaping institute in Muyenga, a kitchen garden is the small garden you keep as close to your back or kitchen door as possible, where you grow vegetables, mints, fruits and salads of your choice.
“Why you need it close to your kitchen door is because whenever it is kitchen time, you need to visit and continuously harvest from it year round for breakfast, lunch and supper while enjoying the health benefits that come with fresh foods,” he explains.
If you grow in excess, you can decide to preserve some of the vegetables or sell to supplement on your income however small the returns may be, remember it is less costly to maintain this garden.
How to set up a kitchen garden
Solomon Luyimbazi, a gardening trainer at CIDI Institute says that a kitchen garden is a must have in every modern home because of its health benefits especially in the urban gardening.
“All vegetables, spices and mints can be grown in this garden like carrots, cucumber, sukuma, dodo, bbugga, nakati, jjobyo, tomatoes, onions, lemon grass among others. These serve the purpose of fighting diseases, managing hypertension, stress relievers and air filters,” he affirms.
He continues that to set this garden, one should demarcate the site where she wants it considering its proximity to the kitchen for it to serve its purpose better.
Dig the ground to awaken the soils and if they are not good, add black soil and fertilizers and set the heart of the garden in the middle by erecting a wire mesh in a circular form.
In this heart, you dump whatever is unwanted from the kitchen like cabbage and carrot leaves, tomatoes, onion and cucumber peels. These fertilize the garden with the necessary nutrients when they rot.
After the heart is firmly set, plant the seedlings or transplant the plants from the nursery bed to the garden not forgetting to water them in the morning and evening especially during the dry spells.
For protection from animals and children, surround the garden with a wire mesh to the convenient height that will enable you harvest.
However, Luyimbazi adds on that carefully plan for harvest and succession planting in order to sustain the garden’s continuity at all times.
Muzahura points at some of the challenges of kitchen gardens like having all plants ready at the same time yet the family is small and they don’t wish to freeze or preserve them.
He however emphasizes the need for planning what to plant, when, in what quantity and looking after this garden by protecting it from destruction, watering it and spraying in case of pest attack.