In Summary
  • Terrace, conical and sunken kitchen plots are some of the types you can go for as an urban farmer seeking to produce safer food for your family and sell the surplus.
  • If using a plastic tank, it is cut in half, and each half is then perforated at the bottom to ensure some water drains as the opening is filled with a mixture of soil and manure in a ratio of 1:1.
  • One should then identify an area with plenty of sunlight and afternoon shade since vegetables do well in six to eight hours of full sun exposure.
  • A farmer can curve old iron sheets into a circular form, depending on the space available, and then place old tyres inside, depending on size, to form a beautiful pattern.

As concrete buildings stand proudly on spaces that were once used for farming in both urban and rural areas, farmers have no option but to seek alternative ways of producing food.

These include use of kitchen gardens that allow one to grow food crops in tiny spaces and off the ground.

John Wambugu, an agronomist at Wambugu Farm in Nyeri, which last week showcased a number of kitchen gardens during a field day, notes that before establishing such a farm, one should consider the amount of space available, the plants to grow and amount of time they wish to dedicate tending to the crop.

For instance, if one wants to grow 10 vegetable plants, they may use old tyres while for 50, they can go for terrace gardens.

Seeds of Gold brings you six kitchen gardens that you can use to grow a variety of crops in a tiny space, guaranteeing yourself not only quality but also safer food.

Waste pipes multi-storey garden

This is a kitchen garden made out of plastic pipes. The six-inch pipes are mounted on wooden frames that have been cut in- half. The garden is suitable for people living in both urban and peri-urban areas.

It can be used to grow assorted crops ranging from vegetables such as sukuma wiki, spinach to celery, dhania and fruits such as strawberries.

A single row of the pipes can hold up to eight crops, which if well-tended can sustain a family of four for months.

One only needs two six-inch pipes, timber or bamboo trunks, with the entire garden needing about Sh5,000.

As with most kitchen gardens, the chances of pest and disease infestation are minimal.

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Terrace farming

The gardens can be made from anything, from plastic tanks, plywood, old iron sheets or tyres, depending on the size.

If using a plastic tank, it is cut in half, and each half is then perforated at the bottom to ensure some water drains as the opening is filled with a mixture of soil and manure in a ratio of 1:1. If one is using iron sheets, they only need to curve them in a semicircular shape.

The gardens are ideal for farmers living in urban areas, enabling them to turn their homes into micro or macro farms.
Besides vegetables like spinach, onions and sukuma wiki, one can also plant strawberries in the garden.

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Multi-storey garden

Sacks or nets are most preferred for a multistorey garden. All a farmer needs is an empty 90kg gunny bag that is open on both ends, a wheelbarrow of well-decomposed manure, about 8kg of small stones, one metre waste pipe and 40-60 litres of water.

One should then identify an area with plenty of sunlight and afternoon shade since vegetables do well in six to eight hours of full sun exposure.

Terrace farming \(left) and a multi-storey garden (right).

Terrace farming (left) and a multi-storey garden (right). Sacks or nets are the most preferred materials for a multi-storey garden. PHOTOS | JOSEPH KANYI | NMG

“You excavate at most one foot depending on the composition of your soil and mix it with manure thoroughly before placing the one metre waste pipe upright at the centre of the sack,” Margaret Wandeto, a crop officer at Wambugu Farm explained.

A farmer then puts the pebbles into the waste pipe and then spreads the soil and manure mixture around the pipe and water adequately after every one foot until the bag fills up.

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