3 quick steps to starting your own home garden

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You don’t need to own a farm to grow your own produce

Tanzania is a country with abundant fertile and healthy land. As a result, it’s common for people to save money and buy farmland. But the thing is, you don’t have to wait to own a farm to start growing your own fruits and vegetables. At least not for your home’s consumption. So, while you save up your money to buy a farm, or even if you already own one, you should also consider starting your own home vegetable garden.

There are many benefits to growing produce at home. These include:

  • You are able to control which chemicals go into your vegetables. You can use organic seeds, fertilisers, and even pesticides, to reduce the number of toxins in your food.

  • It’s convenient and saves money on fuel, as you can simply pick vegetables from your own backyard for meals, instead of going to a grocery store.

  • The process of gardening keeps you physically active, and being in the outdoors reduces stress and anxiety.

So how exactly do you start your very own home garden? These 3 quick tips will show you that it’s easier than you think.

1. Find a good location in your home plot

The quality of your produce will be greatly determined by where you plant it. So, the first thing you need to do before you purchase the seeds and shovel, is to find a good spot for your vegetables. When looking for a location to grow your produce you need to consider the following:

  • Is the soil soft enough for the crop roots to grow through and water to seep into?

  • Does the soil contain nutrients that assist with plant growth? If not, you can add nutrients by using fertilisers ( like animal manure or rotting vegetables).

  • You need to make sure that your garden is not too close to trees, as the roots of the trees may interfere with the growth pattern of the roots of your crop.

  • Is there direct access to sunlight? As crops need at least 6 hours/day of contact with sunlight to flourish

  • Is there enough room to grow all the crops you want? Because you shouldn’t plant your crops too close together, as they’ll be competing for resources and won’t grow properly.

2. Pick the right seeds for your garden

Most places in Tanzania are relatively warm throughout the year, so you should first do some research on what seeds grow best in your area. After you get an idea of what you can plant, you need to decide what you want to grow and eat. Remember, the whole point of having a vegetable garden is to grow your own food, so don’t waste your time on vegetables you don’t like.

In warm cities like Dar es Salaam, Dodoma, and Morogoro, ideal crops include:

  • Bush beans (Maharage)

  • Cucumbers (Matango)

  • Eggplant (Mbilinganya)

  • Okra (Bamia)

  • Peppers (Pilipili hoho)

  • Cabbage (Kabichi)

  • Sweet potato (Viazi vitamu)

  • Tomato (Nyanya)

  • Spinach (Mchicha)

  • Zucchini

  • Basil (Basili)

Make sure to purchase quality seeds of the crop to ensure that they germinate. Ideally, they should be from the year’s crop.

3. Invest in some tools

In addition to seeds, you are going to need some gardening tools to help bring your crops to life. To start of, you should invest in a:

  • Shovel (Koleo)

  • Water beaker (Keni)

  • Shears (Mikasi)

  • Hand rake (Reki)

  • Garden knife (Mkasi wa bustani)

  • Spade (Chepeo)

  • Gloves (Glavu)

  • Pruner (Kata majani)

  • Hoe (Jembe)

Don’t bite off more than you can chew

The secret to having a successful vegetable garden is to start small. Don’t make the mistake of planting too much the first time round.

A garden size that you could start with is about 16×10 feet, this can feed a family of four and have some crops left over for friends.

Remember, the more crops you have, the more time you’ll have to spend on them. So unless you have a gardener (shamba boy) who will tend to your crops daily, it’s best to start with a small garden that you can manage and be proud of.

 

Iman Lipumba
A digital storyteller, experienced in creating content that improves website visibility on search engines, enhances the user experience, and nurtures brand loyalty. With a background in the social sciences, an expert in researching complex ideas, and communicating them in engaging language to multiple audiences.