The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that an adult person needs to consume at least 400 grams of vegetables (excluding potatoes) daily to live a healthy life. However, the high cost of vegetables in Kenya makes it difficult for most homes to meet this target.
It is therefore becoming more reasonable for Kenyans to set up their own home gardens for growing vegetables. This will drastically reduce the cost of acquiring vegetables.
Growing your own vegetables at home will also give you the ability to practice organic farming which is the most recommended way of farming and the healthier option.
Challenges faced when growing vegetables at home
Growing vegetables at home are healthy and will save you money, making it the best choice for families in Kenya. Home farmers face a big challenge in vegetable production due to the following reasons;
- Poor cultivation techniques.
- Frequent pest and disease occurrence.
- Low-quality seeds.
All these factors combined usually result in poor yields in home gardens. It is therefore imperative for families to improve on the weaknesses mentioned above and seek advice from their local extension officers to increase production.
An increase in quality and organic vegetables will save income in Kenyan homes while also boosting health.
Growing vegetables all year round
Harvest periods differ between different types of vegetables. You should therefore grow vegetables on a timetable so that you have a constant supply of veggies throughout the year.
Crop rotation should also be practiced to prevent diseases. Crops grown on the same plot every year will attract pests and diseases which will give you a headache to control.
Use the above table as a cultivation plan to decide which vegetable should be planted on various plots. This will improve the overall health of your farm and increase production.
Types of vegetables to grow at home
It’s easy to grow your own vegetables at home. All you need are the right growing guides and tools to get started. These are some of the crops you can grow in your home garden and save up on grocery costs.
- Kales (Sukuma Wiki)
- Sagaa (Spider Plant)
- Arrow Roots
8 steps to starting your own vegetable garden.
Choose the right location.
Vegetables love growing in the sun. Choose a place that is well exposed and can be accessed easily during your farming activities. You also need to consider your distance from the water source.
Identify the vegetables you want to grow.
Look at your home diet and choose crops that grow well in your region. You could start by growing vegetables such as Kale, Managu, Spinach, Carrots, and Beans. These are much easier to grow. You can upgrade to other crops as time goes by.
Prepare the soil.
Test your soil through a reputable company and rectify if any problems are found. It is usually a general rule of thumb to add compost to the planting area.
Check planting dates
Don’t sow all your seeds at the same time. You will need to create a planting calendar for continuous harvesting. You need vegetables all year round. This calendar will be your planning friend.
Sow the seeds.
Some seeds need to be planted in a nursery before transplanting while others are sowed directly on the main field. Follow the growing guides carefully to avoid any mistakes.
Purchase and install an irrigation system to ensure constant moisture for your crops. All serious farmers have an irrigation system. You can choose between a drip irrigation system or a sprinkler system.
Once your crops have grown, you will need to keep the farm free from weeds. You will also need to fertilize them to get high yields.
Follow the crop harvesting guidelines and maintain hygiene when handling the vegetables.