In these very challenging times with food prices escalating and changing by the minute, it maybe the tip to get your hands dirty and start that home gardening that you have been putting off,after all it wont only save you some precious cedis, it will greatly enhance your health. So let reach for that extra layer of space in back or courtyard, we have good reasons to
In another related piece I put together a couple of months ago, I mentioned wondered why for some reason, people tend to associate gardening with bored older folks. Well think again, if you have to drag yourself out of bed for those few laps or go to gym grudgingly, gardening provides a fun way out to work out without focusing on the physical exertions. The entire process of carrying bags of mulch, pushing a wheelbarrow, hoes, picking weeds, planting seeds, shoveling manure, moving pots etc. can lead to you even shedding as much as 330 calories per hour!. See, right there, you have a whole new perspective on gardening. Step in the sun and come out fitter.
More than ever, in these times of the post-pandemic, we need vitamin D more than ever as recommended by medical experts. According to studies, when you’re outdoors and your skin is exposed to the sun, it prompts your body to produce vitamin D. Note that it is not the sun itself that is giving you vitamin D, so please don’t go sitting out for long hours in the sun. Just get some useful activity like gardening and kill 2 birds with one seedling. This vitamin also helps your body absorb calcium, a mineral essential for bone formation.
Gardening gives you complete control over the chemicals and products used during the food growing process. Lately, there has been a whole storm created over genetically modified (GM) foods which are foods derived from organisms whose genetic material (DNA) has been modified in a way that does not occur naturally. Growing your own food gives you access to organic vegetables and fruits that are healthier for your body hence making your body less susceptible to diseases. You are also able to make some financial savings as organic produce typically costs more at the grocery store. Another great plus for home gardening is that, the produce retains more nutrients when consumed shortly after harvesting, making your homegrown vegetables a healthier option.
Where To Begin
So, you are sold on the idea but completely lost as to where to begin, not to woryy, here are a few quick-fire tips.
Find good soil
Don’t force it if your default setting doesn’t contain good soil i.e if too sandy or clayey. Find some black soil and create a bed for it or by simply adding organic matter or mulching as the richer the soil, the tastier your yield or harvest.
Start with “easily pleased” vegetables
These are vegetables that require less time, attention or even watering but can be high yielding all the same. Some of these ‘easily pleased’ vegetables include tomatoes and lettuce. Do note however, that you need to find a balance especially with your watering schedule. The rule of thumb is to be consistent and ensure your plants get adequate quenching of their thirst at whatever interval you choose to water.
Time of planting
Another great tip is to note that some crops or vegetables respond better to certain seasons than others. spinach and kale for instance taste bitter if they are planted in the harmattan and interestingly tomatoes take longer to turn red if planted closer to rainy season.
There you have it folks, a few tips to go out there, plant, get some exercise, save some cedis, after all the soil and the sun are free, shall we?
The writer is the Executive director of Yecham Property Consult
& Founder of Ghana Green Building Summit.
Email: [email protected]
LinkedIn: Cyril Nii Ayitey Tetteh
YouTube: Real Estate Minute