11 vegetable garden ideas for gardeners with small spaces


Chief Administrative Secretary of Agriculture Anne Nyaga at the launch of the Kilimo vegetable garden project in Nairobi. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

In capitalism, we eat the food they pay for. You pay for the food out of pocket or by growing it yourself.

On Tuesday this week, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives launched the model vegetable garden developed in collaboration with Scaling up Nutrition Civil Society Alliance (SUN CSA Kenya).

“Home gardens are the easiest way for households to secure an inexpensive supply of fresh vegetables, herbs, spices and other plants,” Anne Nyaga, the chief administrative secretary, said at the event.

The model vegetable garden, located at Kilimo House in Upper Hill, Nairobi, is the centerpiece of the government’s call for families to cultivate allotment gardens, “at least one million vegetable gardens across the country,” Nyaga said.

Affordable food at home

“The goal is not only to make food available, but also to improve the nutritional quality of that food: nutrition is the difference,” said Martha Nyagaya, Chairman of the Board of Directors of SUN CSA Kenya during of the Third National Symposium on Nutrition, which was running concurrently with the launch. from the vegetable garden.

Evidence shows that most vegetables consumed by households in Nairobi are grown along polluted rivers and streams using sewage – which contains heavy metals and other toxic chemicals.

“Growing your own vegetable garden guarantees your family a nutrient-dense diet that is not toxic to your body and cannot cause cancer,” Nyagaya said.

The Nairobi County Assembly last year passed the Water and Sanitation Services Policy which bans the use of sewage and wastewater to irrigate crops.

For those who want to create a vegetable garden, here are some of the easy-to-implement technologies that one could use to develop the system.

1. The wick irrigation garden

This is a simple garden that uses jerry cans and a wick measuring 30cm long and 2cm wide. The wick – much like with a kerosene lamp – sucks water up to the soil where the crop grows. The box is sliced ​​in such a way that the lower half retains the water in which the wick is soaked, and the upper half retains soil, plant and wick. Most medium-sized vegetables like spinach and cabbage would do well in a wicker garden. Mounted on a wooden frame, the wick garden would easily fit into any space.

2. Tire garden

Do you have used car tires of all sizes? If you do, don’t worry about how to get rid of it. Cut the tire to remove the inner rims on both sides. Place it on the ground to form a circle and fill it with soil and manure. The tire garden can be used to grow herbs like rosemary, fruits like strawberries, and vegetables like kale.

3. Simple drip irrigation garden

With used plastic containers and a wall (or pole), a simple drip irrigation garden can be established. The best containers would be 5 liter jerry cans. The boxes are cut in such a way that they can be easily attached to the wall or to a post and placed vertically on top of each other. At the top of the cans, a container of water with a hole in the bottom – from which water would drip when the lid is opened – is erected and operated.

4. Micro-garden

The micro-garden is easy to set up and is more suitable for city dwellers who only have a balcony to grow food. This involves the use of plastic containers like buckets to transport soil and manure. You can hang the buckets from the balcony ceiling or simply place the buckets on the floor. The micro garden is watered regularly according to the water needs of the crop.

5. The multi-storey garden

This garden uses bags and nets. You can also improvise with laundry in the form of bags. Holes with a diameter of about 3 cm are cut and properly spaced on the bag. Soil mixed with manure is then placed. Ballast (or medium sized stones) is stacked in the center of the bag to form a midrib through which watering will be carried out. The bag is pulled until it is full and straight. The vegetables – especially spinach and collard greens (wiki sukuma) – are transplanted from a nursery into the holes on the wall of the bag and a few at the top.

6. Food dress garden

The Food Dress Garden is a vertical farm that combines micro-gardens and a vertical wooden structure designed to mimic shelves. The structure of the food dress should be erected by a professional who will ensure that it is strong enough to support the weight of several micro-gardens. The height inside the shelves is determined by the natural height of the cultivated species.

7. Garden of cones

The shape of the garden gives it its name. The garden has rings of soil compacted together and held in place by a thick, strong plastic sheet. Each ring has a smaller diameter than the ring below. The cone garden is ideal for a backyard vegetable garden as it would need a slightly larger space to set up. Also, because it is bulky, the cone garden is erected directly on the surface of the soil. It looks like a steep hill with circular terraces. On each terrace, you can choose to plant a different species, creating a collage that would be both a source of nourishment and aesthetic.

8. Wet bed garden

Some plants grow best in moist soils. For example, arrow roots (nduma) and sweet potatoes. Some species of green cabbage and cabbage will also do well in a wet bed garden. The bed is constructed with waterproof plastic bags – preferably barrier liners – which retain moisture; allowing plants to absorb most of it. A wet bed garden is watered regularly to ensure that the soil is always moist. There are two types of wet bed gardens: raised and sunken (buried in soil) wet bed gardens.

9. Stair garden

This is yet another variation of a vertical vegetable garden. A stair garden is built using wood to create “stairs” on which buckets, wooden crates, ponds and similar micro-gardens can be placed and arranged neatly. Like all vertical trusses, the stepped garden allows little space to be used for more food production.

10. Aquaponics

Aquaponics would be the vegetable garden par excellence for a family that also values ​​animal proteins. Aquaponics mimics the natural ecosystem in which aquatic life lives in symbiosis with land cultures. Fish eat their food and release waste into the water. The waste is then metabolized by bacteria to form a fertilizer for the plants to use. The water – the plants having depleted nutrients – is clean enough to redirect it to the fish.

11. Hanging gardens

Hanging gardens can be installed using almost any type of container. Do you only have 1 liter bottles of juice? You can certainly make a hanging garden. The container is cut lengthwise to expose a larger area where soil mixed with manure can be placed. The culture is then planted. Watering is done twice a week. You should be careful not to overload a container, however, as this will delay harvest due to competition for nutrients.