Sharing is Caring - A Community Garden Dream!

I live in a block of flats with enough parking space and a fair space for children to play. As you could well imagine, as children often do, they are loud, noisy, and so easily get into mischief. It got me wondering…what can we do to keep them within the boundaries of the flats to avoid them running around the streets and making noise or being naughty. How are we going to keep these hyperactive little ones productively occupied?

There is a sizable unused spot, close by, that is currently filled with litter. What if we could clean it up and clear out all the litter? This could be an ideal spot for growing vegetables. All these little busy bodies’ excess energy could be directed in helping me clear the space and prepare a lovely little vegetable patch. Oh, how exciting!!

Clearing and cleaning the space is one thing, but please bear in mind that I have absolutely no gardening experience at all. With absolutely nothing to lose I decided, why not? Besides, which child won’t enjoy a little bit of dirt and mud! These little energiser bunnies’ joyous excitement is more than contagious, as I found myself hop-skip-and-jumping alongside them!

Each child received the task of gathering recyclable material in and around the plot. Besides, these naughty little beings are mostly the guilty parties when it comes to littering. Bottle tops, bottles, containers, and sucker sticks were collected and will be put to clever use. The children got carried away with their creative plans on which litter items they will use for what purpose and how they will look after their plants. Considering the kids’ safety first, I helped them cut the plastic bottles in half. Not having access to a lot of water, I toyed with the idea of making our own drip irrigation system, so I made holes in the bottom and a bit higher on the sides and strung washing line rope through the holes. This will hang in a line over each developing plant. We can then fill these “containers” with water every second day to provide a constant slow drip of water.  I believe that this will also fill up with rainwater when we receive a good shower of rain every now and again. This way I know that the young plants will at least benefit from the surplus water for a few days. I might be a novice, but I honestly believe that a lesson in water conservation and its benefits will be educational to them as well.

With everything cleared, prepared and ready to go, we decided on which seeds we will grow. Taking my own lack of experience into consideration, we need to focus on vegetable seeds which are both nutritious and healthy as well as easy to grow. Beans, pumpkin, carrot, onion, spinach, tomato, and cabbage are the easiest to grow and provide a great yield. Also, every kitchen is home to a few sprouting potatoes - this is when a potato starts to sprout and grow eyes, roots, and bumps. Hmmm…what a cost economically way to plant potatoes. So, we went about our mission of collecting these from the other tenants.

I am so excited about the prospect of getting my young followers involved. Furthermore, at least our parents will have a fresh bout of veggies in the evenings. Perhaps that savings could go towards our parents supporting us to expand our project to a full-blown sustainable community garden. 

About the author.

Ferdiane Barabwiriza is our intern at Seeds for Africa. She is gaining experience about the seeds and their process, as well as assisting customers with their inquiries. She delights in this wonderful opportunity to be part of a lovely and experienced team that taught her to take it one step at a time and not be hard on herself.

 “It’s not too late to learn something new every day,” quoted by herself.