Considering Uganda is such a green, fertile land it is surprising to see that very few people grow their own vegetables to support what can be quite limited diets. The obvious space restriction helps to explain this a little; but with some simple education, ideas and recycling we are beginning to see more people begin to develop their own ‘container gardens’. Over the last two months some of our Community Development team has been teaching small groups in Kinawataka and Katogo 2 to use locally found soil and manure to begin to grow tomato, kale and cabbage seeds in large recycled plastic bottles. The training spanned: the importance of good nutrition; how to find compost amongst waste dumps; making ‘plant tea’ and natural ways to keep pests away.
During transplanting week’, where the seedlings (also grown in bottles) we delicately pluck from the soil and place into their new containers. The Mamas listened carefully to Solomon’s instructions as they lovingly planted and staked their vegetable plants whose new homes would be on roofs, hanging from beams, in net protected areas or in tiny spaces next to houses. With such tangible results in just a few weeks since the training began, excitement is beginning to spread around the slum community and more and more people are becoming interested in starting their own gardens. We are hoping to build on the enthusiasm by taking the Kinawataka group to see some of the innovative ways in which the people of Katogo 2 are doing their container gardening. It is still very early days, and we hope that the crops will avoid pests, disease and thieves in order to help families gain a far broader variety of healthy (and free) food into their diets. Continue to check our website and social media to see updates on how these container gardens are doing, and how some of the Mamas feel about being able to provide their families with home-grown, nutritious vegetables.