Seed savers Network main agenda has being empowering farmers and also school going kids on ecological farming. We are happy that farmers in the network continue to practice this farming despite COVID -19 pandemic that restrict everyone from moving and instilling fear amongst us.Annah is the newest urban farmer.Teachers estate, Gilgil sub-county in Nakuru County is where Annah comes from and like many other urban residence she does not grow food except some fruit trees due to small land space. Early this year, through our school gardening programme in her school where she the head teacher was interested after seeing the benefits.
After closure of the schools by the government Annah started working on her small parcel of land as stopped going to work and she became a stay at home citizen. Looking for something productive to do at home with her family she remembered her wish on growing her ‘clean’ veggies. She didn’t hesitate to reach out to Seed Savers’ Extension Officer to her home to help her plan and decide together the crops to plant.
From our side we offered to walk with her by giving advices via phone or on farm visit in order for her to do successful gardening. Peris one of the extension officers shares her E-extension advice;
‘Today you need to plan your garden with raised beds and mix the soil well with compost. Always ensure you create perfect living soil for your plants also maximize your growing space without wastage. While planting you need to start with heavy feeders but watch the spacing so well to avoid overcrowding as they will compete for nutrients and sunlight. After planting your diverse crops, make sure you cover the soil with grass or any dry vegetation to conserve moisture. Make sure you water regularly but this will depend on the weather. If it’s dry spell, check first if your soil is moist or dry using your finger. When watering, water the soil directly to the soil instead of leaves. Please note too much watering can cause diseases and plant may drown and die with time .In addition, you may consider adding nutrients to your plant with liquid manure once every week, ‘Peris Advised.
Thankful Annah commented “Now I have gained an interactive responsibility of ensuring that the plants grow healthy into edible plants, attending them daily watering when necessary, checking for pest and diseases it will be fun.”
After few days we visited her. To our encouragement We found Annah and her daughter clearing and digging the land that has been lying idle determined to convert into family edible garden. On receiving us warmly and observing government directives she said ‘I want to ensure my family has enough veggies from now and off course the surplus will proceed to business. I’m extremely proud to have met you because I’m sure the partnership will benefit my family and my neighbor’s too.We will work closely to actualize my dream.’
This story has been documented to encourage people to turn these difficult times into a positive period to comfort themselves into their ordinary lives. We all know that due to COVID -19, food security is going to be a sensitive matter. We can all in our small ways ensure our families are food and nutritional secure.