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My experience in urban farming during Covid-19 pandemic

Crop By Grace Chomba | 03rd Jun, 2020

Rachel Irungu (inset) at her vegetable garden in Kasarani, Nairobi. [Grace Chomba, Standard]

The Covid-19 outbreak has pushed most urban dwellers to start growing vegetables and fruits. Residents are now using the most available space be it the balconies or kitchen gardens. This has sustained most dwellers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Urban farming is a way for urban dwellers to grow their own food. It improves the production of fresh foods, increases food security in the most densely populated areas, makes use of available spaces and provides a learning opportunity.

Rachel Irungu is an urban dweller who has opted to start growing fresh vegetables at her home in Kasarani. She has used the available space around her home to grow kales, spinach and onions in sacks.

Speaking to Farm Kenya, she said that for her case she spent five hundred shillings only to source everything required.

"All you require to start growing food in the urban areas is space, seedlings, sacks, manure and soil," she explains.

"You can either grow your own seedlings by purchasing certified seeds from a trusted agrovet shop or buy ready to plant seedlings from a trusted source," Rachel highlighted. She sourced her seedlings from a nearby farmer at three shillings per piece.

She said that this has really helped to have access to fresh vegetables since most vegetables in the market sometimes are brought to market when the chemicals used to control pests and weeds had not dissolved which can lead to food poisoning.

"I would urge both urban and rural residents to make an effort of growing their vegetables since it not time-consuming," she said.

It only took Rachel half a day to prepare and plant the vegetables. The only challenge she encountered was getting the required soils but this did not stop her.

Managing

It only takes her twenty minutes in the morning and evening to water her already flourishing vegetables.

"They are not affected by pests since the farmer had already sprayed his seedlings, however, I still remove the weeds using hands which is very rare to find any," she pointed out.

It is easy to control weeds on vegetables grown in sacks, watering is easy as the sacks help retain moisture allowing you to avoid water wastage and save time spent.

"I am now delighted since I can't go to the overcrowded market places to get vegetables which are now scarce due to the lockdown and curfew enforcement," she reckoned.

Per day she can save about Sh100 that she used to spend on vegetables. As the cost of vegetables has risen she can now enjoy her freshly grown vegetables with no worry.

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