Mon | Jun 14, 2021

Backyard gardening tips (Pt 1)

Published:Thursday | June 28, 2012 | 12:00 AM

MANY JAMAICANS have grown crops successfully in their backyards or apartments using pots, pans or anything else in which they could put soil.

With the high prices of food and generally unstable supply now facing Jamaica, gardens will help householders to supplement their diet.

Short-term vegetables, condiments and herbs are particularly suited to ongoing production in backyard gardening. They supply energy, vitamins and minerals essential to good nutrition as well as the exotic flavours characteristic of Jamaican food. Backyard gardening also brings savings, exercise, a greater appreciation for nature and the satisfaction of knowing that you grow your own food.

Getting ready to start your garden

An area which receives sunlight at least six hours per day is best.

1. Clear the land of stones, cans, etc., leaving a free area in which to grow crops.

2. Fork the soil to a depth of 25-30 centimetres (10-12 inches) breaking up large particles.

3. Add manure and compost where available. This is most important for sandy or clay soils.

4. Make raised beds 90 centimetres (3 ft) wide and 20-30 centimetres (8-12 inches) high.

5. Protect the area from animals e.g. with a fence.

Crops to grow

Some nutritious foods which are easy to grow are callaloo, pak choi, beans, cucumbers, okra, corn, carrot, tomato and cabbage. Sweet potato will also grow easily but requires more space. If you are a beginner, start with only two or three crops until you become accustomed to operating a garden.