By Bisi Klah (Contact: +231886587547 / +23177874301)
Locating the Garden
Some vegetables grow best in a level area with loose, well-drained soil and need at least 6 hours of sun (8 to 10 hours is ideal).
Here are several factors you need to consider in locating the garden.
Use contour rows or terraces on slope or hillside sites to avoid erosion. South-facing slopes are warmer and less subject to damaging frosts.
Locate near a good and easily accessible supply of water if possible.
Avoid windy locations, if you must plant in a windy spot, build or grow a wind-break.
Choose a spot near your home so it is convenient to work in the garden when you have a few minutes.
Avoid planting near trees and shrubs; they compete for nutrients and water and may cause excessive shading.
Sites too near buildings may result in plants not receiving enough sunlight.
Observe shading patterns through the growing season; if possible, before starting the garden. If you have a shaded area you wish to use anyway, plant shade-tolerant crops. Increase effective light, if needed, by providing reflective surfaces around plants.
Try not to plant vegetables from the same family in exactly the same location in the garden more often than once in 3 years. Rotation prevents the build-up of insects and disease.
Avoid locations near busy roads. Airborne lead from automobile exhaust can contaminate vegetables, especially leafy types. If you must plant in a lead-prone area, try planting a hedge to trap lead in the air.
The ideal vegetable garden soil is deep, friable, well drained, and has high organic matter content.
Proper soil preparation provides the basis for good seed germination and subsequent growth of garden crops.
Careful use of various soil amendments can improve garden soil and provide the best possible starting ground for your crops.
The type of equipment used to prepare your garden will depend on the size of the garden and your physical ability, time, and budget.
However, cutlass, hoes, water can, rope, wheelbarrow, sprayer, basket, buckets, are the elementary equipment needed for appropriate gardening.
Many seeds like carrot, radish, and beet may be sown directly in the garden. If garden soil is quite sandy or is mellow with a high content of organic matter, seeds may be planted deeper. Young seedlings can emerge from a sandy or organic soil.
If garden soil is heavy with a high silt and or clay content, however, the seeds should be covered only 2 to 3 times their diameter. In such soils, it may be helpful to apply a band of sand, fine compost along the row after seeds are planted.
This will help retain soil moisture and reduce crushing, making it easier for seedlings to push through the soil surface.
The seed is first and foremost planted on nursery beds which are constructed under the relatively shaded area to avoid overheating. The beds that serve as the nursery are made and well tilled and smoothed out. Before the seeds are spread evenly on it, it is watered. After watering it, the seeds are very carefully spread all over it.
Then, some stones are placed on the edges of the bed and by the sides. These will serve as support to the rectangular board with the net on top of it, which is used to cover the bed. In the absence of this kind of cover, ordinary leaves can be used.
These are also not to be placed directly on the plants. The reason for this is that the weight of either the board or the leaves might obstruct the germination of the plants. Therefore, the blocks that are deposited at the edge of the beds help raise these up. The covers are removed after four days.
Irrigating the Garden
Adequate soil moisture is essential for good crop growth. A healthy plant is composed of 75 percent to 90 percent water, which is used for the plant’s vital functions, including photosynthesis, support (rigidity), and transportation of nutrients and sugars to various parts of the plants.
During the first two (2) weeks of growth, plants are becoming established and must have water to build their root systems.