Nairobi is fast becoming a middle-income economy. The city is seeing a growing influx of rural to urban migration, with most people opting for anything from white collar jobs and blue collar jobs; anything but farming. Then again, there is not much space available in the city for farming, as real estate for commercial and residential is another booming sector of the economy.
However, there is no city or country for that matter that can have a strong working force, without a stable and reliable source of supply of food. Given the fact that there is little to no farming in most areas of Nairobi City, the city has to rely on farmers living on the outskirts for the supply of food crops.
As things stand, there is currently a high demand for food crops within the city. A situation that has bred unscrupulous businessmen supplying food crop to the city residents, whose farming methods pose serious health risks to the public. On numerous occasions it has been reported of these unscrupulous businessmen setting up gardens along sewage line, using chemicals to make their livestock mature faster and gain weight to be slaughtered in the shortest time possible. All the while charging premium prices.
Hanging Gardens inside Bottles to the rescue
Well, some innovative city residents have decided to take the matter into their own hands. While it still remains a fact that land for farming is almost non-existent for many, the little space around their homes that gets enough sunlight and rainfall have been turned into hanging gardens.
They are using spaces on their balcony, roof terrace, patio, windowsill, and event space outside the front door as gardens. Well, hanging gardens to be precise.
“The garden occupies a space of three by two meters. I used about 70 bottles and planted one seedling in each bottle to avoid overcrowding,” said Martha Wachira, an agricultural officer during an interview with a section of local Kenyan media.
Wachira explained that her food crop grew up to be quite leafy given she had enough space on these hanging gardens to grow them.
“You can actually grow a lot of food in pots and containers than many people realize. This will help a family to be self-sufficient and evade the high prices of the food and encourage clean eating.”
The food crop that does well in this new method of farming includes kales (sukumawiki) spinach, leeks, and tomatoes. They are also what most of the city residence eat on a regular basis. The hanging garden is also cost-effective on multiple fronts.
For one, the family does not have to spend so much to have a warm plate of food on the table. Secondly, the garden is economical in that water sprinkled on one bottle will drain to the next bottle underneath it, and so on. If you have four stacks of bottle arranged vertically up, when the top bottle gets enough water, it will drain out through holes made at the bottom of the bottle and into the next bottle below.
There is also little need for pest and weed control, as plants growing inside the bottle are less exposed to these vices like those planted out in the open fields.