DIY-LOCKDOWN: UPCYCLE & regrow

The Academy intends not only to keep its youth busy during this time but also to save our environment by reusing everyday waste items.

Let’s make the best of the extra time we have on our hands by testing our creativity while learning

My homemade Vegetable Garden

Seedlings are not the only way to start your own veggie garden. Many vegetables can be regrown from their own cuttings or the original fruit/vegetables.

Before you start planting ( if you plant from seedlings)  remember the following;

  • Crops that grow underground should not be started in seed trays or containers. Rather sow them directly into the ground where you plan to grow them

  • Most crops that bear their crop above ground (e.g. tomatoes, pumpkins, cabbage, peppers etc.) can be started in seed trays or containers

Here is a list of a few vegetables you can re/grow, and how to do it:

Grow garlic and onions from cuttings

Did you know that garlic cloves and onions pretty much grow the same way?

While garlic can be cultivated by placing it facing down into a container filled with water just above the roots, an onion can be regrown by cutting off the tip.

Once sprouted, the tops of each vegetable can be used for cooking. If you, however, prefer to grow full new garlic cloves and onion bulbs, you can transfer the sprouted ones into the soil and grow a whole new head. If you are using a container and are growing them together, make sure it is at least about 30cm deep and wide. Ensure that it has enough drainage

 

This method can also be used for other root veggies such as beets and carrots

Grow all year round. Build Your Own Greenhouse

The change seasons do not always allow us to plant most plants at certain times of the year. Growing cold-sensitive plants requires protection from chills. This is where a greenhouse comes in. A greenhouse is a structure that assists in attracting and retaining warmth for your plants. Large scale farming requires expensive and professionally made greenhouses. You can, however, create your own using your recycled materials.

  • Make sure that you have built your plants where there will be enough heat for them.
  • Use clear plastic or glass bottles as these will work the best for this.
  • Cut the bottle in such a way that you can cover the whole plant. Be careful not stick the bottle in too deep into the soil that you are unable to remove it when necessary.
  • You may also use a plastic bag and build frames so they are well supported.
  • Greenhouses also help to retain most of the moisture when there is heat

Reap what you Sow – Make money from your crops

As a young crop farmer, you need to realise that you are a part of a community. Your crops are for the survival of both yourself and those around you. And this is where the money-making part comes in!!

If you are growing your veggies from old cuttings

Ensure that after you harvest your crop, you maintain good hygiene of your products and also where you store it. You could sell your veggies as mixed packs or individually-always have a variety for customers!!

When you do not have enough space in your yard it is not always possible to plant every kind of vegetable. Team up with a friend and grow different types so you complement each other. That way you can also refer people to each other and market each other’s businesses. There is no point in being greedy or selfish by trying to be a general trader when you have no space because some of your stock will not always sell and will go to waste. Besides, it is also best to specialise at something so you know what vegetable you prefer and enjoy growing for your customers.

Once they start sprouting you can sell them. You could have clients exchange reusable containers for a discount to save the work of going out to look for them yourself.

Don’t have enough space, but are able to buy seedlings?

Sometimes space may be a challenging factor for a young emerging farmer. In that case, you may purchase seedlings, which go for about R20-30 a packet (you may even share this with a friend as each packet contains many seeds). You can then do what is called seedling production in either your upcycled containers. If containers aren’t available you could use egg trays, eggshells or even toilet paper rolls!

 

Nothing goes to waste, and we keep our neighbourhoods clean!!

Label your seedlings as each veggie needs appropriate care…and also not to sell customers the wrong plants

ching !! ching!! Money!!

If, for example, you sell a single plant from your tray for R10 you could make R60 from a tray of 6 eggs. And if you are selling with a container you could sell for R25 and maybe give a discount of about R5 if a customer brings you a clean container. The more containers they give you, the higher the discount you can give. Just make sure that while you do not over-charge your customers, you still make a profit. You never know if one day you will be trading on a bigger scale!!

Happy Gardening, Farmers!!

tips and tricks