For Kenyans living at their homes, rural or urban, one can use this period of Coronavirus homestay and isolation to make what is known as an oasis garden to grow organic fruits and vegetables to ensure the health of the family.
An oasis garden can provide you with vegetables and fruits all year round, especially during the dry season when vegetables are in short supply. The unpredictable and errant weather changes leave many farmers unsure of when to expect rains.
Hence, with unpredictable weather conditions and continued changes in rain patterns, farmers are bound to diversify their sources of water and use the little water available with utmost care. Diligence in water management is key to ensuring a continued supply of vegetables during dry seasons for better nutrition and improved livelihoods.
An oasis garden is a one-off investment which allows continuous growth of vegetables throughout the year. With the little supply of water, a bumper harvest of any vegetable grown is realized. A single investment in oasis garden serves a farmer for a period longer than 50 years.
Coronavirus homestay: How to prepare an oasis garden
- Dig two feet (2ft) deep and one meter (1m) wide trench.
- Exhume all the soil from the trench.
- Spread a polythene paper on the floor of the trench.
- Ensure the polythene paper is long enough to appear on top of the level ground.
- Put a horizontal PVC pipe that runs up to the middle of the trench. Ensure the PVC pipe is perforated. Ensure an L-joint is made at the beginning where a half a metering pipe, vertically placed, will appear on the earth surface.
- Place hard-core stones on top of the PVC pipe.
- Mix topsoil with manure and fill the trench with the mixture (soil and manure).
- The ratios of manure to soil could be one (1) wheelbarrow of manure to one (1) metre of a trench dug soil.
- At the far end of the trench, put an opening with a pipe from where excess water can drain. Dig a hole and plant a fruit tree such as banana which can maximize on the water drained from the oasis garden.
Coronavirus homestay: How an oasis garden works
- Plant vegetables of your choice on the prepared garden.
- Pour water through the hole of the vertically placed pipe.
- The horizontally placed and perforated pipe slowly oozes water to the soil, the underground placed polythene paper prevents sipping of water downwards.
- Slowly, water spreads evenly in the oasis garden allowing the growth of vegetables planted in the garden.
Coronavirus homestay: Materials and cost of preparing an oasis garden
- 2 lorries of hard-core stones at Sh5,000.
- Polythene paper at Sh2,800.
- 1 PVC pipe with a joint at Sh150.
- 1 can of contact glue to join the joints of the papers at Sh150.
- All the above materials can be found at any hardware shop.
With about Sh8,100 you will have an oasis garden to supply your household with clean, organically grown vegetables for 50 years.
This story was first published by The Organic Farmer.