Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Food Gardening & Vermiculture

As you read the title of this you might be asking, “What is verimculture?” Vermiculture or “vermicomposting” as it is sometimes known is using a specific type of worm called a “Red Wriggler” to break down materials such as vegetable peels, leftover fruit, bread etc into a black, nutrient rich compost that can be used to grow vegetables in, and regenerate soil. A by product of this is a liquid known as “worm tea” that is a concentrated organic fertiliser that you water down and can feed your vegetables with.

Poor nutrition impacts people particularly in a slum environment where there is not much space to grow anything, and where the soil has been eroded away. This means that people have to buy most of their food that they live on. With high unemployment in these places and inflation causing food prices to increase, many people are forced to buy cheaper food with little or no nutrient value to it. For children under the age of 5 years old this can have lifelong impacts as it can effect physical and cognitive development.

Through Project HOPE's Village Saving Fund(VSF) program we have been encouraging caregivers of young children to set up food gardens so that they can grow vegetables and fruit that will benefit their children. As planting season is almost upon us, last week we spent a couple of days clearing a piece of land that has been donated for us to use for gardening. As you can see from the pictures the place was a complete mess, full of trash, but we cleared it all and are in the process of preparing the land for planting.

As an experiment, we are preparing a keyhole garden, which has been designed to be placed in areas with little available space and can continuously grow a variety of crops. Using manure and vegetable peels, fruit, husks etc this garden will be able to grow enough food to support a small family. The picture to the right is the outline of one, and the second picture is of one that I did earlier to show you how productive it can be.

We are also going to experiment breeding worms, to decompose organic matter so that we can use the by-products to enrich the soil thus making it more productive. There will be the potential then to market and sell the compost and liquid fertiliser that is produced further benefiting the women in the VSF groups.

I will follow this post up in a few weeks time when we have planted our crops so you can see how the garden is progressing.

No comments:

Post a Comment