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The COVID-19 pandemic has altered our lives in ways many never thought of or could have imagined. Where, in the not so distant past, we spent most of our waking hours at work or school and were quite content to be home only weekends or holidays, this is no longer so. We now have so much time on our hands and question what to do with it. An idle hand is an idle mind. As the virus continues to ravage the world and affects our outlook in the now and what the future may have in store, what we cannot afford to do is let time pass us by doing nothing.
This is the opportune time to find our creative side, to execute projects which would meaningfully occupy our time. What better time than now to start your own kitchen garden. Realisation should not be constrained by space, fear that you do not have ‘garden hands,’ the land may be infertile or some other limitation that could debilitate rather than embolden. Nothing should stand in the way of a fruitful rendezvous with nature and reaping the bounty of her kindness.
There are numerous benefits to growing a kitchen garden. Some include the joy that comes with planting a seed, nurturing the plant until it grows, reaping the fruit of your labour, eating and sharing with your loved ones and neighbours. This simple endeavour is gratifying for it bodes well in reducing stress/anxiety by channeling energies into a rewarding activity.
There is also the benefit of mind/body exercise. It may be overlooked, but gardening requires physical and mental energy, engaging the brain in ensuring seeds are properly planted and nurtured and the utilisation of limbs in realising same. There is emotional and even spiritual fulfilment in eating what you grow and appreciating the wonders of the universe. Where global emphasis has shifted to organic foods given the nexus to overall health and longevity Guyanese cannot afford to be left behind. Finally, there is an economic factor- i.e. reducing your food bill and redirecting scarce money to other area(s).
There is reward in self-sufficiency, be it planting thymes, vegetables, peppers, etc, irrespective of the scale. Do not be constrained by space or inability to grow everything. Grow what you can. If there is not enough space to plant, plant what you can. If you don’t have yard space, plant in pots (old drums, bucket, paint or milk tin, etc). The aim is to capitalise on the rewards of growing and eating your own food.
Manure could be sourced from different places if you are not rearing livestock/fowls or know someone who is. The purchase price is competitive or the bold could make it a worthwhile exercise visiting the backdams or other suitable places to pick up the droppings. The more environmentally conscious could utilise compost, i.e. decomposed organic matter such as grass, discarded vegetables and fruits or their ‘skins.’ With a little imagination and determination, the possibilities are endless. Nothing beats having your own kitchen garden and the best time to start one is now.