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High cost of living is rapidly eroding income. The situation is not likely to improve with the eight percent increase in salary for public sector workers. Retroactive pay, if not properly budgeted and spent will evaporate in the twinkling of an eye. Those who have not received the increase are not necessarily financially worse off than their counterparts in the public sector, who will only enjoy a short reprieve.
The undeniable truth in Guyana is that the rich are getting richer and the poor are on their own, at least for now. Thus, it behooves the poor, who make up the majority to start spending and saving wisely. One such way is to grow a kitchen garden.
Cultivating a kitchen garden should not be constrained by space, fear one may not have a ‘green thumb,’ or some such perceived limitation. 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. Gardening requires physical and mental energy, engaging the brain in ensuring seeds are properly planted and nurtured and the utilisation of limbs.
There is emotional and even spiritual fulfillment in eating what’s grown by one’s hands and appreciating the wonders of nature. 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- reducing your food bill and redirecting scarce money to other areas.
There is reward in self-sufficiency, be it planting thymes, vegetables, peppers, etc. and 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, cost free or at competitive prices. The more environmentally conscious can utilise compost, i.e., decomposed organic matter such as grass, discard of vegetables and fruits. Be creative. A little imagination and determination, the possibilities are endless. And the best time to start a garden is now.