In doing advocacy, in speaking out for what I think should be done, I always fail to articulate and put together words that are convincing enough. Of everything that happens here and there, at home and at the neighbors… I’ve always thought that one ought to be happy in their life. As I grow up I realized that happiness sometimes comes with a cost. And wherever you will go, that cost is the same to every human and that is, freedom.

When you are free to go anywhere, free to do anything (that does not harm your fellow human), free to think, free to eat, free to share an opinion…nothing is as good as that.

I’ve spent a good deal of time reading about Africa, learning the different cultures that distinguish one area to the other. From the baakisiimba in Uganda to atilogwu in Nigeria; and from umushanana in Rwanda to isigolwani in South Africa. Though cultures differ, the way of living is the same. For many years, Africa’s economy was based on agriculture. In today’s post I’d like to remind you and myself that you are fully free if you can feed yourself. Of the basic needs of humans, food is first followed by shelter and clothing.

There is a saying or a proverb in Kinyarwanda which says “ntawe urya atakoze” meaning no one eats if they haven’t worked. Most parents tell this to their children make them work and avoid laziness. In this way food is taken as a reward which I think the opposite is true. For me I think one should eat so they can work. But life has its own way. We go to school, look for jobs and create them in order for us to get something to eat. You will find that most of the time we work for food, first, and everything else comes after.

During the lockdown I learned ways by which one can reduce the amount of money spent on food. Of the many advices I got, one stood out and stayed with: produce your own food. There are many ways you can grow crops whether you have a big farm or a small space in your backyard or a just a little patio. I have tried the methods used by those with a little patio and it turned to be a success. One of the challenges that stops people from making a small farm at their houses is because they don’t own a house. Most of them are tenants who move from one house to another for several times. However, fear not. You can still make it.

What you need to grow crops on a small scale:

  • Plastic buckets or clay pots: you can use either one. These will serve as gardens.
  • Good fertilized soil
  • Seeds
  • A good place to place the bucket where there’s a little bit of sunshine

Vegetables you can grow in pots/buckets:

 Beets,  Broccoli,                 Cabbage,           Carrots Cucumbers,        Eggplant, Garlic,                Green Beans,    Lettuce,                Melons , Onions,              Peppers, Radishes,         Squash, Tomatoes

How to grow crops in buckets:

  1. Plan: decide which plants to grow, and determine the amount of plants that will be placed in the pot
  2. Gather your materials: Select containers that are at least 6-inches deep so the plant roots will have plenty of room to grow. A soilless potting mix is ideal for container gardening. It is lightweight, but will retain moisture and resist compaction. Do not use soil from your garden. It is too heavy and may contain disease spores and weeds that will thrive in a container environment. Add organic fertilizer right into the growing medium which will provide the boost they need to establish quickly and grow. Get a good-sized watering can.
  3. Plant your garden: If you are growing different crops in one bucket, try to group vegetables that have the similar watering needs and the same amount of sun exposure.
  4. Care for your plants: by Watering, Fertilizing, Provide Support if Needed and Check for Pests and Disease
  5. Harvest frequently for the plants to continue to produce

Growing crops in buckets/containers/pots is the best choice you can make for yourself if you have a small space; you like fresh produce and would like to save money. These gardens are easy to care for, especially for those with physical limitations that may make digging and weeding a garden difficult. Or those who don’t know how, like me. Let’s feed ourselves starting today!

Cover picture by Sara Scarpa

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  1. Takudzwanashe June 14, 2021 at 5:26 pm

    Fresh vegetables straight from the garden taste nice The process of watching plants grow is a wonderful lesson😊

  2. Amanda June 26, 2021 at 11:35 am

    I support this message of more sustainable homes, more free of stress from huge bills which gives us a certain level of security. Thank you for advocating for the right to great food

    1. Annie Mpinganzima - Site Author June 26, 2021 at 8:52 pm

      yess.. cutting expenses on grocery is a gift you should give to yourself


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