Growing your own vegetable garden can do more than provide tasty produce. Gardening can improve health, save money and even boost mood.
Nyambe is a Zambian small scale farmer that never buys vegetables. She grows here own in her backyard.“I love growing my own food. And the best part is, I don’t have to worry about going to the grocery store,” says Nyambe. “My backyard garden gives me varieties of fresh veggies,” Nyambe continues.
You can’t rival the flavour of a fresh home-grown tomato straight from the vine. Their taste is far superior to the bland tomatoes offered in the supermarkets and they’re so easy to grow! Nyambe is now harvesting her tomatoes and today, she’ll give a few tips about growing tomatoes in your garden.
Tips on growing tomatoes in your backyard
“Growing your own tomatoes is simple and just a couple of plants will reward you with plenty of delicious tomatoes.” says Nyambe. She starts by planting her seeds under lots of shade for 6 weeks. “Tomatoes love a sunny location, so choose an area that allows full exposure.”
Two weeks before transplanting seedlings, she then starts to prepare her land by doing the following:
1. Select a patch in your garden with full sun and well-drained soil.
2. Till soil and mix in aged manure, compost, or fertilizer.
3. Plant seedlings about 60 cm apart and pinch off a few of the lower branches on transplants, and plant the root ball deep enough so that the remaining lowest leaves are just above the surface of the soil.
4. All tomatoes benefit from support so tie the main stem to a vertical bamboo cane or stick.
5. Water generously for the first few days and water consistently.
6. Mulch (cover the soil with hay etc) five weeks after transplanting to retain moisture.
7. Fertilize two weeks prior to first picking and again two weeks after first picking.
8. Monitor for Pests and Disease. A good rule of thumb is to check often for early signs of trouble.
If you follow these simple steps, you’ll be freezing tomatoes to eat throughout the year. And remember, not all gardens have to be large to make an impact on your health and your life.
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