NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
At the backyard of his house in Nairobi, Kenya’s
capital, Susan Atume has a 20-meter by two-meter garden where
she grows every vegetable she needs.
four-meter portions, the garden hosts cabbages, onions,
tomatoes, lettuce and cow peas (kunde).
She has installed a drip irrigation system on the garden,
which supplies water to the various crops every morning and
She harvests from the garden plenty enough to feed her family
"This is where all my vegetables come from.
"If I need tomatoes, they are here.
"If I need onions, I just pick them same as cabbages," she
told Xinhua recently.
The four-meter portions host 12 cabbage plants because the
crop needs huge space, 40 onion plants, 16 tomato plants and 30
"I get surplus from my garden and I am assured of quality,
that is the beauty with this farming technology," said Atume.
The businessperson is among an increasing number of city
residents who are using the urban farming technology known as
square-foot garden to grow food for subsistence and even
The gardens are not only guaranteeing families quality good
but also making them food sufficiency.
"I learnt the technology through our women group.
"We visited an agriculture training centre in Kiambu and were
taken through the steps of making the garden," she said.
The garden is made of wood placed on the sides, loam soil and
tinny pebbles to allow water penetrate the soil.
They are mixed in the ration of 3:1:1 for good results, said
The women clothes seller has been using the garden for the
last one-and-a-half years, rotating the crops on the portions to
curb pests and boost soil fertility.
"I have made great savings thanks to this garden.
"I don’t know the price of vegetables in the market currently
because I don’t buy," she said, noting 15 members of her group
in different parts of Nairobi have the gardens.
University worker William Mogire similarly uses the garden to
grow crops for commercial purposes on his eighth-acre in Kahawa
Sukari in Nairobi.
"I have made 10 square gardens on the land each hosting at
least two crops from cabbages to capsicum and traditional
"I embraced the method because it is economical in terms of
pest management, weeding, fertilizer application and water use,"
The method has enabled him to easily rotate the crops for
pest management and harvest in plenty all-year round.
"Through this method, I am able to easily calculate every
cent I use because I know each garden hosts how many crops per
"I get up to 400 U.S. dollars per square that host cabbages,"
He noted that he starts his farming by seeking market, and
once he gets, it is only then that he plants crops on the
Bernard Moina, an agricultural officer, noted that
square-foot gardens are among the best ways to farm high value
"High-value are crops that mature faster in about three
months and fetch good prices in the market.
"For instance lettuce and capsicum," he noted.
The gardens are good for space utilization in urban areas
where land is limited, according to Moina.
"Kenyans are embracing the gardens in urban areas and even in
rural areas where people are seeking modern farming methods for
higher incomes," he said.
He observed that the gardens are well-suited for urban areas
because many people don’t have a lot of time available to weed,
water and maintain a vegetable garden due to fast-life in urban
"Square-foot gardening is therefore an efficient gardening
"Others include sack gardening, which is also best-suited in
urban areas," he said.