Monday 30 November, 2020

8 container crops you can grow from the supermarket

Photos via Pixabay.

Photos via Pixabay.

The recent mandate to stay at home and the upheaval caused by the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has lead to a renewed focus on food sustainability and local food production.

Farmer and business owner, Hamza Ali, told Loop News he launched his Facebook page Agrination to share knowledge on farming and home gardening.

Ali, 25, who had to streamline his business somewhat while healing from recent surgery, said growing a home garden can be as easy as using seed found from produce bought at the local market or supermarket. 

Ali, who completed an MSc in Tropical Animal Science at the University of the West Indies, will be starting his M. Phil. into PhD in September focusing on local forages which can bring down feed costs for local animals.

He said spinach baghi, also known as choy baghi, is a popular choice and the focus of his study, and is a great food source. 

He also makes and sells vertical container farming systems to clients and can also do raised beds to grow herb gardens, as well as local crops.

“For Agrination, my goal is to increase accessibility to food because I believe that access to food is a right. I try to bridge the gap between farmer, home gardener and the research world because I’ve been part of all three spheres. It’s about bringing agriculture and food closer to home."

“I get calls almost every day from someone asking about different plants and how to grow them. I really like to give back because if people can grow their own food then I think that can help move us closer to food security."

“To anyone now getting into it, don’t be afraid to try new things. Stop waiting for the right time and just start doing it."

Ali shared a list of plants which can be grown in containers. which is handy for people with small living spaces:

1. Pineapples

Ali said pineapples bought from the local market or supermarket can be used to grow new plants. Simply cut off the top, leave it to dry a bit, and place in the yard. That would take about three weeks to grow into a plant. Pineapple plants take approximately 18 months before they bear fruit. 

2. Beans and peas

Ali said all unprocessed beans in the supermarket, for example, black-eyed peas, red beans, lima beans can grow into plants. They also fix their own nitrogen so they won't need a lot of additional fertiliser, and they can also grow in containers.

3. Chives (and local herbs)

Chives bought from the supermarket can easily grow into new plants. Simply cut off the roots of chives and they will grow into fresh plants. Keep them in a pot near the sun and water regularly. 

Others that grow easily include Spanish thyme and chadon beni.

4. Cucumbers

Ali said cucumbers can also be grown from the supermarket, simply save and dry the seeds from ripe cucumbers. However, he said this is not a guarantee. If in doubt, make sure to buy a packet of seeds from the local plant store. 

5. Pumpkin

Pumpkin can also easily grow from seeds when purchased at the local market or supermarket. Pumpkins, however, may need a lot of room to grow and so may be better suited to a larger backyard.

6. Watermelon

Watermelon can also be grown in one's backyard and is suited to a larger container or raised bed. Indeed you might have such a large yield you may need to sell or trade with a neighbour. 

7. Bodi

Take the seeds out and allow to dry, then place in small pots to germinate. When they develop into seedlings, transplant into large pots. Bodi should take about three months before it begins to bear.

8. Peppers

Pimento peppers, scotch bonnet and other types of peppers will easily grow from seeds and can be kept in a large pot. 

For more info visit Agrination on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AgriNationTT/  

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