A mobile garden

A mobile garden

ROMA – Have you ever thought of a garden that you can carry from one place to another?
The concept created a buzz at the recent National University of Lesotho (NUL) Expo held at Pioneer Mall in Maseru.
The idea of a mobile garden is the brain-child of Mothusi Nyofane and his friends, who are students at the NUL.
At the Pioneer Mall, most people were not only struck by the idea of a mobile garden, they were also struck by its simplicity.
First of all, it is a garden.

Yes a garden like any other garden. The difference is that this one is mobile. Normal gardens are stationary.
Suppose you live in rental houses, referred to as Malaene in Lesotho. And suppose you love gardening or you just need to feed your family at the lowest cost possible.

“In that case,” the young beaming Nyofane said, “the mobile garden is for you.”
Here is why. Such residences are known for lack of space, especially gardening space. The landlords try to squeeze as many rooms as possible to make as much money as possible.

The squeeze comes at a cost. To resident gardeners!
The mobile garden then becomes handy. Precisely because it doesn’t need much space, which is already non-existent.
‘In a very tiny space, provided by a very small bag, we are able to fit a maximum of 40 to 100 seedlings,’ Nyofane said. Now that’s huge!
“In that space, you can feed a family of five for months,” he said.

That’s what we mean by fighting food insecurity. You don’t always need complicated costly solutions.
But that’s the tip of the iceberg. Wait for more.

In a mobile garden, irrigation is simple. First you don’t need too much water. Since the major part of the soil is enclosed in a bag, evaporation of water is very low. Plus concentrating the plants in one area means you are already saving water.

Low water quantities also mean that you don’t even need to use tap water, “you just need to reuse waste water from your kitchen,” he said.
It is that simple. So next time you are on the verge of complaining about water bills, just remember these two words: Mobile Garden. It may as well be the solution you need.

Then there is the ease of management. The enclosed nature of the soil in the bag means that you won’t have too many weeds to struggle with.
Most of the unwanted plants just suffocate within the bag. Only your seedlings, which are deliberately exposed on the sides of the bags, survive.
Think about this one also.

In winter, you can move your garden with the sun. And you can shield it from the frost. In fact sometimes you can move your garden, right into your house when necessary, and to the outside when necessary. It is a mobile garden. Then comes a time when you need to move, from one residential area to another. What do you do?

You can carry your mobile garden with you! Of course that may surprise your new neighbours but, think about this, why should you leave your food behind when you move? To be eaten by strangers? Not when you have a mobile garden.

But how do these young folks do it? As we said, it is the garden’s simplicity that makes it the most interesting. They take soil, mix it with organic manure and put it in a plastic bag. But before they put the soil in the bag, they apply another interestingly simple idea. They get stones into a pipe and put the pipe in the middle of the bag.

Then they stuff the soil around the pipe. When they remove the pipe, the stones remain in the middle of the soil.
Why the stones? You may ask.

They act as an easy pathway for water, down to the very bottom. Every time you irrigate, the water distributes quite easily and quickly to all corners of the garden.

They then open holes on the side of the bags and insert the seedlings. By now, you are probably asking, why are the students doing this?
“We are not agric students,” Mothusi says.

“We are students of nutrition. Our main concern is food security because lack of food security impacts on our nutrition.”
And, by default, our health. These are the students of Mr Kebitsamang Mothibe, a NUL lecturer who is passionate about using simple solutions to address nutrition problems in Lesotho.

Now we have a question. Aren’t those tiny little mobile gardens kinda like cute? They are not just cute, they may even save your life.
Never underestimate little things, because little things are not little.

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