Urban areas are turning into concrete jungles even as more people opt to settle in towns and cities. With the cost of living soaring with inflation having hit 9.2 per cent, it is imperative for people to utilise the available spaces to produce foodstuff and survive the tough times.
Here are some top forms of utilising the small spaces around us.
Growing food in pots, containers or raised food beds is a popular method for those with limited space. This method of growing food is best suited for smaller spaces and uses waste bottles as a base to support soil. It has simple steps; first, you choose a container.
Next, you prepare the container, fill it with soil, add a good starter food, pick your plants, prepare your plants, plant then water. Ideal for kale and tomatoes.
Growing food vertically in small spaces or gardens is becoming popular. It enables maximizing the space by growing food vertically on shelves or in stacked layers.
One can cultivate a lot of plants using a very small space on the floor to support and supply the local market. It is ideal for crawling crops but can also support the likes of kale, onions and tomatoes.
This involves cultivating plants without using soil. The Latin word hydroponics means “working water.” This in essence means growing plants in nutrient-rich water as opposed to soil. It takes very limited space.
There are a couple of methods of hydroponic farming which include among others deep water culture systems, wick systems and nutrient film techniques.
This system combines both aquacultures with a hydroponics approach to growing crops whereby the nutrient-rich aquaculture water is fed to hydroponically grown plants. This method is advantageous in that it uses only 1/6 of water to grow 8 times more food per acre compared to traditional agriculture.
All-natural fertilizer source from fish waste. No reliance on mined and manufactured fertilizers. Efficient, sustainable and highly productive. A combination of hydroponics and aquaculture grows both plants and fish.
Square Foot Gardening
This method of farming involves dividing the growing space into smaller square sections to maximize space and minimize waste, and it is typically 1 foot on a side, hence the name. The aim is to assist in the planning and creation of a small but intensively planted vegetable garden.
This method is the proven, efficient, small-space way to grow vegetables which has been around for decades. With 3-inch seed/plant spacing needs, you can grow 16 plants in a 1 square-foot area.
This involves growing food on the roof of a building, taking advantage of those unused spaces and insulations. This urban agriculture type has many benefits, for instance, it can reduce the extreme heat in urban areas, feed people and help save to decrease urban poverty.
Sharing a communal space by creating a garden with others in the community, often in a park or open spaces is a very good idea. These can be done in both rural, suburban, or urban properties where designated people living in the surrounding areas can grow flowers, fruits or vegetables.
This kind of farming creates a sense of community among neighbours who are increasingly disconnected from each other. They create opportunities to provide healthy options in neighbourhoods that are often food scarce among others.
Recirculation Aquaculture Systems (RAS) Farming
The RAS approach represents a new and unique way to farm fish. RAS can save a lot of space which can be used for other profit-making activities. Instead of the traditional method of growing fish outdoors in open ponds and raceways, this system rears fish at high densities, in indoor tanks with a controlled environment.
It can allow fish to be farmed in net cages or tanks instead of open-air ponds. Recirculating aquaculture system water is constantly recirculated, reducing waste and conserving resources.
The majority of the poultry reared for meat is raised indoors in big sheds, with automated equipment under environmentally controlled conditions, which can only small spaces even in towns and cities. Chickens raised in this way are known as broilers, and genetic improvements have meant that they can be grown to slaughter weight within six or seven weeks of hatching.
Newly hatched chicks are restricted to a small area and given supplementary heating. Litter on the floor absorbs the droppings and the area occupied is expanded as they grow.
Straw Bale Gardening
This is the growing plants in bales of straw, which provide insulation, retain moisture and decompose to add nutrients to the soil. Apart from saving space, this kind of farming is advantageous in many ways which include back-saving as it has easier access or raised beds and is perfect for areas with poor soil.
It also reduces the need for weeding and minimizes the spread of pests and diseases among others.