The African Gourmet and Chic African Culture

Women micro-gardening in Africa

Micro gardening is a time-honored home garden in Africa. The micro-garden is an example of gardening in small spaces such as patios, and rooftops.

Micro Gardening for Food in Africa
Family micro gardening hot peppers in Ghana, Africa

What is micro-gardening in Africa

No space, no problem. The micro-garden is an example of a circular economy, recycling and reusing waste while producing healthy and sustainable food. Micro-gardening is cultivated small spaces such as terraces, small yards, patios, and rooftops.

Micro-gardening is quite innovative compared to traditional market gardens. Conventional gardens require more resources mainly land and water and are challenged by the effects of climate change. Micro-gardening consists of gardening on standing tables, plastic, and ceramic pots and wooden boxes are also tried-and-true containers for gardening on balconies and deck.

With a high percentage of women involved in farming, increasing land ownership issues for women has been an important focus in micro-gardening Many women micro-gardeners rely on containers such as tubs, wooden boxes, polyethylene plastic bags, clay pots, plastic pots, stone containers, milk jugs, ice cream containers, bushel baskets, barrels, trash cans, and wooden pallets. Micro-gardening techniques require low-priced equipment and use very little water.

Women micro gardening in Africa

Micro-gardening is nothing new to African woman, it has always been a way of life growing a traditional home garden of leafy vegetables, tubers, and herbs grown in simple containers or small pots. Limited income individuals and families obtain most of their nutrients from food plants, which are cheaper and more accessible than animal foods.

Micro gardening often supplements family food supplies during lean periods and can generate added income when other sources of employment and income may be limited. Women and children have historically maintained micro-gardens.

Children are often responsible for carrying water and for weeding. The role of women in micro gardening is of special importance meet their families daily needs for fresh, nutritious produce.

In addition to being responsible for producing crops on small plots of land, women, especially those who are elderly, often have good knowledge of indigenous species of green leafy vegetables; they know how to prepare them and how to preserve both seeds and produce.

Women micro-gardening strawberries in Africa
Women micro-gardening strawberries in Africa

Micro-gardening has always been an important source of food for African rural and urban individuals and families. 

In local markets, the main vendors of these crops are often women. Micro-gardening also raises the importance of reducing water requirements. This is an important consideration in rural areas and developing cities, where good quality water is often scarce and expensive.

Opportunities for earning income are also limited in a number of African countries for women. Growing your own food as much as possible makes the best economic sense. Fortunately, if properly developed, the home garden can supply a significant proportion of a household's daily food needs.

Depending on the region, the main micro gardening crops in Africa are as follows; Avocados, bananas and plantains, breadfruit, cabbage, cassava, chili peppers, citrus, garden-eggs or eggplants, groundnuts or peanuts, guavas, Irish potato, maize or corn, mangos, muskmelon, okra, onion, papaws, papayas, pumpkins, sweet peppers, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, various beans including soybeans and pigeon peas, various greens including spinach, mustard, soursop and amaranth, and yams.

Female seed angels micro gardening mother Africa

Micro home gardens for women are also becoming an increasingly important source of food and income for poor households in urban areas of Africa since the home garden has been traditionally important due to limited land availability. Within the village, the small area surrounding a house is the home garden.

Because the home garden is in the village, it is often close to a source of water, it is usually better protected from floods and wild animals than other farmland. Developing the micro home garden for food production is a very important part of attaining an adequate food supply for the female-headed household.

The micro-home garden includes all of the functions of the entire farming system. A well-developed home garden can provide enough nutritious food, including some staple foods, for all the family year-round. This also includes extra food stocks for processing and sale to obtain income, and a reserve for special occasions or emergencies.

Sometimes a staple food crop is lost in a flood, eaten by pests or reduced because the male husband farmer falls sick and cannot work for a period of time. It is easier to grow plants in large containers than small ones because large containers hold more soil, which stays moist longer and resists rapid temperature fluctuations.

Micro-gardening herbs
Micro-gardening herbs

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