Table of Contents


Acknowledgements..................................................................................................... 3 How to use this book .................................................................................................. 4

1.1 1.2

INTRODUCTION TO LIG................................................................ 5
LIG and nutrition.......................................................................................... 6 LIG in towns and cities................................................................................. 9

2.1 2.2 2.3 2.5

PLANNING .................................................................................... 10
Planning what to produce .......................................................................... 11 Finding land............................................................................................... 15 Goals for gardens ....................................................................................... 18 Developing a constitution .......................................................................... 21

3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5

DESIGNING................................................................................... 30
Efficient garden layout................................................................................ 31 Vegetable areas .......................................................................................... 37 Cropping areas ........................................................................................... 38 Integrating trees into the system ................................................................. 39 Integrating small livestock .......................................................................... 40

4.1 4.2 4.2

IMPLEMENTING ............................................................................ 43
Water-harvesting ........................................................................................ 44 Conservation farming ................................................................................. 48 Plant propagation....................................................................................... 48

5.1 5.2 5.3

MANAGEMENT ............................................................................. 53
Soil management ....................................................................................... 55 Water management.................................................................................... 59 Pest and disease management .................................................................... 60

6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4

USING THE PRODUCTS................................................................ 68
Harvesting.................................................................................................. 69 Storage ....................................................................................................... 69 Preserving food .......................................................................................... 72 Marketing produce..................................................................................... 73


...................................................................................................... 76

Appendix 1: Useful plants for urban gardens ............................................................ 78 Appendix 2: Local names of plants ........................................................................... 79 Appendix 3: Cultivation tips for garden crops ........................................................... 80 Appendix 4: Methods to control a range of pests and diseases.................................. 82

REFERENCES ...................................................................................................... 85


MDP is grateful to Anna Brazier for initially writing this booklet. The information in this booklet is based on “Growing Positively” A Handbook on Developing Low-Input Gardens published by John Snow International Europe. The information has been adapted specifically for the Cities Farming for the Future Programme as part of the training materials for farmers. The program is managed by Municipal Development Partnership for Eastern and Southern Africa (MDP-ESA) and funded by the International Development Research Center, Canada (IDRC) and Directorate-General for International Cooperation, Netherlands (DGIS). The Cities Farming for the Future (CFF) is a global programme that seeks to integrate agriculture into urban development. The Programme is coordinated globally by the Resource Centre on Urban Agriculture and Food Security (RUAF). The main objectives of this programme are to: • contribute to urban food security, • urban poverty reduction, • improved urban environmental management, • empowerment of urban farmers and • participatory city governance through capacity development of local stakeholders in urban agriculture and participatory multi-stakeholder policy formulation and action planning on urban agriculture.


How to use this book
This book aims to help people in towns and cities to grow and eat their own healthy, nutritious food using Low Input Gardening (LIG) techniques. The book is divided into six parts. The first part introduces LIG and looks at ways to help urban families particularly by improving the diet. The second part looks at how to plan a low input garden by analysing available resources and defining clear goals. The third part looks at ways to design urban gardens to save space and make the most of locally available resources. The fourth part looks at ways to start implementing a LIG garden. The fifth part describes management techniques for soil, water, plants and animals in LIG gardens. The last part looks at ways to use the garden products.





The name LIG was first used in Zimbabwe in 2003 and to date LIG gardens have been developed by thousands of householders, community groups, schools, clinics and churches in rural and urban areas. The size of a LIG can range from a small container garden to an 80 000m2 group plot. What is LIG? Low Input gardening, (LIG) is the name given to a system of crop growing that reduces: • the amount of energy you use • the amount of water and • the need to buy inputs (fertilisers, pesticides and seed). A successful low input garden produces a wide range of nutritious foods all year round to improve health, save money and generate income. Starting a LIG can help you… • improve your families’ health with a wide range of nutritious food • have more food all year round • improve your gardening skills • save money by reducing bought inputs • generate income from the sale of products • teach others how to grow healthy food • improve soil and water resources and protect the environment


LIG and nutrition

Before we decide what to grow in our gardens we need to know why we are growing it. One benefit of a LIG is that you can grow your own healthy food. Having a varied diet keeps our bodies strong and healthy. What is a healthy diet? Our body is like a machine. It needs fuel to do work. It needs special chemicals to help keep it running properly. Our body is even better than a machine because if we feed it properly it can grow and it can repair itself when it is damaged or sick. To stay strong and healthy we need to eat the right amount and the right kinds of things. The important parts of a healthy diet are proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals, water and fibre. The table below helps to explain what the different parts of our diet are used for by the body by likening our body to a homestead. Table 1.1: Important components of a healthy diet, their function in the body and their main source
Part of the diet

Function in the body

Main source. Most can be produced from gardens
Meat, eggs, yoghurt, sour milk, legumes e.g. cowpeas, nyimo beans, sugar beans, soya beans, pigeon peas, Madagascar beans. Maize, millet, sorghum, rice, wheat (flour, bread, cakes, pasta), cassava, potatoes, sweet potatoes, madhumbes. Vegetable oil, margarine, butter, peanut butter, meat, avocado, nuts and seeds. Whole grains, nuts, eggs, seeds, legumes, fish, fruit and vegetables. Different coloured fruit and vegetables. Try to eat five

Proteins are like the bricks of a house. Our body uses them to build and repair itself. Children, pregnant women and people who are sick need plenty of protein. Carbohydrates provide energy for our bodies to function. Carbohydrates are like firewood. Our bodies burn them to give us energy for living, working, thinking etc. People who use their bodies to work hard, children and sick people need to make sure they get enough carbohydrate. Fats provide a lot of energy and burn more quickly. Fat is easy to store in the body so we must be careful not to eat too much. When we eat too much carbohydrate or protein our bodies turn the extra into fat for storage. Minerals work like cement between the bricks of a house. They help strengthen important parts of our body such as our eyes our skin our bones and blood. Every home needs a watchdog. Vitamins act like a watchdog protecting our body from sickness. We need 16 different kinds of






vitamins to stay healthy. Water Fibre Like our homes, our bodies need cleaning out. Water helps dilute and wash out waste. Fibre is like a broom that sweeps away dust. It helps remove waste from our bodies.

different types of fruit or vegetable each day. Drink at least 8 cups of fresh, clean water per day. Fruit and vegetables, whole grains.

Eat many different types of food These days many people in towns eat the same food each meal and each day. The reasons for this are that in urban areas • it is harder to find a wide range of different ingredients • healthy unrefined food is less easily available • healthy food (especially meat) is more expensive • people have forgotten how to prepare healthy traditional dishes. • people eat junk food because it is more convenient and more “fashionable”. • people do not have time to prepare traditional meals. • people need food that they can easily carry to school or work • due to power cuts and lack of fuel it is hard to prepare cooked meals. Food past and present Rural Zimbabweans used to eat a rich and varied diet with over 180 traditional food plants harvested from the wild or grown in gardens. Each day people would eat an average of 150g of fibre from fruit, vegetables, root crops, legumes and unrefined grains. Traditional cooking methods used very little fat, salt or sugar. Today urban Zimbabweans commonly eat less than ten food plants (maize, rape, covo, onions, tomatoes, cabbage, tsunga and seasonally sweet potatoes, pumpkins and pumpkin leaves). We consume less than 20g of fibre per day and use unhealthy amounts of fat, salt and sugar. Overcooking and adding bicarbonate of soda destroys many of the Vitamins and minerals in fruit and vegetables. Poor modern eating habits are leading to conditions such as obesity and overweight, cancers of the digestive system, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. These were uncommon in the past


A Healthier Plate Because our bodies need so many different types of food to keep them healthy we must try to eat different types of meals with different ingredients each day. We can grow many of these healthy ingredients in our gardens. How much do we need to eat? The amount we eat depends on our age, sex and time of life. A healthy meal should be no more than 50% carbohydrate (sadza, potatoes, bread), 15% protein (meat, eggs or beans) and the rest vegetables and fruit. Each day you should drink at least 8 cups of water. Who needs a healthy diet? Everyone needs a healthy diet but some people need to take extra care to have plenty of healthy food. They include: • orphans and vulnerable children • pregnant women and breast-feeding mothers • the elderly • people who are sick especially those living with HIV and AIDS

Some healthy traditional dishes and snacks
• Cowpeas crushed, roasted and cooked (Rupiza) • Dark green vegetables (including spinach, pumpkin leaves, cassava leaves, cowpea leaves, sweet potato • • • • • •

leaves, amaranth, and black jack) cooked in peanut butter Pumpkin cooked in peanut butter (nhopi) Roasted pumpkin seeds or peanuts Sorghum or millet sadza (munga or zviyo) Mixed boiled beans and grains (mutakura) Cooked sweet potatoes, cassava and madhumbes (can also be made into chips) Brown rice with peanut butter.

We can all stay healthy by eating a varied, balanced diet to help our body stay strong to fight sickness. Eating healthy food can also make us feel energetic and positive about life.



LIG in towns and cities

People living in towns and cities live stressful, risky lives. Food, goods and services are expensive; jobs are scarce and the crime rate is high. Having so many people living close together causes health hazards and pollution. It also puts pressure on resources so that urban people face shortages of clean water, fuel for heating, lighting, cooking and transport. It is hard to form garden groups in urban areas because people come from many different parts of the country or other countries and they may find it hard to get along. Urban areas also provide opportunities. Markets are closer to producers and shoppers. This reduces transport costs. Lots of buildings, roofs and roads means that water can be collected and channelled into gardens. Waste water can be recycled. Since there is a lot of waste growers nave plenty of material for mulch and compost. Having people from different places provides new ideas and skills which can be shared.

The LIG process
Planning - analysing resources, deciding what to produce and planning how to produce it. Designing- developing an efficient garden layout which reduces inputs, energy and waste. Implementing- preparing the land, planting the crops and establishing livestock systems. Managing resources, plants and animals- looking after the water, soil, plants and animals to keep the land healthy and productive.

Urban people may find it difficult to set up a garden because of: • lack of land (small gardens, legal restrictions, restrictions by landlords) • lack of water (erratic supply, expense, water restrictions, hot dry conditions) • lack of money to buy inputs (fertilisers, seeds and tools) • theft of produce • lack of variety of crops available • lack of knowledge about how to grow different crops • pest and disease problems • poor soils These problems can be addressed by using the simple steps in the LIG process: The rest of this booklet looks at this process in more detail





Planning is a system for thinking about what we are going to do and deciding how we are going to do it.


Planning what to produce

An urban garden can produce many different things including: food, drink, leather, fur, feathers, soap, cosmetics, detergents, medicine, fuel wood, fibre, timber, plant seedlings, young animals, home-made insecticides, compost, manure and liquid fertiliser. These can be used by the family to improve the garden, improve health and save money. Any extra can be given to needy people such as the elderly, widows and orphans or sold to generate income. Apart from products which you can use or consume there are other important products from a LIG garden including: • a feeling of peace and happiness • satisfaction because you are self-sufficient • a house which is cooler in summer and warmer in winter • a pleasant place for family and friends to sit • knowledge about health and gardening which you can share with others.

Crop selection
To help you decide which crops to grow you need to find out what the crops need and what they produce. We can group crops according to their products. Table 2.1: Examples of different types of crop
Product Leaf crops Fruit crops Root crops Vine crops Legumes (beans and pulses) Grain crops Examples Tsunga, spinach, rape, covo, amaranthus, cabbage, lettuce Tomato, green pepper, chili, brinjal, gooseberry, strawberry Potato, sweet potato, cassava, madhumbe, beetroot, onion, leek, garlic Pumpkins, squash, cucumbers, melons, granadilla Groundnuts, beans, cowpeas, bambara nuts, soya beans, sugar beans, madagascar beans, pigeon peas, Maize, rice, wheat, millet, sorghum

For more detailed information on the needs and products of some useful crops for LIG gardens see Appendix 2


Some crops are easier to grow than others. Some prefer cool climates and some tolerate heat. Some need lots of water while others can stand dry periods. They all provide different nutrients. Some crops do better in winter while others grow better in summer. Some are annuals while others are perennials.
Table 2.2: Charectistics of different crops Crop characteristics Winter crops Summer crops Sun-loving Semi -shade Shade-tolerant Water-loving Drought-tolerant Heavy feeders Light feeders

cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, lettuce garlic, potatoes, onions, carrots, leeks, beetroot, maize, sweet potatoes, cucumber, pumpkin, cowpeas, brinjals, chillies, peppers, paprika, runner beans, Fruit and grain and vine crops Leaf and root crops Tumeric, madhumbe Leaf and root crops Groundnut, pigeon pea, okra, cowpea, cassava, lablab bean, sweet potato, amaranth, brinjal Fruit and vine crops Onions, garlic, leeks, carrots, beans

The type of crop that you choose to grow depends on: • The size of your land; • Water availability; • Soil type; • Time of year; Sunlight availability.

Developing a crop calendar
To help you plan which crops to grow at different times of year and to ensure that your garden stays productive all year round you can develop a cropping based on the table overleaf.


Table 2.3: Crops which can be grown in gardens at different times of year.
Food group nutrients Legumes and oil seeds (rich in bodybuilding protein and protective vitamins and minerals and some fat) Staples (rich in energy-giving carbohydrates) or Summer crops Groundnuts Roundnuts (nyimo) Cowpeas Sugar beans Green beans Winter crops Peas If water permits Year-round Perennial crops annuals Pigeon pea Madagascar beans

Irish potatoes

Fruit and vegetables rich in vitamin A

Fruit and vegetables rich in iron and calcium

Fruit and vegetables rich in vitamin C

Butternut, pumpkin watermelons, cucumber, squash dark green leafy vegetables Indigenous vegetables amaranthus, black jack, leaves of cowpea, pumpkin and cassava Gooseberries


Cassava Taro (madhumbe) Sweet potatoes sweet potatoes (especially yellow-fleshed varieties rich in vitamin A) Moringa (for consumption of leaves and green pods only)

Rape Onions Garlic

Spinach (avoid damp conditions) Kale (covo, choumolier, rugare)

Tomatoes (avoid frost)

Small fruit trees including citrus, guava, Mexican apple, banana, pawpaw, tree tomato and mulberry and indigenous varieties, Strawberries and granadillas


Small livestock needs and products Small livestock can be kept in urban areas as long as the municipal regulations are followed. If you are not sure what the regulations are you can ask at your local municipal offices. Even though chickens, rabbits and other small livestock are small they still need to be kept properly in order to stay healthy and productive. Needs of small livestock Clean, strong housing to protect them from too much sun, rain, pests and diseases and theft. Adequate food (according to the breed). Clean fresh water each day. Pest and disease control (through careful management, hygiene and vaccinations and medication). Poultry This includes chickens, duck, geese, turkeys and guinea fowl. Poultry can provide eggs, meat, feathers and manure as well as heat, pest and weed control. Because spaces in urban areas are small poultry have to be kept in secure pens and can not be left to free range. This means that proper housing and fencing must be built and the poultry will need to be fed. The choice of breed depends on which products are required. Ducks and geese need a water source such as a pond. Indigenous chicken breeds (village hens) and guinea fowl These are tough birds which are resistant to disease. They do not need specially controlled balanced feed and are good at breeding and sitting on eggs. They can be kept for both meat and eggs. The main disadvantages are that fewer, smaller eggs are produced and smaller meat birds are produced . Guinea fowl do not lay eggs all year round and they make a lot of noise especially during their breeding season. Illustration Pure breeds These come from commercial breeders or members of poultry societies and are mainly bred for show in Zimbabwe. The main aim of keeping these types of chickens would be to develop your own chicken-breeding programme. There three types: Meat breeds: such as Faverole, Dorking, Sussex, Indian Game, Cornish game Egg breeds: such as White Leghorn, Brown leghorn, Black leghorn, Ancona, Andalusian and Minorca. These eat less food than the meat breeds but produce a lot of eggs. They seldom go broody. Some lay brown eggs and others lay white eggs. Duel purpose breeds (meat and eggs): Black Australorps, Rhode Island Red. New Hampshire Reds, White Wynandotte, Orpington and Plymouth Rock. Hybrids These are produced by mating pure breed types. The meat birds have high growth rates and the layers lay large eggs all year round. But hybrids are expensive. They need expensive food and are susceptible to pests and diseases so they need expensive vaccines or medicines. They do not breed well. and are not good at sitting on eggs (brooding). The chicks do not grow up to be the same as the parent birds. They are less good at scratching than indigenous or pure breeds. Meat breeds: (Broilers) Crest broiler, Cobb, Indian River. Layers (Pullets): Harcors, Hisex, Harvest Z98 and Hyline. They take about 16 to 18 weeks to reach point of lay. Rabbits and guinea pigs These animals can provide meat, pelts and manure. They are cheaper to feed than chickens and you can grow most of their feed, even in a small garden. They require strong, secure housing and careful management if you want them to breed properly.



Finding land

It can be hard to find space to start a garden in a town or city but once you start designing you will realise that gardens don’t need as much space as you think. There are different types of gardens which can be set up in urban areas but they can be divided into individual gardens or group gardens. Urban agriculture regulations Remember that just because land is vacant and is not being used for development does not mean that anyone can grow crops on it. If you grow crops on vacant land without permission you could have the crops destroyed and you may be fined. If you do not have space to grow crops near your home you can find out what land is available for people in your community. The urban authorities have rules about which land can be used and how it can be used for cultivation. The best way to find out which land can be used and how it can be used is to visit your local municipal offices If you form a group you have a stronger chance of being allocated land. Groups can approach schools and churches in their community and ask whether land is available for gardens. Note that you will probably be asked to pay a small amount for the use of water in such places. What you are allowed to do: The city authorities like to encourage people to grow their own food in urban areas as long as they do not damage the environment, cause health problems or damage municipal or private property. Gardens on public land must be kept neat and tidy and should not obstruct pedestrians, traffic or other public activities. What you are NOT allowed to do: Burning to clear land


Fires are not permitted in urban areas. To clear land, slash or dig up seeds and make them into compost. See the section on preparing land for more ideas. Polluting Using pesticides and fertilisers in urban areas can threaten the health of people and the environment. Pesticides can get into the water system and kill fish and birds. The can also harm people who may drink the water. Fertilisers can cause water weeds to grow rapidly and choke stream and rivers. Some fertilisers also contain poisonous chemicals.

Stream bank and wetland cultivation People are not allowed to cultivate land within 30m of a stream bank because the edges of streams and rivers are delicate places. Cultivation can cause soil erosion and pollution of the water. Wetlands act as water storage systems during the dry season. Many special and protected plants and animals live on wetlands. If we cultivate here we can destroy the ability of this soil to store water. This can cause boreholes and wells in the area to dry out as well as destroying the resources for the plants and animals which live in the area. Using municipal water for gardens The Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) does not permit the use of tap water for irrigating gardens. This is because tap water is cleaned with expensive chemicals so that it is safe for people to drink. It is also because most towns and cities in Zimbabwe have severe water shortage problems. Households are allowed to use waste water for their gardens. All water from washing, bathing and other household activities can be used on gardens. Rainwater from roofs and roads may be collected for gardens.

You need to follow municipal regulations to… Dig wells Digging wells without permission is not allowed in an urban area. If you wish to dig a well or a borehole you must apply to the Zimbabwe National Water Authority. Unprotected wells can cause a drowning hazard for children and animals. Keep livestock Small livestock is permitted in urban areas but households must keep poultry, guinea pigs and rabbits in clean, hygienic, housing. Livestock must not be kept closer than 5m to a boundary so that the noise and smell does not disturb the neighbours. No more than 25 poultry birds may be kept on a property at a time. Larger animals should not be kept in urban areas. The manure of livestock should be disposed of by making it into compost or applying it to gardens so that it does not attract flies and rats. Make Compost All household, kitchen and garden waste should be disposed of properly so that rats, flies and smell are not a problem. All material which can rot (biodegadable) can be used to make compost or placed in fertility trenches or pit beds. Looking at the land Before you plan how to use your land you need to find out what resources you have. Resources are things that you can use such as water, soil, plants, the slope of the land and sunlight. To do this make a map of the area where you plan to put the garden.


A map will help you plan the layout of your garden. Mapping should be done with all of the people who are going to use the land such as a family, a school (parents, staff and students), a garden club or a community. You may be surprised at how different people notice different things about the land. Draw the map on paper. Use symbols to show different things. Pretend you are a bird in the sky. How would trees, buildings and rivers look from above? Guess the distances between things or pace them out. Use these measurements to make your map. On the map mark: • buildings, fences and boundaries • the direction the land faces (where is north, south, west or east) • the wind direction at different times of year • paths, roads and gates • existing gardens and cropping areas • landforms such as large rocks, anthills and slopes • vegetation -large trees and useful plants • water sources e.g. taps, gutters, rivers, wells, bore holes, dams • different soil types, capped soil, gullies and any other problems • areas affected by frost. Use the map to help you see what problems exist in your land, what resources are available and how you can improve the land. See the section on designing your garden.



Goals for gardens

A goal is something you aim to achieve. Before you begin to grow things you need to decide what you want to achieve from your garden. For a household garden talk about what you value about your land with your family, friends or community. Next list what you want to produce from the land. Remember that if you want to keep your garden going for many years you need to protect and improve the land and this can be part of your goal. Example of goals for a household garden We want to: • produce healthy nutritious food all year round to feed the family • produce enough to be able to sell a surplus • conserve and manage our soil and water resources so that we can use the land productively for years to come • sell surplus produce and grow seedlings to generate an income. Group gardens Group gardens can be very beneficial but they also have problems because large numbers off people often have different plans, ideas and needs. To help reduce problems the group must be well organised and have good communication between members of the group and the leaders of the group. To do this it is a good idea to select a management committee for the group and to develop a
constitution for the group which everyone agrees to. Forming groups

Examples of groups are: youth groups, womens’ groups, groups of elderly people, groups supporting orphans and vulnerable children, parents of disabled children or groups of home-based care volunteers.


Groups usually start with a small number of friends or family. Before making the group bigger decide how many people and what kinds of people you would like to join the group. How are you going to make sure that everyone is going to work hard for the group? Invite others to join the group by putting up an advert on the notice board at a local community centre, clinic, supermarket or church.

Example of an advert To all Mothers who enjoy gardening Come to a meeting at Mbare Baptist Church On Friday 17th October at 4.30pm to find out about joining our gardening group

Table 2.4: Different types of gardens
Type Group gardens e.g. allotments, community centre gardens, garden at schools, churches or on vacant land. Advantages • People with no land can have a garden at a school, church or on municipal land. If members move house the garden can stay in the same palace. Many people can use the garden Many people can use the same water source and fencing. Environmental management is simpler. Members learn to work together and help each other. Inputs can be bought cheaply in bulk. Large amounts of crops can be produced. Marketing, transporting and processing of produce is more easily organised. Fewer people taking decisions so the garden is quicker and easier to manage. Gardens tend to be sheltered and fenced with walls for climbing plants. Water harvesting may be done off roofs. Livestock may be kept to improve the soil and control pests. Crops can be protected from theft and destruction. Householders make sure that no dangerous chemicals are used. Disadvantages • • Some member don’t work hard and this can effect the rest of the garden. If some members use pesticides or fertilizers it effects the beds of those who do not want to use chemicals. If many people are using the garden each individual may only get a small space. Gardens may be far from people’s homes. They can be expensive to set up. They can suffer from vandalism and other problems related to jealousy from those who are not members. Members may argue with each other It may take a long time to make decisions. Groups may become labeled by others in the community.

• • • • • • • •

• • • •

• • •

Individual gardens

e.g: household • gardens • balcony gardens, • roadside gardens
• •

• • • • • • •

Some households have very little space for gardens. Some household gardens are too shady. Lodgers often move house so can not have a garden. Lodgers have to get landlords permission for a garden. Water shortages and restrictions can be a problem as these gardens use tap water. Fewer people use the garden so there are less people to help, learn with and share ideas with. If two or more families share a house, there can be competition over gardens.


Once the group is formed you need to try to find some land using the steps given above. At the first group meeting help the members of the group get to know each other and learn to trust each other. It will be hard to select a committee until people know each other better. In the mean time choose one person who can write quickly and neatly to be the reporter for the meeting. The person who had the first idea to start the group can volunteer to chair the initial meetings until a committee has been set up. Goals for groups To help the group develop clear goals ask every one in the group to list what they value. A value means something which you care a lot about. If everyone can read and write then these can be written on separate papers. Alternatively people can call out their values and the reporter can write it all down. If you like you can score the values by listing values and getting each person to tick the ones which they care about. This will show which values are most popular in the group.

Table 2.5: Examples of different values Value Money Good health Love Fresh air Nice clothes Family Church Music Peace and quiet Education Friendship Knowledge Sport Excitement My home My job Good food My children

Score – number of people who chose this value 10 8 6 1 4 7 5 5 1 5 7 2 8 1 4 6 3 6

By looking at the values you can start to define goals for the garden which will relate to the most popular values. Each group member should list what they want to produce from the garden. Example: a vision for a youth group In 5 years time we would like to see every space in the garden filled with a wide range of healthy productive crops. The soil will be brown and fertile. Everyone will have enough water for their needs. There will be few pests and diseases. Each member of the group will be healthy and prosperous. The group leaders will make decisions based on the ideas and needs of the whole group. Disagreements will be solved by good communication and respect for each other. Everyone in the group will work hard to make the garden a success.


Example of goals for a school garden We want to: • produce healthy nutritious food all year round to feed disadvantaged students. • encourage all of the staff and students to benefit from the garden. • avoid stigmatising disadvantaged students. • produce an excellent example of low input gardening which we can use to demonstrate techniques to all those from the community who are interested. • propagate seedlings, fruit trees, herbs and other useful plants to generate income and help others start gardens at their homes. Group vision Next discuss how you would like to see the land you are using in 5 years time and how you would like to see the group functioning in five years time. You can use general ideas about the land, the crops, the soil, the water and the people. You can write your vision down on a piece of paper. Each year have a meeting to look at the vision and discuss whether or not it has changed.

Assumptions and risks Sometimes a group may not succeed in achieving all of its goals. This can be disappointing for the members and can be reduced by thinking about what could go wrong when setting up the garden. For each goal look at what you have assumed (expected) will happen in order to be able to achieve the goal. Then list any risks (problems which could occur) which are involved in trying to achieve the goal. For example if one goal is to keep chickens your assumptions may be: that you can afford to buy the food, that you will be able to get permission from your landlord to keep chickens and that you will be able to learn how to keep chickens. The risks involved in this goal could include: the chickens dying from a disease.


Developing a constitution

Once you have agreed on your goals and vision and have thought about the assumptions and risks you can now begin to develop a constitution for the group. A constitution is a list of guidelines about how the garden and the group should be managed which every member of the group agrees to. The constitution should include information about how many members can join the group, the membership fee, how the membership fee and any other money raised is to be used, how often meetings should be held, who should attend the meetings, how the land is to be divided up, how the produce is to be divided up, the roles and responsibilities of the management committee and some rules about how the land is used. Here is an example of part of a constitution for a group.
Chengeta Garden Group Constitution 1. The group shall have no more than 40 members. All members shall be widows or widowers. 2. Each member shall pay a joining fee which shall go towards stationary for meetings. In addition members will pay a quarterly fee for security and an annual fee for seed purchases. These amounts will be agreed at the monthly group meetings. 3. The management committee shall be run by a chairperson, vice chair person, secretary, treasurer, security guard and four animators. These positions will be elected at the annual general meeting. 4. Each member shall be entitled to four beds. The space along the fence line for trees and creepers shall be divided up equally among the members. The members will plant crops according to the group crop rotation plan. Group members will be responsible for watering their own beds. A roster will be set up for members to help those who are too sick or too elderly to work. 5. No toxic pesticides or fertilisers shall be used in the garden. Pest control and soil improvement shall be done using home-made sprays, fertilisers and compost.


Defining roles
The garden committee should be elected by the members of the group and should meet once per month to help plan the garden. All discussions and decisions made at the meetings must be recorded by the secretary and these minutes of the meeting should be available for all of the group members to read. To avoid conflicts the management committee should be clear and transparent about their decisions and should also be prepared to hear the point of view of all members in the group. The success of the group depends upon the good communication skills of the management committee. Before electing the committee members it is important to look at the different responsibilities and qualities of the committee members. This will help the group to choose the right people for the different jobs:

Table 2.6: Different roles, responsibilities and qualities for a garden committee Position Responsibilities Good qualities or skills for this person to have Chairperson Main leader and organiser of the Well organised, good listener, good group. Must hold monthly communicator, able to resolve arguments between meetings and call a general members, able to help all agree and be heard meeting with all members once during the decision-making process. A person with per year. a passion and vision for the garden group. A strong but respectful leader. Secretary Taking records of all meetings, Well organised, good at writing quickly and helping to organise meetings, clearly. Good at record keeping. Able to deliver helping to inform members notices of meetings to members. about meetings. Treasurer Keeping all financial records, Honest, reliable, efficient, skilled or experienced in presenting financial reports at bookkeeping meetings. Opening an bank account Animators Keeping the group motivated Good communicator, energetic, training skills, and enthusiastic

School gardens Schools in urban areas have a great potential for establishing gardens. Most schools have:


• • • •

large areas of land good security established gardens and orchards an enthusiastic community (parents, teachers and staff)

Schools can benefit from gardens by providing • practical examples of topics taught in home economics, environmental science, agriculture and many other subjects. • extra nutritious food for staff, students and parents • income generation from garden products • improvement of environmental resources through better management of grounds To help avoid problems make sure that: • All those (children, staff, parents and any others) who work the land are involved in planning how the land should be used, designing the land and sharing the products. • Students don’t view the work as manual labour. Never make garden work a punishment for bad behaviour. Avoid making students work in the garden during the hottest time of day. • Vulnerable, sick or orphaned children who work in the garden not being teased by others. Form a gardening club or NRM club, which is fun to belong to. • The children understand how the practical topics link to their classroom subjects and see how gardening skills can benefit them as adults. • Children are encouraged to manage the garden as a real business.

• • •

Developing an action plan
Review the goals. List activities that will need to be implemented in order to achieve the goals and solve the problems. Next list the resources (tools, money, materials) you need in order to implement the activities.


• •

Then state who will be in charge of implementing the activities. Give a time frame for the activity including realistic deadlines for completion of activities. Note that some activities are ongoing.

Garden activities Here are some common activities which need to be carried out in a garden. Establishing a nursery for vegetables, fruits and other useful plants Propagating plants Preparing the land for crops and demonstrations Planting crops Making water-harvesting structures Planting windbreaks and live fences Constructing paths Building livestock housing Weeding, pruning and trellising Improving soil fertility and texture Irrigating and general water management Controlling pests and diseases Coordinating and managing the activities Keeping records of all activities Monitoring activities


Table 2.7: Example of an action plan for a new garden Activity Resources Person responsible Establishing the Poles, grass, nails, Mrs Maposa nursery tools Planting seeds in containers, soil, Group containers compost, seeds, tools members Constructing Wire, poles, strainer Mr Rugare fences Planting tree seedlings, tools Mrs Chirenje windbreaks Making water- Tools, string, A-frame Mr Rugare harvesting structures Preparing beds Tools, string Group and paths members Making compost Organic material, Mrs Maposa manure, tools, water Mulching Organic material Mr Rugare Planting cold Tools, seeds, Group season crops seedlings, (potatoes, members onions, peas, cauliflower) Planting hot Seeds(cucumber, Group season crops eggplant, pumpkin), members seedlings, tools Pruning Tools Mrs Chirenje Taking cuttings Tools, plant sleeves, Mrs Maposa potting soil Cleaning out Wheelbarrow, clean Mr Rugare livestock units straw, fork Planting fruit Seedlings, water, Mrs Chitima trees compost, tools

Time-frame J F M A x x x x x









x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x








x x x x x x x x

x x x

x x x x x x x x x x x x

Developing a budget A budget is a plan to help you work out how much money you need to spend for a project. Steps to develop a budget: • Define a clear goal for example, “I want to produce 20 bunches of onions to sell at the market.” • List the resources and inputs that you will need to buy in order to carry out the project such as tools, seed, fertiliser, water and transport costs. • Write the costs of each item in a column next to the item. Multiply this cost by the number of items you need. • Add the total.
Table 2.8: Example of a budget
Input Hoe Watering can Onion seed Chicken manure Bus fair Plastic packets Total number 1 1 3 20 g packets 5 buckets 4 trips to town 60 Cost per item $ 50 000 80 000 5 000 3 000 1 000 50 Total $ 50 000 000 80 000 000 15 000 000 15 000 000 4 000 000 3000 000 167000 000

This shows approximately how much money will have to be spent but in a real project you will often find that extra expenses which you were not expecting occur. Income and expenditure In order to find out whether your project is succeeding it is very important to keep clear records especially of things which cost or make money. The money that you make from selling your produce


is called income. Your income should always cover the expenses (the money that you spend on inputs). Recording inputs and expenses helps you to see how much money you are making (profit) from a garden and where you can save money.

Table 2.9: Example of income and expenditure records for a group garden
Number Inputs for the garden January Seedlings Seed Tools Manure Total expenditure on inputs Outputs for the garden this month Produce harvested 5 trays tomatoes, 6 trays spinach, 4 trays covo 10g onion, 10g carrots 1 pick, 1 hoe, 1 watering can 50kg chicken manure Amount $ $1400 000 $250 000 $500 000 Donation $2150 000 20 bundles spinach 8 bundles rape 18 cabbages 5 buckets tomatoes 5 buckets onions 5 buckets carrots 5 bundles spinach 3 bundles rape 3 buckets tomatoes 2 buckets onions 3 bundles spinach 1 bucket tomatoes 20 moringa Comment

Produce sold

Sold to supermarket

$5500 000

Produce donated to orphanage Seedlings

$500 000

Sold to primary school

Total income Profit = income – expenses = 6000 000 – 2150 000 Total made 3950 000

$6000 000



Garden monitoring and evaluation
Through out the year you need to check up on the garden to make sure that it is healthy and productive. In group gardens this helps you to see which members may need extra help, which plants need extra water of soil improvement and which plants are being attacked by pests and diseases. Keeping records It is important to keep records of poultry. You will notice with layers that egg production is lower during the cold dry season. Records will also help you to see if egg production has reduced for some other reason. Records include Poultry record register, Feed register, Egg production records, Broiler sales records.

Table 2.10 Egg production and sales record
Date 10.02.07 11.02.07 12.02.07 Inputs 10kg feed 200g vaccine Amount spent $ 200 000 500 000 No of laid 15 12 12 eggs Number sold 8 8 10 Price per egg $ 1000 1000 1200 Amount received $ 8000 8000 12000

Table 2.11 Broiler production record – income and expenses
Date Inputs Amount spent $ Number finished broilers sold 43 36 Amount received $ 516000 1620000

06.03.07 09.03.07 09.03.07 20.04.07 03.05.07 11.05.07 15.06.07 25.06.07

2 x 20kg bags of feed 50 chicks vaccine 4 x 20kg bags of feed 2 x 20kg bags feed 50 chicks 2 x 20kgbags of feed 2 x 20kg bags of feed

500 000 700 000 300 000 3200 000 1300 000 1500 000 2500 000 3200 000

28 35 50

1200000 1858000 2350000

Gross profit = returns from sales – input costs (including, chicks, feed, labour, electricity, vaccines, medication)

You can also keep records of problems and activities which occur during the month. Specific activities which need good records to be kept are nursery and small livestock projects. Table 2.12: Example of activities and problems records
Number of visitors to garden Main activities this month Problems experienced this month Anything else you would like to note 14 2 compost heaps made. Beds mulched Aphids eating carrots Cutworm attacking covo seedlings Produce stolen More sesbania seed needs to be sourced for planting next month. Comment Garden group Baptist Church from

Treated with ash Made pawpaw spray

Garden Monitoring should be carried out every three to four months. At the end of the year these records can be compared to see how the garden has progressed . The following checklists can be used to make sure that

the correct steps have been taken to set up the garden. and to monitor the garden.


Table 2.13. Checklist to monitor garden establishment
Planning and design checklist Clear goals for garden listed (goals should include nutrition and sustainable resource management) Group gardens run by a management committee with clearly defined roles and a constitution Available resourced assessed, opportunities and challenges addressed Garden layout designed to maximize use of resources and reduce energy inputs Garden action plan developed with activities, persons responsible, resources required and time schedule for activities listed Planting calendar developed Tick box if completed

Table 2.14. Checklist to monitor garden management
Soil management Regular use of well-made compost Regular use of animal manure or plant fertilizers Crops in beds inter-planted with legumes Minimum tillage techniques used Crop rotation used Water management Use of mulch Use of plant stacking (plants of different heights and shapes grown together to maximize use of space and light) Use of windbreaks Evidence of water harvesting Use of water-conservation techniques such as bottle-watering and grey water Natural pest and disease control Maintenance of health and general conditions of plants Evidence of appropriate watering and soil-improvement techniques Use of trellising and leaf pruning on relevant crops Intercropping with repellent plants Evidence of useful insects and other animals (predators) Use of barriers or traps around plants to prevent pests Plant propagation Use of protected nursery or seedbeds Seedlings being planted continuously to replace those harvested from the garden Condition of soil for seedlings Use of protection for transplanted seedlings Crops grown at the correct time of year

Score from 1-5 where 1 is poor and 5 is good





Most gardens in towns and cities do not have a lot of space but through careful planning you can still grow a lot of crops.


Efficient garden layout

Before you begin planting or even preparing beds it is important to think about how to layout the beds, trees, compost heap, nursery and any other elements in the garden in order to save space and labour. In group gardens this is particularly important to make sure that all members have enough space to produce as many crops as possible. Designing on slopes When it rains water flows downhill and if soil is not protected the water can take the fertile top soil with it. If you do not have a flat piece of land you need to carefully plan about how to layout your garden to avoid soil erosion and to channel rain water so that you get the most of it.
• • • • • • •

Beds should be made at right angles to the slope. Fields should be prepared with contour ridges. On steep slopes terraces should be made using stones or logs to hold the soil. Compost heaps should be made at the top of the slope to reduce carrying. Ideally the garden should be down hill from the water source (tap, well or borehole) to reduce labour. Frost sensitive plants (such as bananas, pawpaws and tomatoes) should be grown higher up the slope as frost tends to form at the bottom of slopes. Plants which like well drained soil (most vegetables and fruit trees) should be grown higher up slopes as soil at the base of slopes can become waterlogged. Water-loving plants such as bananas, sugar cane, rice and yams (madhumbes) grow well on waterlogged soil.

Intercropping One of the most useful gardening systems for urban areas is intercropping. Intercropping means planting many different types of plants together in the same bed or row. Intercropping has many advantages.



Table 3.1: Advantages of intercropping
Intercropping helps you Reduce labour Save space Improve soil fertility Conserve moisture Reduce pests and diseases Because… All the crops close together so you don’t have to walk so far, carry water or manure so far. Many crops are in one bed instead of only one Not all crops need the same nutrients so the soil does not become exhausted. Planting legumes such as beans with other crops helps improve fertility. Low growing plants cover the soil and reduce evapouration Pests breed when they have a large area of their favourite type of crop growing. If many different crops are growing in a bed pests get confused. Diseases prefer plants of the same family. If you mix the different plant families in different rows the diseases will not be able to spread. Because there are so many crops in each bed there is no space for weeds.

Control weeds

Shapes of beds You can increase the amount of space available for growing things by changing the shape of your beds. Straight rows in rectangular beds take up a lot of space but do not provide a lot of space for plants to grow. By making lobes or zigzag-shaped beds you can grow a lot more plants in the same space. Reducing the numbers of paths in your garden will also give you more space for growing plants.


A space saving layout. Using intercropping, improved bed lay-out and by integrating trees gardens can become highly productive.

Sun traps Lack of space also often means lack of light. Most crops need sunny positions. One way to make sure that all of the plants in a small garden get enough light is to plant the taller plants (such as tomatoes, brinjals, okra or climbing beans on the south side of beds and plant smaller plants (such as lettuce, bush beans, carrots and onions) on the north side. The same principle can be used for fruit trees on larger pieces of land. In a small garden avoid planting any shady trees on the north side of your plot.


You can also take advantage of the light reflected off walls to plant sun-loving crops (such as maize, pawpaws, bananas, tomatoes and herbs) next to buildings.

Plant stacking The different shapes of crops can help you to use the most space in beds. By organising your plants according to their different shapes you can make sure that more things fit into the bed. Tall thin plants such as carrots, leeks, onion and garlic can be grown next to wide low growing plants such as lettuce, bush beans or spinach.


Using vertical space Another way to save space in an urban garden if you run out of space on the ground and to go upwards by making use of walls and roofs. Many types of plant can be grown in hanging containers on walls. Stepped beds and herb spirals can also be made to save space.

Container gardening Growing vegetables in containers has many advantanges. The plants get more moisture since the soil in a container stays wet for longer. It is also easy to feed the soil in a container by using mulch or liquid manure. Sack gardens have the added advantage that weeds can be controlled. Small holes are cut in the top of the sack so that only the herb plants have enough light to grow. Containers are portable so if you are a lodger you can move your garden if you have to move house. Containers also mean that even flat-dwellers who have balconies can grow food.


For added pest control a strong-smelling herb should be planted in the container with the vegetables. Keep herb containers near the house to help repel flies and mosquitoes. Herbs in containers can also protect nursery seedlings from pests.


Vegetable areas

Vegetable gardens can be kept going all year round to give the family high-value food rich in vitamins and minerals. Vegetables also fetch a high price so are a good income generating activity. All vegetables can be preserved through drying. This means they can be stored and eaten throughout the year. Tips Grow climbers such as e.g. granadilla, pumpkins, chouchou and grape on fences, walls and car ports. • Grow vegetables and herbs in keyhole beds, pit beds, fertility trenches or container-gardens. • Plant tall shady plants on the south-side of the garden. Keep the north free of trees to give your plants more sun. • Reduce the size and number of paths. Use stepping stones for weeding and harvesting. • Small fruit trees such as pawpaws, bananas, citrus, tree tomatoes, guavas and citrus, can be grown close to buildings without damaging them. Use bottle watering or drip irrigation to save water. Make a protected seedbed or nursery in a shady, sheltered place close to a tap. Plant big bushy herbs in containers, along paths or on boundaries and cut them back. Plant soil improving plants and small fruit trees between beds. Prune trees if they cause too much shade. Use the clippings for mulch, livestock fodder or compost. Make a compost area. If you do not have space, make pit beds in the garden to use up household waste. •

• • • • •


Table 3.2. Useful crops for vegetable areas (see appendix for more information on each plant) Soil improving groundcovers for Peas, beans, cowpea, bambara groundnuts, peanuts, comfrey, planting beneath sunnhemp, other crops Nutritious groundcovers for Sweet potatoes, pumpkins, cape gooseberry planting beneath other crops Pest control plants for growing on Marigolds, garlic, onions, chillies, basil, marjoram, chives, the edge of gardens elderflower, sunnhemp, lemon grass, fennel, milkweed. Climbing crops for walls and Beans (especially Madagascar beans,) pumpkins, oyster nut, fences passion fruit, kiwi fruit, grape, chouchou, loofah


Cropping areas

During the rainy season you can get permission from the municipality, churches, schools or community centres to cultivate unused land for maize and other rainy season crops. Maize is a heavy feeder and is hard to grow without fertilizer. Try planting some sorghum and millet with maize in case the maize crop fails. Plant soil improving plants (especially cowpeas or soya beans) beneath the maize to give extra nitrogen. Densely planted groundcover crops such as beans and pumpkins will also help reduce the number of weeds in the maize area. Feed the maize with animal manure, compost and liquid manure. Soil and water management • Avoid annual ploughing. Use minimum tillage or conservation farming methods (see the soil management section). • Harvest water and protect your soil with swales, pits, and planting on contour (see the water management section). • Plan paths carefully to avoid soil erosion. • Protect stream banks and vlei areas by planting indigenous trees, sugar cane, bananas and sesbania. Where there is plenty of water, such as near a vlei or well, plant madhumbes, pumpkins, sugar cane, banana, wild rice and sweet potatoes. • Inter crop maize and other grains with groundcovers such as cowpeas, pumpkins and soya beans.

Windbreaks Make windbreaks around your cropping area to protect crops vegetables from livestock, wind, frost fire, the sun’s heat, pests and disease. Use perennials such as cassava, pigeon pea, moringa, indigenous fruit trees, vetiver grass and soil improvers such as sesbania, leucaena or acacia.
Illustrations: Example of a cropping area design Surround the cropping area with useful trees, such as sesbania and moringa, bushes such as pigeon pea and cassava and bunch grasses such as vetiver to provide shelter and reduce erosion. Intercrop maize or other grains such as sorghum and millet with beans, cowpeas, groundnuts or bambara groundnuts and pumpkins. These groundcovers protect the soil, conserve moisture and smother weeds. In addition the legumes help improve the soil fertility.



Integrating trees into the system

Trees can be extremely useful even in a small garden. Products from trees include: food, shade, shelter from wind, soil improvement, poles, fuel wood, medicine, rope, compost material and food for livestock. Trees grow more slowly than other crops but they provide products for many years and need less care and maintenance than other crops. Table 3.3: Some useful trees for urban gardens: Soil improving trees for planting Sesbania sesban, Acacia spp., leucaena leucocephala between beds and on boundaries Food trees Moringa Small fruit trees Citrus, coffee, pomegranate, banana, tree tomato, pawpaw, guava, fig, feijoa Tall fruit trees for the south-side Avocados, cashew nuts, pecan nuts, macadamia nuts, mangos, mexican apple, litchis, loquats Stone fruits for cool frosty areas Peaches, plums, apples, apricots, nectarines Windbreaks/ live fence plants Sesbania, acacias, leuceana, sugar cane, bana grass, pigeon for the edge of gardens pea, cassava, moringa, jatropha, elderflower, mulberry. Fruit tree areas Plant fruit trees along boundaries of your garden. Indigenous fruit trees can be grown in the cropping area on contours between maize or as part of your windbreak. Some trees grow slowly, but grafted varieties and tree tomatoes usually fruit after one or two years. Table 3.4 years fruit trees take to bare fruit Tree Pawpaw Banana Tree tomato Guava Citrus Mango Years to bare fruit after planting 1 1 1 2-3 4-6 5-7




Saving space and resources • If you have space, grow large shady trees such as avocados and mangos on the south-side. Plant smaller fruit trees such as guavas, citrus and bananas around buildings on the west and east side. • Keep the north-side free of trees to allow light into your garden. • Plant herbs, groundcovers and soil improvers around fruit trees. • Use movable chicken or rabbit units to control weeds, pests and diseases, and improve the soil around fruit trees.

Table 3.5 Useful crops for tree areas (see appendix for more information on each plant) Soil improvers/ Cowpea, comfrey, sunnhemp, cowpea, bambara groundnuts, groundcovers to plant peanuts, velvet bean, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, melons, gooseberry under trees Pest control plants Marigolds, lavender, rosemary, elderflower, sunnhemp, lemon grass, to plant under trees zumbane, tephrosia, African wormwood Woodlots On larger pieces of land woodlots of useful trees can be planted to provide poles, timber and fuel wood. They also act as shelter belts, windbreaks, fire retardants and security boundaries to livestock and theft. Woodlots are ideal for practicing beekeeping. Table 3.6 Useful plants for the woodlot area Trees for woodlots acacia, albizia, casuarinas, grevillea, rubber hedge, erythrina, carissa, dovyalis, lannea, jatropha, sesbania, leuceana, pigeon pea, cassava, moringa.


Integrating small livestock

Small livestock include small animals such as rabbits, poultry, guinea pigs, fish and bees which are kept for meat, eggs and other products. They provide protein-rich food products and can help generate income. They also produce manure and they can be used to control weeds pests and diseases in the garden. Deep litter system Broilers or hens can be kept in specially-built sheds. They should have good ventilation and daylight. Production of the birds can be increased by giving them extra light with electric bulbs. The floor of the shed should be covered with clean, fresh, dry straw which is changed daily to avoid pest and disease build-up. Kitchen scraps can be thrown to these birds to supplement their feed. Egg laying hens need to have next boxes provided. Home grown feeds If you have space you can grow your own crops to make poultry feed. Layers mash can be made from a mixture of cracked maize, sorghum, millet, soya beans, cow peas, pigeon peas, sunflower seeds and wood ash. Half of the above should be ground and the other half given whole to aid digestion. Chicks should get only ground mash as they can suffer from blocked crop if they eat large seeds. You should supplement this with green weeds and kitchen scraps. One chicken eats about 90 grams of feed per day. For extra protein collect earthworms, termites, slug and snails in buckets each morning and feed them to chickens. To avoid the risk of spreading serious diseases, never feed poultry on meat from dead birds. Also avoid feeding them: fruit peels, banana skins, salt, soda, soap, tealeaves or coffee grounds. Chickens must have plenty of clean, fresh water every day.


Mobile chicken units Mobile chicken units are good for chickens and good for the garden. The units should be large enough to give space for the chickens both horizontally and vertically. Chickens like to perch at night so perches should be made for them.

Illustrations of mobile chicken unit.
Poultry rotation system Poultry can be kept in rotation with crops, vegetables or fruit trees. They can be used to clear, prepare and improve the soil for vegetables, crops and fruit trees. The area is divided into paddocks using fencing. Fruit trees are planted in the paddocks and are protected while they are young using fencing. Crops are planted between the fruit trees. The poultry are kept in the first paddock. Once the crops have been harvested from the second paddock, the poultry are moved into the second paddock. Crops are now planted in the first paddock where the poultry have eaten all of the weed seeds and any insects and have covered the soil with manure. The main disadvantage of this system is that a lot of money has to be spent on fencing.

Rabbit units Rabbits must be protected from heat and direct sun. They need well-ventilated housing with shelter from wind and rain. Rabbits tend to gnaw on any part of their housing so be careful not to build the housing from toxic materials such as wood containing toxic glues or painted with creosote or asbestos. Each rabbit needs one cubic metre of space - slightly more for a mother (doe) with babies (kittens). Males (bucks) have to be kept in separate housing from does and kittens. When it is time to mate take the doe to the buck. The housing must be raised off the ground or floored with wire mesh so that they can not escape. You can make movable rabbit units similar to movable chicken units with a wire floor. Rabbit hutches may be made raised off the ground to make harvesting of manure easier. Some people make rabbit hutches raised above chicken units so that the excess manure can fall through the floor and feed the chickens.

Illustration of different types of rabbit housing.

Feeding rabbits


Rabbit pellets may be bought but these are expensive and not always available. You can feed rabbits on a wide variety of vegetable matter including weeds, green leaves including grass, sweet potato leaves, banana leaves and chouchou leaves, root crops such as carrots, radishes, dandelions, and fruit crops such as chouchous, pumpkin or butternut peels and pawpaws. Left-over maize meal porridge and stale bread are good for fattening rabbits. Do not feed them potato, tomato or spinach leaves, dried grass or dry leaves as they may cause the animals to become sick. Give rabbits plenty of clean fresh water.





The first step in preparing the land once the layout of the garden has been planned, is to put in structures to control the effects of water flowing across the land and to sink water into the soil where it can be beneficial to plants.



Water harvesting means collecting rain water that is running off a surface such as a field, roof or road in order to • protect the soil by reducing erosion from run-off; and • collect and/or sink rainwater for use by plants and people Hold a meeting with the community to develop a plan to protect the whole catchment area (all the water flowing into streams and rivers and underground stores) to avoid damage to surface and underground water stores. Water-harvesting principles • Use all moisture for maximum production. • Start at the top of the slope – use swales and terraces to slow, spread and sink water. • Define paths clearly to control the movement of people and other animals. • Make strong spillways to protect water harvesting structures from floods. • Keep ditches, drains and dams silt-free. • Reduce bare soil by growing ground-cover crops and using mulch. Harvesting water from roofs, gutters and roads. Water from roofs, roads and gutters can be harvested by trenches channelled into pits. Grow water loving plants around the edge of the pit. Make pit beds in the vegetable garden and around the house to get rid of waste and to harvest water.


Systems for trees A net and pan system can be used to harvest water into the tree holes. Use half-moon ridges in small beds and for individual trees.

Swales Swales are a useful type of contour ridge which can be made in fields to sink water into the ground. A swale is a ditch-and-bank system, dug on a contour. The ditch collects and sinks run-off water into the soil. Before you make swales, peg out the contours of the slope using an A-frame. The steeper the slope, the closer together the swales should be. Make strong spillways so that the swale bank is not damaged during floods. Plant soil-improving trees and shrubs and bunch grasses such as vetiver, napier and elephant grass on the swale banks or terrace walls. Dig pits at intervals along the swale to sink more water into the soil. In dry areas, make the pits larger and closer together. Build terraces on very steep slopes so that the vegetable beds are level. Terraces may need reinforcing with stones.


How to make and use an A-Frame
Materials: Find two long, stiff poles (about 2m) and one short stiff pole (about 1m). Attach the poles using wire or string to make an A-shape. Tie a 1m long string to the top of the A-frame. Attach a stone to the bottom of the string so that the string crosses the short centre pole.

Take the A-frame to an area of sloping ground. Place one leg higher up the slope than the other. Call the higher leg A and the lower leg B. Mark the position of the legs on the ground with stones. Mark the point where the string crosses the centre pole of the A-frame with a pen or knife. Now turn the A-frame around so that leg A is downhill from leg B. Mark the new point where the string crosses the centre pole. Mark the point halfway between the two points on the centre pole. This is the level point. At the area you want to survey, collect wooden pegs or stones to help you mark out the contour. Place the A-frame on the ground. Mark the position of leg A with a peg or stone. Move leg B until the string passes through the level point on the centre pole of the A-frame. Now mark the position of leg B. Keeping leg B in its position, swing leg A round until the string touches the level point on the centre pole. Now mark the position of leg A. Keep moving the A-frame across the slope and marking the position of the legs when the string touches the level point. This will give you an accurate contour line.


Streambanks and wetlands Remember it is illegal to cultivate areas within 30metres of a stream bank or a wetland (vlei, dambo). Protect stream banks and wetlands by planting indigenous trees, sugar cane, banana and sesbania along them. Where there is plenty of water, such as near a wetland or well, plant taro, pumpkins, sugar cane, bananas, wild rice and sweet potatoes. Repairing compaction Bare soil can be damaged by wind, rain and the traffic of people and livestock. A hard cap forms on the soil surface, which must be broken before crops will grow. Push a garden fork deep into the soil and move it from side-to side to make holes for the air to enter the soil. Do this over the whole area. Planting crops such as sweet potatoes and cassava help to open up compacted soil. Garden beds The shape of bed depends on how much space you have. Different shaped beds can be used to save space and to harvest water. Beds should be raised on heavy soil. Beds on sandy soil can be sunk to save water.



Conservation farming

Soil is formed in layers. If we disturb these layers by ploughing or turning the soil, we can damage the structure of the soil, which makes it harder for the soil to store nutrients. It also makes the soil susceptible to erosion. Ploughing also destroys organic matter in the soil. Soils with low organic matter become less fertile and are more likely to be eroded and suffer pest attack. Conservation farming involves preparing field without using a plough or turning the soil. 1. Preparing the land In September/ October: Clear the land of plants and roots by slashing and digging (not burning). Any crop residues should be knocked flat and left on the surface of the soil. All weeds should be made into compost. On slopes, contour ridges or swales should be constructed using an A-frame to measure the contour lines. Mark the planting areas using pegs, string and hoes. Planting lines should follow the contour of the land (at right angles to the slope). For maize, sunflower or cotton, rows should be made 75 cm apart. Sorghum, millet, groundnuts, roundnuts and soya beans need furrows. Planting furrows should be 5 cm deep and made with a hoe. Oval planting holes should be made at 60 cm intervals along the rows. In lower rainfall regions, plant spacing should be increased. The holes should be made 25 cm by 15 cm diameter and no more than 7,5 cm deep with the soil piled down slope.

Apply one 500g jam tin of well rotted manure per planting hole away from the eventual seed location. 2. Planting The most reliable planting date is on or before 25 November. You can plant earlier if over 100mm of rain has fallen. Plant within two days after the rain on sandy soil, four days on clay soil. Sunflower and soya beans should be planted later by mid December. Sorghum can be planted with maize or later with sunflower and soya beans. Two seeds should be placed close together on one side of the planting hole about 7,5 cm away from the manure. Cover the seeds with about 2-3 cm of soft soil. Plant beans or pumpkins in between the maize rows about three weeks after the emergence of the maize. 3. Management Weeds, pests and diseases must be controlled throughout the season. Plants can be fed using liquid manure. 4. Harvesting Once the crop has been harvested the crop residues should be left to rot on the soil surface. Grain stalks should be knocked flat to avoid stalk borer. The next season planting can occur straight into previous planting holes if the rows.


Plant propagation

If you want to grow vegetables all year round you need to sow seedlings in specially prepared soil in a nursery or seedbed. By protecting seedlings from wind, rain, sun and pests you will have higher production. Plant a few vegetable seeds every 3-4 weeks. Keep seedlings of different stages in the nursery so that you can replace those harvested with mature seedlings. Sell any extra seedlings you produce. The main ways to grow crops are from seed or by vegetative methods.


Vegetative methods This means taking part of a healthy plant such as the stem, branch, leaf or root and either planting it in specially prepared soil in containers to encourage it to produce roots or attaching it to another plant as in budding or grafting. Once it has begun growing it can be planted out into the garden. Taking cuttings: The cold dry season is the best time to take cuttings. • Find a productive, healthy plant. • Use a clean sharp knife or pruning shears and cut woody stems no thicker than your little finger and 5-10 cm long. • Cut the stems at a sharp angle. Remove most of the leaves from the stem. • Dip the base of the cuttings into ash to prevent fungal infection. • Place the cuttings into containers of damp sandy soil mixture. • Keep the cuttings moist but not too wet. After some weeks you will notice new leaves appearing. This shows that roots are beginning to from. When the leaves are well established you can plant the cuttings into larger containers or into the garden

Table 4.1: Different methods of vegetatative propagation
Propagation method 1. Root division and stem separation Bulbs When the plant leaves die down, the underground stems are dug up. Some bulbs such as garlic can be separated into smaller cloves each of which can be planted. Bulbs should be stored in a cool, dark dry place until they are ready to use. Corms Short, thick, round underground stems often covered in dry scaly leaves. Dig up the pants when they have died down and separate the corms. Store in a cool dark dry place until ready for planting. Tubers Swollen ends of underground stems which can be dug up after the parent plant has died back. The tuber can be cut into smaller pieces when buds (eyes) are evident. Tuberous Swollen food storing roots which are dug up and roots separated. The can be cut up into smaller portions and planted. Rhizomes Long, course underground stems which can be dug up and cut into separate sections with bud. Runners These are stems that grow along the ground. At points along the stem a new plant forms with roots. These can be cut off the main runner and planted. New plants grow out from the sides of the parent plants each with their own roots. These can be cut away from the main plant and planted. Examples of plants Onion, chives, garlic, shallots,



Sweet potatoes, cassava, comfrey Banana, sugarcane, bamboo, ginger, many grasses (including vetiver grass, lemon grass) Strawberry and many grasses

Offsets/ suckers 2. Cuttings Stem cuttings



Parts of the stem of the main plant are cut away and planted in a growing medium until they produce roots and new leaves. Woody plants take best from semi-hardwood cuttings. The stem is cut in after the rainy season. Cuttings should be taken from the leafy shoot tip before the wood hardens. Soft green plants take from softwood cuttings. Thick branches can be cut from some trees and planted so that they form roots.

Most herbs, many fruit trees, sweet potatoes, covo, spinach, cassava and nasturtiums.

Fig trees (indigenous and exotic), Mulberry trees, Erythrina species. Citrus spp. Guava, apple, raspberry

Leaf cuttings Root cuttings

Some plants with large fleshy leaves can be grown from cuttings from part or the whole of the leaf. Parts of the root are carefully dug up during the dry season and pieces are cut out and planted. The root cuttings should


be placed horizontally in sandy soil in seedbeds. 3. Layering Simple layering Part of a stem or branch is bent down until it can be covered with soil. This stimulates root production and that part can then be cut away and planted. Air layering Rooting material is tied around a branch to stimulate roots to be produced on the stem. 4. Grafting and budding Grafting This involves joining the stem of one plant (called the scion) to the stem of another (called the rootstock). The scion is taken from a plant that is usually very productive. The rootstock is taken from a plant which is tough and able to withstand adverse conditions. The advantage of the system is that by joining the two plants together you get the benefits of both – hardiness and good production. You can only graft together plants of the same genus. Budding This involved joining the buds from a productive plant to the stem of a tough rootstock. You can only bud plants of the same genus. Guava

Mango, litchi, guava and macadamia Most fruit trees

Most fruit trees.

Saving seed Select the healthiest most productive plants from which to collect seeds. For plants which produce pods (such as peas and beans) or other dried seed (such as onions, beetroot, spinach, rape, tsunga and cabbage) wait until the seeds have dried on the plant before harvesting. For fruit crops and fruit trees such as gooseberry, tomato, pepper, pawpaw or tree tomato, harvest the fresh fruit then remove and clean the seed. Plant this seed as soon as possible as it does not store well. Share and exchange seed and seedlings with your neighbours. Storing seed Some seeds can be stored for many months. Store dried seed in folded paper sleeves in dry, insectproof containers such as jars. Place some ash and dried herbs such as lavender in the jar to repel pests. Store the containers in a cool dark place. Be sure to label the seed when you put it into the containers.


Planting seed Vegetable seeds are expensive. To get the best germination form your seed, plant them in containers in a nursery close to your home. Seeds planted in a seedbed in the garden can suffer from pests and diseases, too much heat, frost, wind or lack of water. Young plants need cool, moist conditions and protection from pests and diseases. Seedlings grown in containers raised off the ground suffer from fewer diseases. Not all seeds can be transplanted from containers. Some need to be planted directly into beds. Viability For fruit crops and fruit trees such as gooseberry, tomato, pepper, pawpaw or tree tomato, harvest the fresh fruit, then remove and clean the seed. Plant this seed as soon as possible as it does not store well. Share and exchange seed and seedlings with your neighbours.

Table 4.2 : Viability of different seed types
Vegetable Bean Beetroot Broccoli Cabbage Carrot Cauliflowe r Celery Viability (years) 3 4 4 4 3 4 5 Vegetable Cucumber Eggplant kale (choumolier) Green pepper Lettuce Okra Onion Viability (years) 5 5 4 3 5 2 1 Vegetable Pea pumpkin/squash Spinach Maize Tomato Water melon Viability (years) 3 5 4 1 3 5

Table 4.3 : Vegetables to be grown in nursery or planted directly into beds
Vegetables that can be grown in a nursery or planted directly into beds tomatoes, eggplant chilies, peppers, okra beetroot, onions, leeks cabbage, rape, kale, cauliflower, broccoli, lettuce Vegetables that must be planted directly into beds (insitu) beans, peas carrot, tsunga cucumber, squash, melons sweet corn

Planting seeds • Find a shady, protected area in your garden or make a strong structure from poles with shelves to raise the seedlings off the ground. Cover with shade-cloth or thatch grass. • Mix the soil using 4 buckets of loamy soil, one bucket of well rotted compost and one bucket of river sand. Sieve the mixture to remove any stones, twigs or clods. Clean the soil the day before planting by pouring boiling water over it. • Find seedling containers should be at least 10 cm deep • Make drainage holes at the base of the containers. • Line containers with a thin layer of stones then fill up to 7.5 cm of soil. • Plant the seeds in rows, then mulch the soil. Water the seedlings regularly. • Label the container with the crop variety and the date of sowing. Keep records of when you planted the seed, how many seeds you planted and how long they take to germinate.
Seed growing tips Some vegetable seeds are small so be careful not to plant them too deep. The best way to avoid this is to sprinkle the seeds on the surface of the soil and then cover with a 15mm layer of soil followed by a thin layer of grass or leaf mulch. Carrot and lettuce seeds should be mixed with sand before planting. This helps to prevent them from being planted too close together. Plant large seeds such as beans, peas, groundnuts, pumpkins and squash, two to three times as deep as the size of the seed.



When the seedling is 10-15 cm high it is ready for transplanting. If you do not have space in your garden for the seedling, transplant it into a larger bag or container. To transplant: gently dig up the seedling with a spoon or stick. With your other hand, make a small planting hole in the bed. Gently place the seedling in the hole and cover the roots with soil. Press down the soil around the plant and water it.

Design tips for planting • put tall plants and trees on the south-side of the garden • make strong trellises for tall plants and climbers • intercrop with soil improvers and pest repellents • plant at least four different types of vegetable in each bed (for example: tomatoes, onions, rape, spinach and carrots). Protecting the seedlings • remove a few leaves from the seedling to reduce water loss • mulch the beds • shade the seedlings with thatch grass • protect the seedlings with old tins, plastic cartons or sections of banana stem. Banana stem collars can be cut from sections of young banana stem. The collar deters many crawling pests and will eventually break down as rich organic material for the plant. To protect young seedlings from cutworm, push two small sticks into the soil on either side of the plant. This prevents the cutworm from reaching the plant.





Once you have set up a garden it is good management which will help you to be successful at keeping the land healthy and productive and getting the most from the plants and animals in your system. Table:5.1 Daily, weekly and monthly activities Time management is very important. To help you to remember all of the activities which need to be done you can make a list of the kinds of activities which need to be done on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

Each day • Feed and water for livestock • Collect eggs • Water seedlings

Each week • Clean out small livestock units. • Scout for pests • Weed • Earth-up carrots, leeks and potatoes etc. • Trellis tomatoes, beans, cucumbers and peas • Harvest vegetables • Water paw paws, bananas, tree tomatoes • Water citrus, stone fruits and other fruit trees when in flower. • Check compost • Update garden records

Each month • Plant vegetable seedlings • Make compost • Turn compost • Make liquid manure • Make pest sprays and traps • Mulch • Prune soil-improvers and herbs for mulch • Harvest leaves of comfrey for mulch or liquid manure • Water tough fruit trees • Slaughter unneeded cockerels and buck rabbits • Group garden committees to meet.

You can then go on to planning which activities need to be done at different times of year. Management plans are particularly important for group gardens where many people are working together on the same piece of land.
Table 5.2 : Annual management plan for a group garden Activity Feb March Apr May Jun Jul Land preparation Prepare beds for winter crops Purchase of seed Buy seed of winter vegetables Propagation Plant cold season vegetable seeds in nursery Take cuttings of trees and herbs Transplanting/ in Plant out seedlings and seeds of winter crops situ planting Soil improvement Apply compost to prepared Feed plants with compost and liquid fertiliser beds Collect compost materials and make compost Water management Mulch beds Water vegetables three times per week. Mulch beds Pest and disease Mulch beds with ash and repellant plants. Intercrop vegetables with garlic, onions and control basil. Crop management Protect tomatoes from frost. Prune trees and herbs. Livestock Protect chicks from cold weather Disinfect management livestock housing Harvesting Harvest Rainy season crops Harvest winter crops


Activity Land preparation

Aug Sep Prepare tree planting holes

Oct Prepare fields and beds for summer crops




Purchase of seed Propagation Transplanting/ in situ planting

Purchase seed for summer crops Plant seeds for summer vegetables Plant maize, cassava and summer vegetables Apply compost to prepared beds Plant beans and pumpkins and summer vegetables Collect compost material

Soil management

Intercrop with legumes

Water management Pest and disease control Crop management Livestock management Harvesting

Water beds every three days Make sprays barriers and traps for aphids Use powders diseases. Trellis tall crops and cucurbits for

Check for livestock pests and diseases Harvest winter crops Harvest crops winter Harvest winter crops

Weeding Weeds should be kept under control so that they do not compete with vegetables. Some weeds are useful. They repair disturbed and damaged ground. They provide organic material for pit beds, fertility trenches and compost heaps. Amaranth and black jack can be made into liquid manure. Black jack and khaki weed leaves make strong insect repellent sprays. Milkweed is a good trap crop (see the pest and disease management section). Tips for weeding: • pull up all unwanted weeds before they seed • put weeds at the bottom of pits or heaps to kill them • use thick mulch between vegetable plants to smother weeds.


Soil management

Soil contains minerals from rock, organic matter from plants and animals, and many living creatures such as worms, termites, bacteria and insects. The living creatures are important for healthy and fertile soil. Too much digging, ploughing, burning or use of chemicals can kill the soil creatures and destroy organic matter. To have healthy soil we need to • reduce digging • mulch with organic matter • grow soil improving plants • avoid burning • avoid ploughing every year. Feeding the soil Vegetables and maize need many nutrients. Fruit trees need compost or manure before the fruiting season. Zimbabwean soils lack some of the nutrients needed by crops. In cities the soils can become poor quickly. If livestock manure is not available, and fertilisers are too expensive, you need to use the above methods to improve the soil.


Chemical fertilizer Fertilizer may help improve fertility in the short term but only organic methods improve soil in the long term. Do not become dependent on fertilizers. They are expensive and do not help the soil to store nutrients or improve soil structure. Fertilizer is easily washed out of the soil by rain. There are many ways to feed the soil in urban areas. Urban areas produce a lot of rubbish such as waste paper, cardboard, maize husks, sugar cane scraps etc. This waste could be collected and used to make compost. We can also grow soil improving plants in beds, around gardens and as windbreaks in maize areas. We can keep chickens for meat and eggs and rabbits for meat use the manure on our gardens. Fertility trenches Use these for disposing of material that is too rough for composting such as thorny branches and twigs. The beds become more fertile as the material breaks down. • Dig a trench about 2m long by 1m wide by 1m deep. Separate the top soil and subsoil into piles as you dig. • Fill the trench with organic material, e.g., food scraps, twigs and branches, leaves, grass and, old bones. Avoid plastic. • Replace the soil, putting the subsoil first and then the topsoil. Mulch the bed and plant vegetables.

Livestock manure Animal waste contains lots of nitrogen, the main nutrient for plant growth. Fresh chicken manure contains high levels of nitrogen. Rabbit and horse manure are low in nitrogen. Fresh chicken manure will burn crops. Use it in compost with lime to reduce acidity. Keep chickens or rabbits close to the home and use the manure in the garden. Poultry in moveable units can be used to clear the land of vegetation and weeds and improve the soil with their manure.


Liquid manure There are two ways to make liquid manure. Either half-fill a sack with animal manure then hang it in a drum full of water for about one week. Or collect leaves from leafy green plants such as weeds, comfrey, elderflower, stinging nettles or amaranth. Fill a drum or container with the leaves and quarter fill with water. Close (but do not tighten) the lid. Leave in the sun for two weeks. Dilute: one part liquid manure to five parts water before applying to plants. Avoid crop leaves when applying the liquid manure. Apply it to seedlings and plants which look unhealthy. Warning: It can cause crops to grow very quickly with large soft leaves. This makes them attractive to pests.

Soil improving plants Plant soil improving crops (such as soya beans, sunnhemp, cowpeas, bambara ground nuts, velvet beans) in an area that you want to use for other crops the following season. Intercrop with soil- improving plants such as sesbania, leuceana, pigeon pea, and comfrey. Pruneback the leaves to prevent the plants shading your crops. Cutting the leaves and branches of soil improvers causes some of the roots to die and release nutrients into the soil.

Compost Compost is a dark, crumbly material formed by bacteria, insects and worms. It stores nutrients and slowly releases them for plants. Try to make compost four times per year. If you lack material, plant soil improving crops and trees on the boundary of your land. Harvest the leaves to make into compost. Once you have made the heap do not add new material to it How to make compost • Find a cool, shady, sheltered place, close to water. • Collect many different materials before you make the heap. • Use materials that contain carbon e.g. dried grass, leaves, sawdust, paper, cardboard and nitrogen e.g., green grass, leaves (especially comfrey, banana, amaranth, sesbania) food scraps, animal manure. Do not add soil, plastic, metal, thick twigs or branches. • Fork the surface of the soil where you want to make the heap. Put down a layer of coarse material, such as maize husks or twigs. • Add a thin layer of manure or other high-nitrogen material. Add lime if you are using fresh chicken manure. • Next add a thick layer of carbon material. Water each layer as you add it. • Keep adding layers of nitrogen and carbon material until the heap is as high as your chest. Use dry material for the last layer to keep away flies. • Make air holes in the heap with a sharp pole. • Cover the heap with old sacks to conserve moisture. • Check the heap each day to make sure it is not too dry. It should feel damp but not dripping wet. Check that the heap is getting hot by pushing your hand in to one of the air holes. If it is not hot, add more manure. • After about a week the heap will begin to cool and it is the time to turn it over to mix the layers together. The more you turn the heap, the quicker your compost will break down. Well-made compost can be ready in six weeks. • When using compost apply it on the soil surface as mulch. Never dig in fresh compost.


Pit beds If you do not have enough material to make compost, throw waste material into pit beds. Pit beds are less work and are a good way of using up every day kitchen waste. You can make many pits in your garden. The roots of the vegetables planted around the pit feed off this compost. How to make a pit bed • Dig a pit 75 cm deep by 50 -75 cm diameter. • Use soil dug from the pit to make a bed around the edge. Leave a gap for an entrance path. • Line the pit with old sacks or banana leaves. • Fill the pit with organic material. Use dry leaves on top to repel flies. • Make an air hole through the material in the pit. • Plant vegetables around the pit. To keep soil fertile in cropping areas practice • Conservation farming • Intercropping with legumes such as cowpeas, soya beans, groundnuts and roundnuts • Planting soil improving trees such as sesbania and pigeon pea on contour ridges and boundaries • Crop rotation • Feed crops with manure, compost or liquid fertiliser • Top dress with lime or wood ash to maintain soil pH.

Soil improvement for annual crops Traditional crop systems took care of the soil. Farmers practised mixed cropping. Rows were made by hand and seeds (such as maize, millet, sorghum, cowpea and pumpkin) were mixed in a basket and broadcast in rows. This meant that the soil was covered and protected. The cowpeas improved soil fertility. Burning, ploughing and planting only maize is not good for the soil.



Water management

Water requirements of different crops The amount of water needed by a plant crops depends on the age and type of crop, the local climate, the time of year and the soil type. Larger, older plants need more water than younger plants. However, some fruit trees need most water when they are getting established. Once they are mature, watering can be reduced.
Table 5.3: The amount of water needed by different crops Shallow-rooted Medium rooted Deep-rooted need plenty of need less water need least water water Carrot Cotton Beans Peas Sorghum Broccoli Peppers Sugar cane Cabbage Sweet potatoes Finger millet Cauliflower Tomatoes Lettuce Watermelons Onions Eggplants Potatoes Maize Rice Spinach Leeks Pumpkins Cucumbers Squash

Soil type Sandy soils have large particles and are very well drained. This means that they dry out quickly. Clay soils have small closely packed particles and tend to hold more water. They may become waterlogged. Tips for watering vegetables • Give two buckets of water twice a week for each metre of bed. • Water gently. Use a watering can or make your own watering can to avoid soil erosion and damage to seedlings. • Save water by mulching and intercropping groundcovers. • Add organic matter to the soil to help it hold water. • Use the clay pot or bottle-watering methods to conserve moisture. • • Conserving water in the vegetable garden • Cover all soil, including paths, with mulch. • Plant groundcover plants beneath fruit trees. • Plant small crops beneath large crops in beds. • Gently fork the soil in beds to improve infiltration and root penetration Watering fruit trees The amount of water needed by fruit trees depends on the types of tree, the age of the tree and the time of year. Tree tomatoes need most water Pawpaws Bananas Stone fruits (apple, peach, pear, plum, apricot) Citrus (orange, lemon) Avocado Mango Mulberry Guava Mexican apple Indigenous fruit trees need least water. Give fruit trees water as soon as the weather begins to warm in August/ September. Give the trees extra water when flowers begin to form. Avoid watering deciduous trees during the cold season. Use of waste water


Waste water from washing can be used to water plants although it should not be used on leaf or root crops. It can also be thrown in pit beds or used to water fruit trees. Make trenches or use pipes to direct waste water from kitchens and bathrooms. Clear out the trenches each week by scraping the dirty soil off the surface with a hoe. This stops the soil from getting blocked by soap. Container gardens To save water and space, plant vegetables and herbs in containers such as old oil drums or maize meal sacks. Fill the container with rich sandy soil. If it is a sack, tie the open end and then make small holes in one side of the sack for the seedlings. Plant a mixture of vegetables in the holes such as tomatoes, rape, beans, onions, carrots and spinach. Put a repellent plant such as basil or marjoram in one of the holes.

Mulch Mulch is any material used to cover and protect the soil. If organic material is not available then use rocks, twigs or bark chips. Mulch helps you: • protect the soil from erosion • improve the soil with organic material • save water by reducing drying out of soil by the sun and helping water sink into the soil • reduce the numbers of weeds • repel pests, using mulch such as ash or leaves from strong-smelling plants.

Windbreaks Wind causes plants and soil to dry out. If we plant trees, shrubs, grasses and herbs around gardens, orchards and cropping areas we help to stop this drying action. This means you use less water and the plants grow better. Windbreaks can also help: Container gardens • prevent pest and disease attack (include repellent plants in the windbreak) • reduce the effect of frost • prevent the spread of fire (plant evergreen trees and shrubs) • improve the soil (pigeon pea, acacias, sesbania) • provide fodder for livestock • provide fuel wood • provide fruit and food crops (mulberry, banana, indigenous fruits)


Pest and disease management

Chemical sprays can harm people and beneficial insects, whether they are made at home or bought in shops. Pests quickly become resistant to them so you end up using higher pesticide concentrations. It is better to set up a natural balance in your garden to control pests. If you do use sprays, make sure you know exactly which pest you are targeting and how to use the spray. Pest management methods • Keep crops healthy • Use plants (repellents, trap crops, predator attractants) • Crop rotation • Use predator animals


• • • • •

Make traps Hand pick pests Make barriers to pests Use home-made (natural) sprays Buy sprays as a last resort

Finding out what is causing the problem. Visit your garden, fields and orchards regularly and find out which insects and animals live there. Note signs of pest or disease attack such as leaves being nibbled, stems which have wilted, leaf distortion due to viral attack, bacterial or fungal blemishes on leaves, stem and root distortion. Make sure that you find out which creature is causing the problem and identify it carefully. If you are not sure what is causing the problem take a sample of the affected plant to your nearest AREX officer. Look out for and encourage useful creatures in the garden which may be helping to fight the pests such as ladybirds, spiders, preying mantises, frogs, lizards and wasps.

Ants and aphids Watching helps us learn about the behaviour of different animals and find the best treatment for a pest or disease. For example black ants do not harm crops but they attract aphids, scale and mealy bugs, which spread diseases. These are serious pests in a vegetable garden. Control black ants to avoid the other problems they bring.

Methods for controlling pests and diseases 1. Keep crops healthy Give crops enough nutrients and water so they use their own defences against pests. Avoid overwatering and using chemical fertilisers. These make plants grow too fast and make them weak and susceptible to pest and disease attack. Buy or grow healthy seedlings. Collect your own seeds. Avoid hybrid seeds as these plants are often bread for improved crop production but may be more susceptible to pests and diseases. Also if you grow your own non-hybrid plants you can begin to develop varieties which are suited to your particular area. You can begin to select plants which are stronger and more resistant to certain pests and diseases. Trellising Slugs and snails and diseases (fungi, rusts and moulds) love wet conditions. Make strong trellises to lift plants off the wet ground. Use poles and string for climbing crops (cucumbers, pumpkins, tomatoes, beans and peas). Plant climbers close to trees so they can use the tree as a trellis. Plant cucumbers and pumpkins in mounds of well-drained soil or compost.


Mulch Spiky grass or leaf mulch repels nematodes, cutworms, grasshoppers, ground beetles, termites, thrips, slugs and snails. Mulch made from clippings of strong-smelling plants such as herbs, Mexican marigold, lippia, lantana or gum trees repels insects. Ash deters ants which attack strawberries, beans and carrots.


Windbreaks and barriers To stop the spread of flying insects and wind-borne pests, plant barriers and windbreaks of strongsmelling plants such as rosemary, lavender, marjoram, lippia and lemon grass around gardens and orchards.

Destroy infected plant material If signs of a disease appear on any plant it should be removed from the soil and burnt or placed in the centre of a hot compost heap to avoid contamination with other plants.

2. Useful plants Avoid single cropping. Practise intercropping and rotation. Repellents Strong-smelling plants such as marigolds, khaki weed, nasturtiums, marjoram, basil, onions and garlic contain chemicals that repel many pests. To control flies and mosquitoes around buildings, plant strong-smelling herbs. Plant rosemary, lavender and lemon grass on the edges of gardens or around the base of fruit trees. Prune the leaves for strong-smelling mulch. Sunnhemp repels nematodes and improves soil. Vetiver and lemon grass repel soil insects and moles. Trap crops These are grown to attract pests to them and away from your main crop. Aphids will collect on milkweed rather than on crops. Always leave some milkweed plants in vegetable beds. Sunn hemp is a trap crop for armyworm. Predator attractants Not all insects attack crops. Many animals and insects eat pests, which destroy our plants. We call these predators. They include ladybirds, preying mantis, assassin bugs, parasitic and predatory wasps. Attract useful insects by growing flowers such as marigolds, calendula, daisies, dandelions, dill, fennel, carrots and elderflower.

3. Crop rotation The aim of crop rotation is to avoid the soil becoming exhausted by planting successive heavy feeder crops. It also avoids the build-up of pests and diseases in the soil. Pests and diseases tend to be specific to the members of the same family. Developing a rotation of crops helps to avoid planting the same crop or crops of the same family in the same soil time after time. In your rotation, first plant legumes (peas, beans), follow with leaf crops (spinach, cabbage, covo, lettuce) then root crops (onions, potatoes, carrots) and finally fruit crops (tomatoes, eggplant, pepper, chilli). Plant crops from the same family far apart and plan a long rotation between these crops to prevent them from spreading diseases.

Table 3.4: Crop families
ALLIACEAE CHENOPODIACEAE COMPOSITAE CRUCIFERACEAE CUCURBITACEAE GRAMINEAE LEGUMINOSAE PASSIFLORACEAE SOLANACEAE UMBELLIFERAE Onion, shallot, garlic, leek, chives Beetroot, Swiss chard Lettuce, sunflower, chicory Cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, rape, kale, tsunga Cucumber, pumpkin, squash, marrow, melon All grasses, sugar cane, maize, wheat, rice, millet, oats, sorghum Soya bean, groundnut, roundnut, sugar beans, Madagascar beans, runner beans, broad beans, pigeon pea, peas, sunnhemp, sesbania, Granadilla, guavadilla, peachadilla, bananadilla Tomato, potato, pepper, chilli, gooseberry, eggplant Carrot, parsnip, celery



Oranges, tangerine (naartjie), grapefruit, lemon, lime Peach, apricot, nectarine, almond, plum Apple, pear Mango, cashew, marula Guava, feijoa, bottle brush, eucalyptus

4. Predator animals Ponds, bird baths, piles of rocks and bushes around the garden help attract lizards, skinks, frogs, chameleons and birds which eat many insects. Fish and frogs eat many insect pests. Many predatory insects such as dragonflies lay their eggs in or near water. Encourage owls, which eat mice and rats. Banana groves attract bats which help control night-flying insects. Use livestock rotations or movable units. Ducks and geese eat slugs and snails. Chickens eat pests, destroy weeds and apply manure to the soil. Fence off the orchard into rotation areas. Pigs, sheep and goats can also be used to clear land of pests and weeds and to improve the soil with their manure. Some trees may need to be protected from the livestock. Move the livestock from one pen to the next. Pick up all fallen fruit and feed it to livestock. This kills fruit fly larvae. Plant crops in the pen from which the livestock have just been moved.


5. Traps Light traps placed in the chicken run help catch night-time pests such as moths. Catch fruit flies in traps made from old plastic bottles containing sweet liquid.

Hang traps in affected trees or near pumpkin or cucumber beds. Trap slugs and snails in shallow containers filled with old beer. Put one or two traps in each bed especially during the rainy season. Feed the drowned snails and slugs to chickens. Place old cabbage leaves, half orange skins or half gem squash shells on beds in the afternoon. Early next morning collect the slugs, snails, caterpillars and cut-worms that have hidden under the traps.

6. Hand-pick pests Each morning walk around the garden, orchard or fields and collect and pests you find in a bucket partly filled with water. Swarms can be removed by brushing plants with a soft broom. Feed them to the chickens. If pests are too small to pick, squash them on the side of the plant. The smell repels other insects. 7. Barriers Smear stems or trunks of plants with a ring of cooking oil or petroleum jelly to prevent insects from reaching the juicy tips leaves, or fruits of the plant.

Protect young plants from caterpillars, mice and grasshoppers. By using old plastic containers or tin cans with the base cut out. Press the container a few centimetres into the soil to prevent cutworms. Mix a handful of sawdust with a sticky substance such as molasses, syrup or tree resin and sugar to make a paste. Spread this at points in beds. The sweet smell attracts cutworms, which then get stuck in the mixture. Powders Dust leaves with clay, lime, flour, chalk, rock dust or wood ash to kill thrips, aphids, mites, and whitefly. Lime dust kills loopers, slugs and small beetles. Spread dust around the base of plants to repel most crawling pests. Chilli or garlic powder can also be used to treat ants, crawling insects and


some soil pests. Powders can be used to prevent pest attack in stored grain. Useful powders can be made from dried crushed basil leaves chilli fruit and garlic to treat fungal infections.

8. Home-made sprays If all else has failed, you can make your own sprays. Dishwasher and soap sprays are also effective on their own. Most pests are so delicate that water from a hosepipe will kill them. A very useful allround spray is made from chilli and garlic.

Chilli and garlic spray This useful spray does not harm people or predators. It can be used to treat all pest problems as a general spray. Grind up five red chillies and five cloves of garlic. Put in a container and pour in half a litre of boiling water. Leave to soak overnight. Add a teaspoon of dishwasher or washing powder or green soap. Spray affected parts of plant. Pawpaw leaf spray Targets: aphids, bugs, caterpillars, cutworm, root-knot nematodes, termites, coffee rust, powdery mildew, rice brown leaf spot. Add 1kg finely shredded leaves to 1 litre of water and shake vigorously. Filter, then add 4 litres of water, 2 teaspoons of paraffin and about 20g soap. Spray or water into the soil for cutworm. Extract the juice from immature fruit to control termites. Lantana spray This is a general repellent spray for most insects. Crush 1 handful of leaves in 1 litre of water. Add a little soap. Spray affected plant. Alternatively, burn lantana branches and use the ash to dust over beetles and leaf miner. Castor oil leaf spray Targets: aphids, leaf cutting insects, caterpillars, cutworm, mites, stinkbugs, termites, nematodes, fleas, lice, moles, fungi, anthracnose, brown patch, damping off, root rot. Soak green seeds and leaves in water for 24 hours, then filter and spray. Dry green seeds and leaves and grind for dusting powder. For cutworm, place 4 cups of crushed shelled seeds in 2 litres water. Boil for 10 minutes, add 2 teaspoons of paraffin and some soap. Dilute to 10 litres and water immediately into the soil. Put green seeds into mole holes or rat nests as a repellent. Dig seeds or leaves into the soil to kill fungal diseases. Mulch with branches and leaves to repel termites. 9. Commercial Sprays Many chemical sprays can be bought. Sprays may seem effective but they may cause more problems in the long run than they solve. Many pests build up resistance to pesticides and this makes them able to withstand stronger and stronger chemicals. Most predatory animals on the other hand are extremely vulnerable to poisoning and will be wiped out by the sprays. This creates a situation of super-pests without any predators to check their populations. Eventually the farmer becomes more and more dependant on expensive and harmful chemicals while destroying the natural predator-prey balance.


PESTICIDE PRECAUTIONS Never buy chemicals in unmarked containers. Make sure the chemical is appropriate for the pest you want to kill. Always read and follow the directions and safety instructions on the container. Wear protective clothing when applying the pesticide. Avoid contact with your skin. Do not eat, drink or smoke when applying pesticides. Pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and children must not use pesticides. Do not eat vegetables that have been recently treated. Do not spray pesticides when it is too windy. Store pesticides away from food. Keep out of the reach of children. After handling any poison, including homemade ones, wash your hands carefully with clean water and soap.

See appendix 4 for more.ideas







To preserve the quality of the crop for marketing, retain the quality of nutrients and a long shelf life: • Wash your hands before harvesting and wash produce in clean water. • Harvest each type of fruit and vegetable at the correct stage of maturity. • Harvest crops only when they are mature. • Choose the coolest time of day to harvest fruit and fruit vegetables like tomatoes and peppers. Choose mid-morning for leafy vegetables, when the leaves contain less water. • Handle the crop as little as possible. Be gentle to avoid bruises, cuts and spots, which can get infected. • Place the harvested produce in the shade. • Sort the crop according to the size, quality and maturity. • Do not put ripe fruit with unripe fruit, as they will cause the whole harvest to ripen. • Pick fruit such as tomatoes, apples and oranges with a small stem. This must not be too long as a long stem might prick the other fruit. • Pack the sorted produce carefully into baskets, boxes or crates lined with soft material such as soft, dry grass, newspaper, banana leaves or dry sand. • Avoid squashing the produce when packing it. • Make sure you do not eat or sell vegetables that have been recently dosed with pesticides.



Only store produce that is in good condition. Do not store

any produce that has skin damage. Do not store soft fruit or vegetables. Good storage methods protect produce from insects and diseases caused by damp conditions. Tips • Storage areas should be cool, moist and dark, well-ventilated and protected from insects and mice. Fresh produce should be washed in clean water and thoroughly dried before storing. Storing green beans and carrots can be improved by wrapping the produce in clean banana leaves or yam leaves. Singe the leaves slightly on a fire first to prevent them from cracking when they dry.

• •


Storage pits Root crops can be stored in dry pits, lined with grass or other dry materials for example sacking. The stored food can be covered in layers of ash, this helps repel pests.

Table 6.1 Harvesting and storage tips for different crops
Crop Avocado Time to harvest May be picked when the fruit is the desired size and just starting to change colour When fruit have reached the desired size and are just starting to turn yellow May be harvested green or dry. If they are harvested when they are green, the pods should be tender and the seeds soft to touch. Harvesting tips To increase time of ripening, wrap the fruit in newspaper Storage tips Store in baskets or on shelves


Cavendish varieties ripen more slowly that ladyfinger so are better for marketing Cut pods with a small stem.

Hang in cool, dry, shady places. Remove hands as they ripen Beans and grains may be stored in dry, airtight containers. Storing them with dried leaves of herbs such as mint, lavender, eucalyptus or chilli can help keep pests away, but may change the taste of the food. Dried beans may be coated in cooking oil to help prevent insects attacking them

Beans and peas


Crop Cabbage

Time to harvest Harvest when head is mature


Harvesting tips Cut the plant out with a sharp knife. Leave the roots in the soil. Keep one or two outer wrapping leaves on the produce

Storage tips Store in a moist clay pot covered with a damp cloth


Pull up when they are the desired size


After lifting the vegetables remove any excess earth from them. Twist off leaves leaving about 5 cm of stalk. Line a deep box with 2.5 cm of slightly damp, clean sand. Put in a single layer of the vegetable. Pack a layer of sand on top of this, followed by another layer of vegetables. Finish with a layer of sand Can be dried or stored in a pile of soil or a pit Leave a small stem on the fruit when you cut it Store on baskets. shelves or in

Citrus fruit

Cucumber and chouchou


Harvest when the fruit is the correct size and just beginning to yellow Harvest when the vegetables are the desired size. They may be harvested when small for pickling or for eating raw When leaves turn yellow and bend over Harvest as needed. Make small regular pickings so that the plant will not be damaged.

Leave a small stem on the fruit when you cut it

Store firm cucumbers on racks or stone layers.

Leafy vegetables (e.g. amaranth, blackjack, rape, covo, tsunga, spinach, pumpkin leaves

Loosen the soil, then gently lever the bulbs out and leave them on the soil surface to dry If you pick pumpkin leaves before the plants have begun producing, you will get fewer pumpkins. It is best to use some plants for leaves and some for fruit. If you are growing broccoli or cauliflower, do not harvest the leaves otherwise the crop heads will not form

Same method below



Green vegetables and soft fruit do not store well, so they should be used fresh or dried.


Crop Onions

Time to harvest For dried-off onions, which can be stored, wait until the stems have died and are lying flat on the ground

Harvesting tips You can encourage this by bending or knotting the leaves when the bulb has reached full size. Lift the onions slightly out of the soil. Leave them to dry on top of the soil for a couple of days before bringing them inside. Store dried onions in a dark, well-aired place

Storage tips In wet weather spread the onions in a single layer and dry them under cover. They must be thoroughly dry before being stored. Place them on slatted wood trays or string them up on ropes. Pull the roots off the onions and tie the necks around the rope. Plait the tops to make a continuous rope of onions, which can be hung up Remove any excess earth. Large quantities of potatoes may be stored in pits. Smaller amounts may be put in boxes or trays lined with straw and topped with more straw or newspapers. They may also be stored in hessian or plastic sacks. Allow the roots to sweat for a few days before bagging them. Inspect them regularly for mice attack or rotting Store in a well-ventilated place. Hang up in netting or string bags. If you are storing them on shelves, turn them every few days to prevent mould Can be dried or stored in a pile of soil or a pit Can be dried or stored in a pile of soil or a pit Hang in a cool, airy place or keep under a bed or in a cupboard in trays lined with newspaper.


New potatoes can be harvested after two months from planting. For large, potatoes wait until the leaves have begun to turn yellow and die back

Gently loosen the soil 30 cm from the plant. To avoid damage, use your hands to harvest the potatoes.

Pumpkins and squash

When the plant has died back and the fruit is ripe

Leave the fruit in the field for as long as possible to cure

Sweet potatoes Yam Tomatoes, peppers, chillies eggplants Select only mature fruit for picking. Do this regularly every 3– 4 days. Pick tomatoes when they are slightly green for easier handling. Leave a small stalk on the fruit when you harvest it



Preserving food

We preserve food in order to keep it for a long time after it has been harvested. Preserving stops the food from decaying. Effective preserving methods • help food to last a long time so that families can use it when fresh produce is not available. • preserve the nutrients of food. • help make produce easier to package and transport for selling. The cheapest, most effective and simplest methods for preserving food in southern Africa are blanching, fermenting, drying and curing.


Drying Drying helps to preserve food by removing the water that helps bacteria and fungi to grow. Most fruit, vegetables and root crops can be dried. Produce that is commonly dried includes bananas, mango, pawpaw, guava, okra, tomato, onion, pepper, pumpkin and squash, sweet potato, cassava and all green vegetables. Meat, including fish and insects, can also be dried. Mushrooms, pumpkin seeds, beans and grains can be dried. When they are required for cooking add the dried vegetables directly to cooked dishes. Dried fruit can be a useful, long-lasting snack.

Tips • • • • • • • Crops must be processed within 48 hours of harvesting. Avoid sun-drying. Drying in the shade reduces loss of nutrients. Wash, sort, peel and cut up the produce. Sort it into groups of similar ripeness and cut it into pieces of similar size so that they take the same amount of time to dry. Store the produce in well-ventilated places to avoid mouldy conditions. Keep dried or cured foods in clean, dry, dark, airtight containers. Bananas, sweet potatoes, cassava and pumpkins can be made into flour for storage. Green vegetables should be blanched before you dry them.

Blanching Blanching is used to prepare some produce for drying. It helps vegetables keep their colour and flavour and to last for a longer time. This method can not be used for okra, onions, garlic or chilies. Blanching methods Tear the green leaves into a suitable size or wash the vegetables, then cut them into 1 cm square pieces. Place the vegetables into the sieve. Steam them for 1–3 minutes, depending on how large the pieces are. Drying structures Drying food in the sun is not a good idea because the sun destroys many important nutrients. The simplest drying method is to construct an open-sided drying shed. Curing This method is mainly used for preserving root crops such as cassava, sweet potatoes and yam. Once cured, these crops can be pounded into flour which can be used to make porridge, biscuits and drinks. This is best done in the dry season. Method Spread whole roots on a clean, dry surface in the shade. Leave them to cure. When the outer surface of the roots is hard they can be stored and used when required.


Marketing produce

Urban areas sometimes lack legal, secure spaces for production, manufacture and sale of goods. Selling outlets are hard to access. Transport costs to markets are high and prices are not great. Wholesale companies need only buy high quality produce which is supplied in bulk. If you want to sell your produce you need to find out what people want to buy so that you can plan to grow crops for sale.


Where to sell • Find out what you can sell locally before trying to sell things further a field. Sell produce to your friends, neighbours, traders, local shops, churches or schools. • If your market is far away form a club in your community so that you can share transport costs and other expenses. • Sell unusual products such as rabbit meat, lettuce, broad beans and herbs to restaurants, supermarkets and hotels. Marketing tips • Find out which products sell best at different times of year and when you can get a high price. Customers pay high prices for out-of-season crops. • Choose products that can be stored or processed by drying or bottling to give them a longer shelf life. • Protect crops from pests and diseases so that they look appetizing to your customers. • Avoid spraying with pesticides (even home-made sprays) for a few days before harvesting. • Wash your hands before harvesting and wash harvested produce before sale. • Store harvested produce in dark, dry, well-ventilated places. • Protect from pests and mould. • Sort and grade products according to size, weight and quality. • Put vegetables in packets for better prices. Crops such as tomatoes, onions and potatoes need air so use baskets, crates, sacks or bags with air holes. The 6 Ps of Marketing If you want to sell your produce, you need to find out what people want to buy so that you can plan to grow crops for sale. The 6 Ps of marketing arepeople, product, presentation, price, place, promotion People Find out what customers want to buy and how much they are prepared to pay. Which products sell best at different times of year and when you can get a high price? Customers pay high prices for out-of-season crops. Link the market demand with your planting calendar. Product • Choose products that can be stored or processed by drying or bottling to give them a longer shelf life • Protect crops from pests and diseases so that they look appetising to your customers. Presentation • Avoid spraying with pesticides (even home-made sprays) for a few days before harvesting. Follow the directions on commercial pesticides to the letter in order to ensure safety. • Wash your hands before harvesting and wash harvested produce before sale • Store harvested produce in dark, dry, well-ventilated places. • Protect from pests and mould. • Sort and grade products according to size, weight and quality. • Put vegetables in packets for better prices. Crops such as tomatoes, onions and potatoes need air so use baskets, crates, sacks or bags with air holes. Price • The price should be high enough to make a profit but low enough to attract customers. • Aim to make a profit. Your selling price must cover your input costs including labour, seed, packaging and transport. • Your price must be competitive with the goods of other producers. • Find out how much other retailers and wholesalers are charging.


Supermarkets usually give higher prices than whole sale markets.

Place • Find out what you can sell locally before trying to sell things further away. Sell produce to your staff, SDC members, parents, community, traders, local shops or churches. • Establishing secure outlets by developing legal permanent structures in designated areas with permission of the municipality is the way forward • If your market is far away, form a club in your community so that you can share transport costs and other expenses.
• Sell unusual products such as rabbit meat, lettuce, broad beans and herbs to restaurants, supermarkets and hotels. • Get contracts from specific buyers to produce specific products at stated amounts.

Promotion • Display samples of your best-looking products. • Use advertisements, signposts and price announcements to attract customers. • Become a good salesperson by being polite and friendly to customers. • Look tidy and clean when you are selling your produce. Commodity and producer groups With group gardens and allotments plots are managed individually but growers can identify markets together, plan which crops to grow together, pool money for inputs, share resources such as water, fencing, security, and share transport costs. They can also monitor together. Crops are planted at the same time so that they can harvested, packaged or processed, transported and marketed at the same time. Diverse Markets In urban areas growers potentially have access to a wide range of diverse, specialist markets including ethnic communities (Asian, Greek, Italian, Portuguese), the expatriate community, restaurants, supermarkets and up market delicatessens. Possible Products To make sure that families have enough nutritious food and a surplus to sell, try to grow two beds of cash crops such as ginger, onions, tomatoes or strawberries. In small gardens it is better to go for crops that mature quickly such as lettuce. Fruits are a good long term investment where there is space including bananas, granadillas, guavas and mulberries. Mushrooms are high value but require a structure to grow in. This means liaising with the municipality to find out what is acceptable. Urban growers have better access to mushroom spawn from the university than rural growers. Value-addition Improved processing and packaging can give products higher prices, more transportability and a longer shelf-life. Again this would require small legalized structures in designated areas where groups could come together and engage in activities such as fruit, vegetable and herb drying, herbal tea manufacture, herb and spice production, snack production (root vegetable chips), canning and jarring, cosmetic soap manufacture. Dried fruit is viable because it requires little expertise or hygiene. Developing small dried fruit units which could be linked to cereal manufactures who import expensive dried fruit. Other possibilities are essential oil extraction from herbs for cosmetics and manufacture of herbal products but this entails on linking with an established company. .


Action plan A plan of activities, resources needed, people who are responsible for organizing or carrying out the activity and the time-frame for the activity. A plant that lives for one year then produces seed and dies.

Annual plant

Biennial plant

A plant that lives for two years then produces seed and dies.

Climbing plant

A plant that has a long stem and needs to be grown up a trellis.


A soil-improving material made from material such as manure, grass, leaves and kitchen scraps. A plant with a long stem that grows along the ground or up a support.


Deciduous plant

A plant which loses its leaves in winter.


A plan, picture or image of what you want to do.

Evergreen plant

A plant which keeps its leaves all year.

Fertility trench

A trench, dug and filled with waste material. The soil is replaced and crops are planted directly. Something that you want to achieve.


Grey water

Waste water from washing. This can safely be used to water fruit and legume crops. A plant that grows densely on the ground reducing soil erosion and conserving moisture. A plant with soft leaves which grows under 1.5m. Herb is also the name given to strong-smelling plants that can be used in cooking, for medicine, for cosmetics or to repel pests. Seed that is produced by crossing pure breed plants to get a plant that has good qualities such as drought resistance. The seed collected from hybrid crops is not reliable. A plant belonging to the leguminosae family (e.g. peas, beans, sesbania. Their roots house tiny bacteria which take nitrogen from the air and make it available to plant A soil-improving substance made from leaves or animal manure, which is left to decompose in water. A plant which lives for more than one year and produces seed each year.



Hybrid seed


Liquid manure




A chemical, which is made to kill crop pests.

Pit bed

A pit dug for waste disposal and soil improvement.


Something which we can use (e.g. soil, water, labour, the slope of the land).


A plant which has woody stems under 1.5m.

Soil improving plants Spillway

A plant that adds fertility to the soil. Most soil-improvers are legumes.

Part of a water-harvesting structure such as a swale, pit or dam which channels flood water to prevent it from breaking the wall of the structure. Soil below the surface, which is less fertile. It is usually a different colour from the top soil. A ditch and bank that is dug across the slope on contour to harvest water. The swale catches the water and sinks it into the soil Soil from the surface which is more fertile than that below it. It is usually a different colour from the subsoil. Plants that are grown to attract pests drawing them away from your main crop.




Trap crop


A stick or structure made to support a tall or climbing plant.

Water harvesting Windbreak

Collecting rain water for use on crops. Water may be harvested off slopes roads, roofs or any areas where water flows. Trees and plants grown around a garden or cropping area to shelter it from wind.


Appendix 1: Useful plants for urban gardens
Plant ComfreySymphytumofficinale Uses a fast-growing perennial herb up to 90 cm. Plant around the edge of the vegetable garden, underfruit trees and along paths. The leaves can beused to make, liquid manure, compost andmulch. The leaves may be fed to chickens andrabbits in small amounts. The thick roots helploosen compacted soil and protect it fromerosion. Comfrey prefers wet areas but cansurvive dry spells. To plant, divide up sectionsof the root and sow them. A perennial climber. The beans can be eatengreen or dry. Plant them up trellises or alongfences in the vegetable garden or around fruit treesin the orchard. The leaves can be fed to livestock.Madagascar beans prefer well-drained, fertile soilswith water during dry spells. Soak the seed before planting to help germination. Plant on mounds inwarm weather.Pigeon peas are drought tolerant, shrubs that liveup to four years and can reach 4m. The driedbeans are a nutritious pulse. The green beans maybe eaten. The young leaf tips make good livestockfodder. Leaves may be made into liquid manure.Plant pigeon pea as a windbreak, alongboundaries and on contour ridges. It is an excellentnitrogen-fixer. They are grown from seed planteddirectly. Pigeon pea is susceptible to aphids andfungal diseases during moist conditions. The plantis sensitive to frost. A fast-growing indigenous tree. There are annualand perennial varieties. Plant in the vegetablegarden, or cropping area for soilimprovement,shade and shelter. Prune back the lower branchesto avoid shading crops. Use the wood for poles orfuel. The leaves can be made into mulch, compostor soap. This tree tolerates dry conditions butprefers being watered. It likes sandy, well-drainedsoil. Grow sesbania from seed soaked in hot waterovernight. Plant in sleeves then transplant in therainy season. A tough perennial shrub. Plant on the boundaryof the vegetable garden, around fruit trees andin between row crops as a green manure. Slashthe plant as flowers are produced and use asmulch. Sunnhemp grows densely so is good forsmothering weeds and protecting the soil fromerosion. The plant can be made into fibre, twineand paper. Seeds can be used as an insecticideagainst borer. Sunnhemp roots repelnematodes and attract earwigs – importantpredators. Note: sunnhemp is toxic to mostlivestock. This plant is fast growing and drought resistant,tolerating most soils. Sow the seeddensely at the start of the rains. This tough bunch grass can be used in areaswhere there is not much water to hold the soil andact as a hedge or windbreak. Plant vetiver alongpaths, on boundaries or on contour strips in maizefields. The roots smell strongly and help repel soilpests. The grass should be cut twice per year and used as mulch


Pigeon peaCajanuscajan


SunnhempCrotalariajuncea, toughannual herb.




Appendix 2: Local names of plants
English name Acacia Albizia Banana Cassia Custard apple, wild Fig, wild Gum trees Jatropha Kei apple Latin Name Acacia spp. Albizia spp. Musa spp. Cassia spp. Annona senegalensis Ficus spp. Eucalyptus spp. Jatropha curcas Dovyalis caffra Shona Muunga Mucherenje, Muchangiza, Muguaduzi, Mugarahanga Mubhanana, mutsoro? Muremberembe Munzungu, Muvhenheka Muroro Mukuyu, Mutsamvi Mupuranga Mupfuta, Munjirimono Mutsvoritoto, Musvisvirondo Munhungura Chizhenje, Muhumbukumbu, Mugangacha Mupwanda Mundimu Umqokolo Muvonde, Ndebele Isinga Umbola Ibhanana Isihaga Ububese Inkiwane, Umkhiwa


Lannea discolor

Isigangatsha, umpwanda ? umpwanele ?

Lemon Leuceana Loquat / Muzhanje Lucky bean tree Pod mahogany Marula Masau Mexican apple Monkey orange Moringa / Horseradish tree Mulberry Natal plum

Citrus limoni Leuceana leucocephala Uapaca kirkiana Erythrina spp. E. abyssinica Sclerocarya birrea Ziziphus spp Z. mucronata, Z. mauritania, Casimora edulis Strychnos spp. S. spinosa Moringa oleifera Morus alba Carissa edulis


Muzhanje, Muhobohobo Mutiti Mupfura Musau, Musawu


Umhobohobo Umgqogqogqo Umganu Umphaha, Umpasamala

muzhanje chirungu? Mutamba Mutamba-mun’ono Zakalanda (Tonga) Musagowa Muaburosi, Muhingi Mudzambara Mudyabveni Muruguru, Mbambara Umabhurosi? Umlugulu Ihlala?, Umhlali

Neem Orange Pawpaw Pigeon pea Sesbania Snot apple Tephrosia Tree tomato Watermelon

Azadirachta indica Citrus sinensis Carica papaya Cajanus cajan Sesbania sesban Azanza garckeana Tephrosia vogelii Muorenji, Muranjisi Mupapaya, Mupopo Nyandoro, Ndodzi Mumwahuku Mutohwe, Mutobwe Chitupatupa Uxakuxaku Ihalantshisi Ipopo Munhanga

Citrullus lanatus

Mubvembe, Muzhambarare

Ijido, Inkaba, Inkabe


Appendix 3: Cultivation tips for garden crops


Beans bush Contender Seminole Top crop Beans butter Painted Lady, Madagascar Beans runner Lazy housewife Blue Peter Beans soya Safari

Sown directly into beds, at 40 7-8 wks mm depth. They take 4-6 days to germinate.





Sown directly into beds, at 75 7-9 months 15 mm depth. They take 5-7 days to germinate. Sown directly into beds, at 40 7-8 wks 20 mm depth. They take 4-6 days to germinate. Provide a trellis. 3







The large seeds are sown directly into fields and take 5-7 days. They may need to be sown with rhyzobium inoculant or mixed with soil from an area where soya beans have already been grown. Beans sugar Sow directly into beds at 40mm depth. Germination takes 4-6 days. Beetroot Sow into containers at 25mm Detroit Dark depth. Transplant. Or sow Red directly into beds and thin out seedlings. Germination takes 5-7 days. Broccoli Sow into containers at 5mm Green depth and transplant. sprouting Germination takes 5-7 days. Cabbage Sow into containers at 5mm Sugarloaf depth and transplant. Drumhead Germination takes 5-7 days. Cabbage do not produce flowers or seed in Zimbabwe. Chinese Sow into containers at 5mm cabbage depth and transplant. Germination takes 5-7 days. Mix seed with sand before Carrot sowing directly into beds at Cape Market 10mm depth. Sand helps avoid Chantenay sowing too densely. Nantes Germination takes 7-14 days.Thin out seedlings at regular intervals. Cauliflower Sow into containers at 5mm Snowball depth and transplant. Early six weeks Germination takes 5-7 days. Celery Sow into containers at 5mm Self Blanching depth and transplant. Germination takes 5-7 days. Chou chou Sow the sprouting fruit into loosened soil so that the sprout is just exposed. Support on a trellis. Covo Sow into containers at 5mm Trachuda depth and transplant. Germination takes 5-7 days. May also be grown from cuttings or shoots. Cowpea Sow seeds directly into fields at (nyemba) 20mm depth. Cucumber Sow 1-3 seeds, 20mm deep on Marketeer mounds or in well prepared Ashley holes. Use a trellis.





7-8 wks







12-14 wks






18 – wks 13 wks 14 wks

20 45



35 50

50 70





12 wks






8-10 weeks








17-18 wks 10-12 wks 10-12 weeks 7-9 wks












7-8 wks






15-18 wks 13 wks

20 50

80 150 X X




Eggplant (brinjal) Florida Market Garlic Ginger Roundnuts (nyimo)

Groundnuts (nzungu) Makulu red, Gooseberry

Kale Choumoellier Leeks Carentan Lettuce Great Lakes All year round

Okra Derere (Clemson Spineless) Onions Hojem, Pyramid Texas Grano Silver King Spring onions Early Picking

Sow into containers and transplant. Germination takes 57 days. Sow separate cloves into prepared rows in beds. Sow sprouting tubers into well prepared rows in beds. Sow seeds directly into ridges in fields at 60 cm depth. Germination occurs after 5-7 days. Sow seeds directly into ridges fields at 60 mm depth. Germination occurs after 4-5 days. Sow into containers at 10mm depth. Transplant. Germination takes 5-7 days Sow into containers at 5mm depth. Transplant. Germination takes 5-7 days. Sow into containers at 10mm depth and transplant. Germination takes 5-7 days Sow into containers at 10mm depth. Transplant. Mix the small seed with sand for more even distribution. Germination takes 4-6 days Sow into containers at 10mm depth. Transplant. Germination takes 4-6 days

13 wks



4-6 months 10 9-10 months 4 months 15-23 20

30 2330 30



20 wks





8-10 wks





7-8 wks






16 wks








7-8 wks







25 10-15 wks 30

45 50 X X X X

Sow into containers at 10mm 28-30 wks depth. Transplant. Or sow direct into beds.





Sow into containers at 10mm depth. Transplant. Or sow direct into beds. Parsley Sow into containers at 10mm Moss curled depth. Transplant. Germination takes 4-6 days. Thin out. Peas Sow direct into beds at 30 cm Oregon depth. Sow every 3-4 weeks. Mange-Tout Soaking before planting Greenfeast improves germination which Sugar snap takes place after 4-6 days. Pigeon peas Sow direct into fields. (Malawi peas) Germination takes 6-9 days. Peppers, chilis Sow into containers at 10-15mm California depth. Transplant. Germination wonder takes 4-6 days. Long Red Cayenne Potatoes (Irish) Choose only disease free seed potatoes or healthy parts of the tuber containing eyes. Plant into well prepared trenches 7-10 cm deep. Potatoes Plant from disease-free stem (sweet) cuttings 30-50 cm long, taken from the growing tips of mature plants. Remove the lower leaves then sow in 100mm deep rows on low ridges (about 45 cm high)

11-14 wks





15-20 weeks 15-20 weeks










10 6-9 months 30 12-13 weeks 40

60 90 70



3-6 months 20





1-6 months 30





Pumpkins, marrows and squash Plat White Boer Waltham Butternut Caserta

Can be sown in pots or large plant seeds in order to start them early but usually grown directly into well prepared mounds in fields or gardens. Sow 5-6 seeds in each planting station at 20-30 cm depth. Thin after three weeks leaving 3 plants at each station. Rape Sow into containers at 5mm Giant English depth. Transplant. Germination takes 5-7 days. Spinach, Swiss Sow into containers at 10mm chard depth. Transplant. Or sow direct Fordhork Giant into prepared beds and this out. Germination takes 7-10 days. Lucullus Taro Grown from sprouting corms (Madhumbe) planted in well prepared soil. Tomato Sow into containers at 10mm Heinze, depth. Transplant. Provide a Floradade trellis. Moneymaker, Rhodade, Roma Watermelon Sow directly into well prepared mounds in fields or gardens. Sow 5-6 seeds in each planting station at 20-30 cm depth. Thin after three weeks leaving 3 plants at each station.

150 3-41/2 months







7-8 wks



8 wks






8-10 months 6-8 weeks

60 45

90 100 X




3-4 months 100





Appendix 4: Methods to control a range of pests and diseases
PEST/ DISEASE Ants METHOD OF CONTROL • • • • • Aphids, mites, thrips and whitefly • Apply grease or petroleum jelly, dung or clay to trunks and stems. Mulch with ash or fine powder. Spray with Mexican marigold, chili and garlic, garlic, lantana, Zumbani, blackjack. Intercrop with garlic. Place garlic cloves or chopped onions in ant holes. Dust with chilli powder at base of plants. Avoid use of manures and fertilisers, especially liquid manure. Avoid over-watering plants. Intercrop with garlic, chives, marigold, nasturtiums, onions and milkweed. Spray with a mixture of 4 cups flour, half a cup of sour milk and twenty litres of water. Spray with 20ml cooking oil mixed with 100g green soap in 15 litres water. Spray with 1 teaspoon of salt with 20ml vinegar and one litre of water and half a teaspoon of liquid soap. Or spray with liquid or bar soap diluted in water. Spray with a mix of 3 tablespoons vinegar, 3 tablespoons liquid soap, 2 tablespoons liquid manure and 10 litres of water. Soak 10-100g onion peel in 1 litre of water for 4-7 days. Spray plants. Make tomato spray from any fresh part of the plant. Boil 1kg of leaves in 2 litres of water. Filter. Add a little soap. Spray plants. Crush 1 handful of lantana leaves in 1 litre of water. Add a little soap and spray. Crush leaves and branches of lippia javanica. Leave to soak in water for 2-3 days. Add a little soap. Spray plants. Encourage owls, bats and night-flying birds, which eat caterpillars. Plant low-value grains such as millet as trap crops. Avoid burning grassland and overgrazing as this causes swarms to hatch. Spray with vegetable oils (away from plants) and mineral oils (on or near crop). Dust caterpillars and plants with lime. Place 3 cloves of crushed garlic in a glass jar. Cover with liquid paraffin. Soak for two days. Add ten litres of water and spray plants. Intercrop with repellent plants Use chili and garlic, pawpaw or blackjack spray. Make barriers around the stems of affected plants with mineral oil.

• • • • • • •

Army worm, caterpillars grubs

• •


• • •


PEST/ DISEASE Cabbage butterfly

METHOD OF CONTROL • Use onion spray

Caterpillars and grubs

Use spray from blackjack, pawpaw or garlic spray.

Crickets Codling moth

• •

Use blackjack spray Paint trunks of trees with a paste of cattle manure and clay. Use it to seal wounds and cuts after pruning. Use lime on acid soil to repel. Use mulch of repellent plants. Allow poultry to clear beds before planting. Transplant seedlings only when the stem is too wide or strong for the worm to cut. Protect individual plants with tins or sticks pushed into the soil. Make pawpaw leaf spray from 1kg shredded pawpaw leaves shaken in 1 litre of water. Filter and dilute in 4 litres of water. Add two teaspoons of paraffin and a little soap. Spray the soil. Keep plants healthy. Use rotations. Use mulch. Plant windbreaks. Destroy infected plants. Apply 1 litre milk in 10-15 litres water. Spray with compost mixture, liquid manure or urine. Spray plant with a mixture of 100g sodium bicarbonate or washing soda with 50g of soft soap. Dilute with 2 litres of water. This spray can be used for most bacterial or fungal diseases. Sprinkle chilli powder at base of plants or on affected leaves. Use green pepper juice to treat mosaic virus. Intercrop trees with garlic. Use garlic spray. Use basil spray or basil dusting powder. Use garlic powder (especially for scab, mildew, bean rust and tomato blight.) Use onion spray for damping off, late blight and tomato leaf spot. Use pawpaw spray for coffee rust, powdery mildew and rice brown leaf spot. Use lavender leaves in storage containers. Line storage containers with crushed Mexican marigold plants or zumbani leafy branches. Or sprinkle Mexican marigold powder between layers of stored grain. Line storage containers with a layer of 3-5 cm of Zumbane leafy branches. Intercrop vegetables with marigolds. Use ash mulch. Tomato spray. Tephrosia spray. Crush 50 leaves in 1 litre water. Leave for 24 hours. Filter, then spray plants. Warning – this spray is toxic to all insects. During the dry season, compost crop residues or feed to livestock. If residue is left as mulch, chop maize stover into small lengths to expose the larvae to the sun. Practice rotations with wide gaps between members of the grass family. Block central funnel of the maize plant with dry soil. Pour soil into the area where the leaf meets the stem. This suffocates the pest. Use the method when maize plants are small and repeat when they have grown larger. Control ants which protect these insects. Wipe insects off plant by hand. Spray plant with light oil or chili and garlic. Encourage predators such as wasps, ladybirds, spiders, dragonflies and mantids. Intercrop with garlic. Use onion spray around crops. Intercrop with garlic. Use garlic or onion spray.


• • • • •

Diseases, bacteria, virus,


• • • • • •

• • Fruit tree borer • • • • • • • • • Grasshopper • • • •

Fungal diseases

Grain and seed storage pests

Maize stalk-borer

Mealybug and scale insects

• • • • •

Mice Moles



METHOD OF CONTROL • Place garlic cloves or chopped onions in mole holes. Use garlic spray.

Moths (diamond black moth, coddling moth) Nematodes

• • • •

Keep soil organic matter levels high. Avoid digging and ploughing. Intercrop with garlic, cassava, leeks, mustard, onions, pawpaw, marigolds. Pour a mix of 2kg sugar in 5 litres of water on the affected soil. After 24 hours flush the sugar out of the soil with plenty of water. Make spray from pawpaw leaves or tomato leaves. Crush cassava roots and dilute the juice with equal amount of water. Spray immediately. Practice crop rotation and intercropping especially between host plants such as cotton, tomatoes and members of the cruciferaceae family. Plant crops close together and water regularly. Plant a hedge of pigeon pea round the garden to encourage predators. Spray with 1 litre of milk mixed with 10-15 litres water. Spray with 10 drops of rubber hedge sap in 1 litre of water. Use onion spray.

Red spider mite

• • Scale •

Slugs and snails

Mulch with ash or fine powder. Sprinkle grains of salt on slugs or snails. Rotate poultry throughout vegetable garden to get rid of infestations. Dust affected areas with dry builder’s lime or mix lime and water leave to stand for a few days. Spray plants. Plant repellent plants around affected crops. Squash bugs on plants to repel others. Mix builders lime with wood ash and water to make a thin soup. Leave to stand for a few days. Spray bugs. Use the crushed pods of snake bean (Swartzia madagascarensis) or long-pod cassia either placed directly around the infested soil or a water extract of the crushed pods is poured into the ground. Soak the crushed pods in water for 2 hours or longer, even overnight. Blackjack spray. Intercrop with garlic. Use garlic spray. Place garlic cloves or chopped onions in ant holes. Spray with juice from immature pawpaws. Use onion spray

Shield bugs and tip wilters

• •


• • • Thrips •


Dip animals using garlic spray or onion spray.


• •

Intercrop tomatoes with basil. Use blackjack or onion spray


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