Sack gardening is an effective way of using sacks to grow crops. It saves on land/space, water, money and time used in farming. You can commercialize as little as eight of an acre using sack gardening.
Crops grown in sack farming
Sack farming is good for crops that do not take long to mature, are not bushy, have shallow roots and do not grow too tall. These crops are;
- Vegetables (e.g. spinach, kales/sukuma wiki, tomatoes, leafy onions, capsicums)
- Legumes (e.g. cow peas, beans)
- Sweet potato vines
- Squash butternuts
How to establish a sack farm
A good sack garden should allow air and water to reach all crops so that they grow well and it should also last long. There are two designs commonly used in sack gardening; one with with horizontal layers of stones and the other with stones/gravel in the middle of the sack. The sack garden with gravel in the middle is better as it allows easy distribution of water and air to the crops at all levels. It is also suitable when planting crops all around the sack garden. If you do not plan to plant any crops on the side of your sack garden, the design without stones will work fine.
The following procedure is for constructing a sack garden with stones in the middle. If constructing one with horizontal layers of stones, place stones after every 1 foot layer of soil.
- Mix manure with soil in the ratio of 1:1 near the location of the sack garden
- Pierce through the center of the sack bottom into the soil using a sharp and strong rod. This rod will provide support to the sack garden
- Fold the sack to allow easy filling with the mixed soil
- Add one foot of the soil/manure mixture into the sack
- Water this soil layer so that it is evenly moist
- Place a can without top at the center of the sack such that the supporting rod is inside the can. You can use a 2 Kg can or a can of about 5 cm diameter
- Fill the can with stones/gravel
- Fill the area around the can with the soil/manure mixture
- Lift the can now so that it stands on the newly laid layer
- Water this level so that the soil is evenly moist
- Repeat the procedure of filling the can with gravel and the area around it with soil/manure mixture until the whole sack is filled. Water each level
- Add supporting rods at the side of the sack garden if need be
- The supporting rods from two or more sacks gardens can be joined with a wire to be used to train tomatoes
- Use a sharp stick to pierce the sack for planting holes
- Use your thumb to press the soil downwards to make the planting hole bigger
- Ensure that the planting holes are not in the same line vertically so that the plants don’t block each other from accessing sunlight
- Place the seedling into the planting hole carefully not to damage the roots
- Press the soil around the seedling using your fingers to make it firm
- If planting different crops on the sack garden, plant root crops at the top and leafy vegetables on the sides
- Water each sack garden everyday to keep the soil moist
Be an informed farmer, won’t you!