Rural-urban migrations continue unabated in this modern age. Unlike in the past, when many engaged in farming in rural areas, some passionate farmers have brought their acumen to the urban cities.
They are however faced with one major challenge; limited farming space. Modern solutions to urban farming include methods such as multistorey gardening or sack farming.
This is a vertical farming approach where layers of garden soil are stacked on top of each other. This innovative method allows urban farmers to maximize limited space and increase crops & vegetable production.
Needless to mention they find greater returns compared to traditional ground planting in smaller spaces.
One such farmer who has endeavoured in this business is Josphat Wesonye who hails from Vihiga, Western Kenya. He has adopted the multistorey gardening farming method in an urban setup.
In a YouTube interview with AIM Agriculture Farm, Wesonye shared that he began farming in Nairobi after moving from the village, prompted by an invitation from his friend.
Together, they started the multistorey garden on a small piece of land, with just two 5-layer-storey gardens. He gradually increased the numbers to 80-storey gardens.
Wesonye has planted several plant varieties including corianders, beans, cabbage, spider plant, nightshade, lettuce, onions, spinach, cowpeas and kales/Sukuma.
To build a vertical garden, Wesonye uses soil and approximately 25 kilos of compost manure that he collects on the farm. It takes less than 2 hours to assemble one, provided one has the right materials.
Each vertical garden accommodates around 100 seedlings of a plant, and Wesonye often mixes different varieties on a single vertical structure.
As the harvesting period approaches, Wesonye can yield up to 25 kilos of vegetables per storey garden each week. He says he has a consistent demand for his produce due to organic farming practices, attracting regular visits from customers.
Additionally, he sells his vegetable produce to restaurants. He sells a kilo of vegetables at Sh. 50. This means that from a single storey, he earns Sh. 1,250.
Cumulatively, he has 80-storey gardens. This means he can make up to Sh. 100,000 per week from harvesting from at least 25 kilos on each vertical structure.
This farming technique is also ideal for people who lack a stable supply of water since the layers allow water to trickle down slowly to the bottom layers.
It is the best practice for people who want to make money on limited space with easy management. Other crops that can do well in the vertical gardens include capsicums, peppers and chillis.
“The economy is tough, how can you save yourself from it? Multistorey gardens can save you a lot of space and money too,” advised Farming Wonder, an organisation that builds and installs multistorey gardens.
Wesonye encourages young people with limited space to consider constructing multistorey gardens as a way to do farming and make the most of available spaces.