Most people leaving in urban Ghana are wasting the spaces in their homes and around their neighbourhoods.
With the increase in the population of urban cities in recent years, most arable lands within the urban areas have been converted to accommodation to satisfy the ever-increasing demand for a good and comfortable place to call home.
In recent years, new building technologies have resulted in the introduction of high-rise buildings and skyscrapers, which are excessively expensive for the average city dweller and young people just starting life. These people still prefer self-compound houses. Land is getting finished, especially in urban areas, and we must make good use of any available land we have. For example, a typical plot of land in Accra these days is 70 feet by 80 feet, with some being as small as 50 feet by 70 feet. This is a drastic reduction from the previous 100 feet by 100 feet which was the case over 20 years ago.
Despite the scarcity of land and its related challenges, the few people who are privileged with access to some excess tend to waste it. A lot of functional spaces that could be put to productive use are lying idle. In Accra, for example, a typical one-plot landowner will situate his building on just about a quarter of the plot, leaving the rest of the land for decorative purposes or just plain concrete. In an era where agricultural production is not enough to feed the growing population and Ghana is importing the most foodstuff like maize, tomatoes, onions, etc. for our survival, it is worth revisiting the issue of urban agriculture.
Urban agriculture is a system that allows urban dwellers to use a portion of the land available to them for some basic production. This article seeks to encourage readers to make proper use of available spaces around their houses, no matter how small they may be, for agricultural activities that will not only earn them extra income and supplement their food needs but also serve as a great hobby and a form of exercise in a very tense and stressful urban environment.
Hey, so how about we grow some mint with that space in your home or office? That’s pure goodness for your favourite cocktails like Mojito and other detox drinks with freshly harvested mint from our backyard.
Mint is a perennial herb with very fragrant, toothed leaves and tiny purple, pink, or white flowers. There are many varieties of mint—all fragrant, whether shiny or fuzzy, smooth or crinkled, bright green or variegated. Mint is a great source of antioxidants and vitamins that can be effective at relieving consumers from stress, anxiety, allergies, colds, indigestion-related problems, and bacteria that cause bad breath. Mint will not only give your home that “menthol-cool” fresh smell but can also serve as a healthy addition to your family’s food and beverages such as salads, desserts, smoothies, and even water.
A Quick Guide to Growing Mint
- Mint is one of the easiest herbs to grow. It can either be grown outdoors on the ground or indoors in pots using seeds or mint stem cuttings.
- Mints are vigorous perennials that thrive in light soil with good drainage.
- For growing outside, place one or two seeds or stem cuttings 2 feet apart in moist soil. Ideally, they prefer moist soil to grow.
- Use the same outside method for growing it in pots indoors, but be sure to water them regularly to keep the soil moist.
Mint thrives well both in the sun and partial shade, as long as the soil is kept moist. Keep in mind that mint is a vigorous plant that needs to be controlled to prevent it from spreading all over your garden.
- Harvest mint leaves at any size of your choice, or wait until the leaves bloom and when the flavour is more intense. You should start sprouting after 3 to 4 weeks of planting cuttings or between 6 to 8 weeks of planting seeds.
- You can cut the whole plant or just the first or second set of leaves. Frequent harvesting of your mint is key to keeping your plants fresh and at their best.
- Wrap leaves gently in paper towels and keep them in the fridge. Do not wrap tightly, as the loss of moisture will cause your herbs to wilt and wither.
- You can also place them in a plastic bag. Do not seal all the way so air can circulate in the bag and refrigerate.
- Trim off the stem and place it in a glass or bowl filled with about one inch of water.
There you have it, your mint, ready for use. Join us in subsequent editions as we explore more productive activities in backyard gardening. In the meanwhile, we’d love to see photos of your mint gardens.
Contact Qualiseed Limited on Facebook or any seed shop near you for your mint seedlings