Only yesterday, they looked pale and dying. Then came the rain and everything turned around. The grasses now wear a smile and wave at you in the morning. We are back they tell you with balls of water dancing on their petals. That is the magic of rain. A breath of life, a seed of hope. Life from the valley of death. Death from the blistering heat of the dry season.
To some of us, the wet season is the real deal. The joy of seeing the clouds turning dark from snow white and grey is unmatchable. The whooshing of the wind announcing the triumphant coming of the rain. The majestic voice of thunder mimicking the voice of the Supreme Power. People scampering to get home or some shelter before its starts to pour.
Then comes the staccato drumming on the roof. A sudden halt and a furious pounding of everything over ground. But when the rain has had its fill, we have a serene morning or night with a sweet fragrance of lavender. Even the Sun comes to cheer and leaves us with a rainbow.
Certainly, one therapy of the rain, shared by all as it happens. But as rain water goes below the ground, it beseeches all to sow a seed. Will you sow a seed this season? The farmers are already off to work. What about you, yes you?
Do you leave in a stand alone house or in an apartment complexes with some space to spare. What excuse do you have not to plant something? Are you an estate developer? What excuse do you have not to plant both shade and fruit trees.
Built-up environment needs trees. Trees create shades and help to lower direct and radiant heat. Trees break destructive winds and lower or eliminate their impact on properties, especially the roofs of buildings. Trees provide oxygen rich air which keeps us healthy.
The good part is that you can plant something that will do all of the above and also offer you some to eat. That is the ultimate. You do one thing and get many others free.
Compounds totally covered with cement tiles are a bad thing for both the environment and living. A tiled up space increases heat and makes life less comfortable.
What can you plant? The options are many. The choice is yours according to how much space you can play around with. Mango will provide shade as well as something to eat. So is cashew and orange.
What specie do you want to plant? It is up to you. There are local species and improved species. Local species take more space at maturity but provide a lot of shade. Improved species are very productive, occupy little space but provide little shade.
Where would you get improved species from? If you live in Abuja, you can get directly from the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) in Lugbe along the airport road. There you will meet exciting and wonderful people like Bablola Oladele, Monday Aliyu, Arotiba Adeola and Joseph. They will open your eyes to things you can plant and eat at home.
You can also get nursed plants from the many commercial gardens scattered all over the city. All you need to do is to determine exactly what you want and search for it wherever you live in the country.
Why should you take the hubby of planting things seriously? There is a certain joy in seeing a little effort pay off big time. Home farming of any kind does not involve strenuous work. You simply plant, water and viola, something to eat comes up. Nothing beats the feeling of waking up and like our great grand parents, reaching up a tree to pluck and eat a fresh fruit whose source and safety you know.
I have a very small planting space that is one meter wide and 80 meters long. From that little space, I have cultivated banana, plantain, pawpaw, mango, cashew, bitter leaf, ugwu, okra, avocado, lime, yam and orange.
For the past three years, I have not spent a dime on buying banana. This year, cashew and mango joined that list. For this season, I am experimenting with planting high breed tomatoes in containers. Come to think of it, a small basket of tomatoes cost N3000 here in Abuja.
Let’s reduce hunger. Reducing hunger is one of the objectives of the millennium development goals. If everyone who can, plants something, there will be something available to eat to push back the pain of hunger.
So, will you plant something this season? Let’s make it a yes and compare notes as we go along.