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Prices of commodities have been escalating lately. Food prices are soaring. Can you reduce the price of your food? How about growing your own vegetables? Why not? Watching the vegetables grow can be a delightful experience and it is a wonderful experience to harvest your own ladies' fingers, brinjals, chillies, tomatoes, long beans, kangkong, sawi, etc. in your own backyard. These local vegetables can thrive well in hot conditions and in any kind of soil. No space in your backyard? Plant them in pots that are available cheaply and abundantly in our own country. All it needs is a little enthusiasm and energy on your part.

You can start your vegetable planting by identifying a spot in your garden which has good sunlight. Sunlight is important for local vegetables to grow healthily. Be aware of shadows from buildings, walls and trees as your vegetable plants need at least six hours of direct sunlight per day to yield a satisfying crop. Some days will be sunnier than others but aim for a minimum of six hours of full sun on average. The spot can be near your kitchen for your own convenience.

Next, visit the nearest hardware store and choose from a variety of vegetable seed packets and read the requirements. You can also get a seedling from a nursery, friend or family member. I usually get mine from my uncle who is an avid gardener. Go shopping for a variety of pots at nurseries. Watch out for bargains and also go window shopping. Bargain for cheaper prices. If you buy many pots at one shop, you can bargain for a lower price. Buy large containers to facilitate the easy growth of vegetables. It is advisable to use plastic pots with small holes for adequate drainage and root growth.

Also, buy a mixture of good quality soil like vermiculite, sphagnum peat moss, compost bark, perlite and fertilizer. Do not use garden soil as it could be riddled with bugs and insects that may eat the vegetable sprouts. You can, however, choose hydrophonics if you are adverse to earthworms, bugs and insects. Hydrophonics is a contemporary way of cultivating plants without having to use soil. Many people wonder how it can be done since soil is an essential component to a plant's nourishment. This is not a new idea as the famous Hanging Gardens of Babylon was created using a form of hydrophonics. The key is nourishment. Just about any plant can be grown with hydrophonics. As long as the plant is properly nourished, whatever the means, it will be healthy. As a beginner, my advice is to stick to planting vegetables in soil as it is easier and convenient for a novice.

Once you have got your young plant in a plastic bag, dig a hole in the identified spot. Ensure that the hole is at the right depth to match the height of the plastic bag your seedling is in. The hole must not be too deep or too shallow. Next, cut the plastic bag carefully and ensure that you do not cut the young roots. Place the plant in the hole neatly. I usually say a little prayer when I place my plant in the hole. It has always given me healthy-looking plants with larger fruits and greener vegetables. I also know of a friend who sings to her plants to ensure a healthy growth. She too has succeeded in producing plants with good yields.

If you are using a flowerpot, fill three quarters of it with soil. Then make a hole with your hands or use a spade. Next lower the plant into the hole after the plastic has been cut. Whatever method you choose, remember to handle the plants with care. As living things they respond to love and tender touch just like a baby. Then cover the hole with soil you have removed earlier. Press the soil down firmly with your hands. Add more soil if your plant is in a pot.

Then place some wet mulch all round the plant. The wet mulch must be really wet and hold enough water for the plant to grow healthily for the next few weeks. The mulch will provide protection as well as nutrients for the roots. Water the seedling frequently and make sure there is proper sunlight for photosynthesis to occur.

Growing your own vegetables may be one of the most rewarding additions to your family meals. Now you do not have to use tasteless tomatoes from the food store anymore. And if done correctly, you will be rewarded with fresh vegetables all year round.

Answer the following questions using complete sentences

From paragraph 1

a) what can you derive when you grow your own vegetables ?

b) which kind of soil is conducive for growing local vegetables ?


From paragraph 3

a) why are larger pots better ?

b) what is the advantage of using plastic pots ?


From paragraph 4,

a) why is it advisable not to use garden soil ?

b) what is hydrophonics ?


From paragraph 5,

a) why is it important to be careful when cutting the plastic bag ?

b) what is the function of the mulch ?

  5. In your opinion, do you think plants need love and care ?
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a) A delightful experience

b) Any kind of soil



a) To facilitate the easy growth of vegetables

b) They offer adequate drainage and help root growth.



a) It is riddled with bugs and insects that may eat the vegetable sprouts.

b) It is a contemporary way of cultivating plants without having to use soil.



a) So as not to cut the roots

b) It will provide protection as well as nutrients for the roots.



As plants are living things, they respond positively to love and tender care.


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Comprehension 1


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