Seychellois staying at home due to COVID-19 restrictions are increasingly turning into home gardening enthusiasts, an initiative supported by the local agricultural authority.
The principal secretary of Agriculture, Antoine-Marie Moustache, told SNA on Wednesday that in view of the surge in home gardening, the department has taken steps to support the initiatives.
“In the middle of last year, we re-launched the campaign ‘Every Home a Garden’. We wanted to encourage more people into home gardening and for them to produce a certain amount of food that they are consuming,” he said.
Moustache said that under the relaunched programme, the Ministry is also working with schools by providing shelters for gardening and agriculture.
Let’s Get Growing Seychelles is a new online page on Facebook that offers a space for those who want to share and promote their gardening with others.
“The idea came up from my own interest to learn more about growing food, whether it is from scraps that we simply discard as waste, growing from other plants, seeds or buying plants and nurturing them. Another area of interest is doing so in small spaces such as apartments where many of us live and options available such as vertical gardening. Also recycling items for pots such as coconut husks,” said Vesna Rakić.
In the near future, Rakić intends to develop a backyard market starting in her district of Beau Vallon, where growers can bring their plants for sale or trade and come together to share experiences.
Nilukshi Ekanayake, who is using the page to share her gardenings and harvest, said that she enjoys such social media pages as she can interact with other gardening lovers to share ideas and tips adding that “through such a page, I came to know that we can grow strawberry plants in Seychelles. I am very excited and I want to try that out now.”
Ekanayake said that through social media pages she can interact with other gardening lovers to share ideas and tips (Nilukshi Ekanayake) Photo License: All Rights Reserved
Ekanayake said that she posts pictures of her plants to encourage people to do gardening and “if they have any question regarding a type of plant that I have, I might be able to help them according to my experience.”
“Gardening has been my hobby and since lately many food items prices are going up, I thought of growing the most basic spices, herbs and salads myself. I love cooking, the benefit is that I don’t have to run to the market all the time to get the side ingredients and also gardening makes me relax,” she said.
Dan Lespoir, a longtime gardner, said that he has noticed more novices this year picking his brain on tips and troubleshooting.
“Since the stay at home measures were implemented, more people are coming to me for information on how to raise their crops and how to control pests. Sometimes I offer tips on the traditional ways, but sometime only chemicals would work as pests are becoming more resistant, and new ones are also being introduced,” he said.
For others, gardening is a good form of exercise.
Jude Marie of central Les Mamelles district told SNA that “as we go through these stressful times, it is important to give ourselves a breath of fresh air by being outdoors doing moderate exercise and a formidable way to do that is through gardening,”
“A few minutes of moderate gardening exercise such as making a bed or raking leaves in our hot tropical sun will help burn down some calories for sure. On top of that it is very therapeutic talking to your plants or crops” said Marie.