I decided my first time living in a semi-arid desert climate was a good time to start a garden.
Omutete is a wild spinach type plant that grows in the northern part of Namibia. It’s sour and delicious and I’m addicted to eating it. After several months of relying on people to bring me my fix from the north of Namibia, I decided to begin cultivating my own stash. I came across some seeds at an open market in the North, and I was determined to make it work.
To give you an idea of what it’s like to grow things here in Outjo, I give you my paraphrased version of a parable from the bible. It is the one about a person who throws seeds on fertile soil and another person who throws seeds among rocks. The seeds in the fertile soil spring up, but the ones in the rocks shrivel and die. Outjo is the rocks in this metaphor. With very little dirt, and none of it fertile, I had to import soil from the agriculture store.
Working in the location, I’ve noticed a lot of homes have tire gardens in order to avoid the rock problem. The tires are also nice for retaining the water. The troubling part about these gardens is that everybody grows flowers instead of vegetables. There’s nothing more frustrating than entering the house of a malnourished child that’s surrounded by flowers and other inedible plants.
Next week I’m going to a Peace Corps permagardening workshop to upgrade my skillz. That way I can make ‘garden in the rocks part 2’ even better, and maybe help some people switch from flowers to vegetables like omutete. There really is nothing like food fresh from the garden.