Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Growing corn in the city

It’s that time of the year again!
Port Moresby, which has an arid year-round climate, turns green as the rains come tumbling down.
The dry, barren hillsides around the nation’s capital are transformed into lush vegetable gardens.
Ordinary men, women and children are suddenly transformed into backyard gardeners.
All forms of gardening are rewarding and satisfying.
But vegetable gardening - largely because the gardener can be in charge of the whole operation from seed collection to consumption - is possibly the most-rewarding.
In addition, well-grown home-produced vegetables cannot be matched for flavour and nutritional value.
And with care, considerable savings – especially in an expensive city like Port Moresby – in the family’s food budget are possible.
Vegetable gardening is also one of the easiest ways to get into small business, especially for the much talked about ‘informal sector’.
During this  brief respite during the December to March period, when the rain comes down in buckets, vegetables – especially corn – abound all over the capital city.
The exceptional downpour so far this year has been a boon for corn growers.
The surplus means that the smell of freshly-barbequed corn wafts through the air at just about every street corner in the national capital.
Depending on your tastes, you can also opt for the boiled or mumu-ed variety.
The demand for corn seeds create queues at many gardening shops in Port Moresby, such as major agricultural supplier, Brian Bell.
As early as 7am, a long line of people gather in front of the Brian Bell Plaza at Boroko and the Home Centre at Gordons to buy their supplies of corn seeds.
During this period, corn gardens can be seen all over the city, including precarious hillsides.
The early birds bought their corn seeds from Brian Bell late last year – before the big rain – and immediately started sowing them at their homes.
In a little over two months, you find it amazing when seeds a quarter the size of your thumbnail grow to over six feet.
And when you see the silks and the cobs, you wait in eager anticipation for scrumptious corn on your dinner plate.
You’ve never tasted corn until you’ve tasted home-grown corn!
The cobs from the market, or worse the frozen and canned corn from the supermarket, truly pales in comparison to fresh home-grown corn on the cob.

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