EnvironmentGood Food

Home Gardening in Jamaica, Part 1

Tools of the trade
Tools of the trade including starter cups, as we didn’t have any egg cartons at home for this round

Eating in Jamaica can be a challenging thing for people like myself with unusual (or as Karin puts it “weird”) taste. I’m a pescetarian (I eat fish and shellfish, but no meat), I don’t like eggs or tofu, I prefer savoury to sweet, and I’ll eat a whole jar of olives and then drink the juice. I find ital food to be incredibly bland and boring- eating a whole wheat dumpling with no salt in it is like filling your mouth with sawdust and glue, except glue tastes better.

Luckily, Kingston has undergone something of a food renaissance over the last several years, with an abundance of new restaurants and very well stocked supermarkets and speciality stores, but unluckily it’s fairly expensive to eat out and to shop beyond the standard Jamaican fare.

As a result of all these things, we cook a lot at home and try to recreate the dishes that we like, either from local restaurants or cuisine that is not available here (Mexican, Greek, Thai, etc.). Since fresh herbs and vegetables that aren’t prominent in the local palate play a big part in this, we decided that rather than paying a premium for them at the supermarket or from some of the niche farms that grow them here, we should really just grow our own.

So armed with gardening advice from my mum and my sister Amanda (who runs a community gardening NGO called Growing Hope), we headed off to Super Valu Home Centre in Liguanea, and about an hour later and $7,551.53 poorer, we’re ready to go!

The plan is to start with eight different crops, and then expand to more things as my thumb grows greener and when we get a greater variety of seeds. Check back for regular updates on our progress!

Potting Soil 1
We start off with some potting soil.
Potting Soil 2
Product of Jamaica, and half the price of imported potting soil! Coir dust, which I had to look up, is a byproduct of the coconut processing industry, and is apparently a great alternative to peat moss.
Pots + Composter
The pots on the left are 10″ in diameter, and the one on the right is 17″. We’re going to cut the bottom off of the large one and use it as our composter.
Tarragon, basil, onion, cilantro, thyme, parsley and chives. We’re probably going to do garlic instead of celery for now.
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  1. January 19, 2018 at 2:12 pm — Reply

    I just started gardening today, (I meant to start last year, but procrastination is like my bff).
    I’m using the bottom (1/4 or 1/3) of a barrel. I just made the holes in the bottom and filled it with soil (I’m pretty sure some worms are in there too).
    I’m planning to plant garlic, onions and thyme.
    I’m wondering if I can plant them all together in the same container, or will I need three separate containers. I’m already planning to cut another barrel next week, but I want to know if I really have to.
    Also, since it the rainy season now, is it a good idea to plant now, or should I wait?

  2. Sangee
    November 3, 2015 at 8:00 pm — Reply

    Hi Christoper
    Glad I stumbled upon your blog(or whatever it is called?). Just returned from Rapid True value with my 3rd bag of 4.5kg potting mix.
    I was checking the seeds rack and found two different brands offering almost same veggie and herb seeds at two different prices. I picked some from Ferry Mose and was very dicey at the cashing and returned the packets to the shelf. I was wondering if those were good result givers. I am a novice in gardening. Need some tips from you,if you have already tried these stuff in your garden.
    String beans, tomato, potato, zucchini .
    N.B: I am a vegetarian,so I have to stuff my plate with those apart from a little staples. I live in apartment system,so I can do only container gardening. I have been into this for the past couple of weeks and tried cilantro which is just coming up. And just planted used (bottom part of the ) scallion couple of days before. I planted some shoots from spinach a fort night before and it’s coming up too??????
    I love greens but my family is confined only to spinach. All I need is some gardening hacks and tips,tips and tips.
    I am really glad to see someone writing for what exactly I was looking for (ferry Mose)

  3. January 31, 2013 at 7:39 pm — Reply

    […] check out Yardedge’s posts about home gardening in Jamaica to get a start (so far there is part 1 and part […]

  4. January 26, 2013 at 8:12 pm — Reply

    […] the latest update in my home gardening adventure (see Home Gardening in Jamaica, Part 1). First and most excitingly for me, after one week I’ve got some little sprouts poking up […]

  5. Elvis
    January 21, 2013 at 3:55 pm — Reply


  6. Karin
    January 20, 2013 at 7:30 pm — Reply

    Thx. Christopher! Great post…looking forward to chomping on all those yummy herbs & spices!

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