IDEAS For Us | February 29, 2016

Solutions Fund Update: Urban Micro-Gardening Initiative

In December of 2015, IDEAS For Uganda received a $1,000 Solutions Fund Grant for an Urban Micro-Gardening Initiative in Kampala. Students from IDEAS For Makerere University designed an integrated waste management program meant to both reduce the quantity of waste in the capitals streets and address urban food security challenges by establishing mini-backyard, rooftop, and vertical gardens and composting systems.

Here’s an update from Project Leader Matovu Paul:


The IDEAS For Uganda urban micro-gardening project is flourishing despite the bad weather that comes during the dry season.  So far, the team at the demonstration site has planted 200 tomato Maxim F1 plants, carrots (worthy 100 kgs at harvest) and 100 cabbages which are at harvest stage now. Just last week, the volunteers harvested the first cabbage from the farm.

Our vertical farm is also performing well. So far, the tomatoes are healthy and growing vigorously, thanks to the vermi-composting system which provides them with worm castings! Sad to say, when it rained yesterday, the poor earthworms were running out of the vertical farm because of the too much water. This is because they breathe through their sides and their skin must be moist in order to take in oxygen and therefore their environment should be moist but not soggy at all times.”


  1. We have been able to recycle 250 plastic water bottles
  2. The cabbages are ready for harvest
  3. We have planted 200 tomatoes, with over 300 hundred tomato seedlings still in the nursery awaiting transplanting. The ones already transplanted are now flowering
  4. Ten volunteers have been effectively trained in vermi-composting
  5. Trails of the vertical farm have been well conducted.


  1. The dry season is causing us to use a lot of water to irrigate the plants
  2. Being in the middle of the city center, everything is costly! Nothing for free not even the banana leaves which increases our cost of production.
  3. The cabbages have suffered from a soil-borne disease which we are yet to identify. For now, all we know is that the disease is bacterial.
  4. Different birds come to feast on the cabbage hence causing damage. Even then, we understand that this has to happen in an ecosystem.
  5. Regarding the vertical farm, our carpenters and wood engineers have not yet been able to find an option  for the bearing system to enable the farm rotate freely.
  6. The high cost of timber for making the vertical farms

Next steps

  1. Establishing and rejuvenating the Farmers networks in kampala.
  2. Setting up a school garden at kasubi Parents Primary school
  3. Making more vertical farms
  4. Making another bed nursery for tomatoes
  5. Networking with NGOs to promote the vertical farm
  6. Planting onions and cucumber