In Summary

The home of the Twino family is beautifully surrounded with magnificent vegetable and herbal gardens. Enid Twino opens up on why she decided to enclose her home with edible plants.

The surroundings at the Twino family residence is breathtaking. For starters, the green lawns, on the front yard, are well-manicured. Secondly, the residence, which is situated in Bulindo-Kira municipality, is surrounded by beautifully maintained vegetable, fruit, herbal gardens, and flowers.

Some of these (vegetables, fruits and herbs) are grown as part of the house’s natural fences while others are grown in some of the available spaces surrounding the house. There are also those grown in containers placed around the house.

This attractive residence belongs to John Twino, 77, and Enid Twino, 63. The now retired couple have been married for the past 43 years. The garden setting was entirely Enid Twino’s idea and for our interview, she is by herself answering every question.

The vegetables and herbs
A short distance away from the entrance of the main house’s front door is a hedge of growing rosemary, a perennial herb with green pointed leaves. “Whenever I am cooking and want to add some spice to my food including soup, I just walkover to this hedge, pluck some rosemary and then add it to whatever I am preparing,” she says.
According to Twino, rosemary gives the food a sensational aroma and taste.

Plastic containers
In some of the plastic containers surrounding the house, Twino grows other kinds of herbs such as chives, oregano, marjoram and parsley, among others. These are also used as spices during cooking. For tea, Twino grows lemon grass and mint plants.
Some of the vegetables Twino grows on her back and front yard gardens include green leaves such as spinach and lettuce. Not forgetting, one will also find fruits such as mangoes, oranges, jackfruits and strawberries.

Among the reasons why she opted to grow vegetables, fruits and herbs at home, Twino says it is in order to promote a healthy eating and living. She started growing them right back from 2002. “I grow my own greens and fruits without using any chemicals or pesticides,” she says, adding, “I don’t like the idea of buying them from other suppliers because of the different unhealthy ways farmers grow them. I always have a negative feeling that those on the market were sprayed with all sorts of chemicals when they were growing hence unfit for human consumption.”

The other reason, is greens and fruits are always sold expensively on the market, therefore, the idea of growing her own is to minimise costs.

Edible garden enhancing beauty
In addition, Twino adds is utilising her home surroundings and that, the edible gardens add a natural beauty to the home. “Most of the visitors I have received in the past have fallen in love with this place. They like the green scenery especially during the rainy season when plants grow and mature fast,” she says.

Since Twino does not use chemicals during the growing process, she relies on mostly animal manure, which she mixes together with decomposed plants and black soil.

Earning a living
For most of the time, the harvested vegetables, fruits and herbs are for home consumption. However, over the years, Twino has also gotten a number of clients buying her organic produce mostly the vegetables.
“I always have people calling and sending me messages requesting that I make deliveries. Sometimes, the requests get so overwhelming to the extent that I am unable to supply to everyone,” she says.

From this experience, Twino has learnt that many people are settling for plant-based diets for various health reasons. “The demand for fresh, chemical-free natural produce is high,” she says.

Managing challenges
During the dry season, Twino frequently waters the plants to prevent them from withering.
Besides withering during dry spells, which affects the beauty of her plants, Twino says, she also has to deal with pests and diseases that sometimes takes a toll on her vegetable garden. “And because I don’t rely on chemicals to spray, the losses can tend to be so huge,” she says.

To manage, she uses a combination of tobacco, chilly and garlic. She pounds these three and sprays the plants. She also uses a combination of washing soap and salt. “I soak the soap in water, add salt to the soapy water then spray,” she explains.

Other than that, Twino says she does the basic by looking after tendering to the vegetables thoroughly well.

Blending variety
Besides the vegetables and fruits, Twino’s house is also surrounded by flowers including the lantana camara and hibiscus blossoming around the residence. There is also small bamboo and palms. Twino says these add more beauty to the home especially with their respective vibrant colours.

Twino’s advice to homeowners
She advises other homeowners to utilise any available home space for either growing a vegetable garden or flowers. “These will add a beautiful scenery to your home,” she says.
Who is Twino?
• Enid Twino, a graduate of Science (Botany and zoology), is the founder of the group, Urban Fresh Harvest, which consists of a group of members, who grow different organic foodstuffs and market their produce together.