Sankofa Garden Homes: Starting an above-ground garden

Sankofa Home Gardens
Sankofa Home Gardens

The Dallas Examiner

Last month, I introduced you the Sankofa Bird image and the Sankofa Adinkra symbol. This month, I would first like to expand on the Sankofa Adinkra symbol above. The reason is that from this point on, the Adinkra symbol will represent Sankofa Garden Homes.

The Adinkra is one that we have seen for years in doors, windows, gates and furniture. This symbol was introduced to America by an African blacksmith. Like the Sankofa Bird, it means “It is not taboo to fetch what you left behind.” As I come to you monthly, we want to reach back and reclaim many of the agricultural skills our ABA – meaning Africans who Built America – ancestors possessed. As DABA – meaning Descendants of Africans who Built America – people, we will reclaim our “green heritage” by growing garden around our homes as our ABA ancestors did.

The Adinkra will not only be a symbol, but will become a part of how we decorate our homes and a part of our attire as a constant reminder that “if they did it before, we can do it again.”

Secondly, I would like to show you how easy it is to start a Sankofa Garden at your home. Many of you may be thinking, “I don’t have the tools to dig up the ground, or it is too labor intensive.” Let me dispel both of these frustrations. Sankofa Garden Homes will not require a lot of tools, nor will it be labor intensive. The gardens we will construct are “above-ground gardens.” That means no digging in the ground and few tools. You will have to add to your soil mixture periodically.

Before we construct the above-ground garden, I would like you to identify four things. First, find the east side of your home; this is where the sun rises. Your garden will need plenty of sunlight. Secondly, identify an area where you can replace the grass with your garden. Third, identify a source of water. And fourth, identify a place you can create a compost pile. This is where you will collect leaves, grass and vegetable pilings to help fertilize your garden. Compost piles need not be complex. Research or do an online search on garden compost for more information.

Now that you have identified four important elements for your Sankofa Garden, let’s get started. To ensure success and not create a garden too large, I recommend constructing a 5-by-5-foot garden. You will need four 5 ft. long two-by-six boards. You can purchase 10 ft. boards and have them cut at Home Depot. Treated wood lasts longer but costs a little more. Nail them together, making a perfect square. This will create a garden box that can be duplicated as needed as your garden grows. Be sure to put enough space between them to allow for easy harvesting.

Next, turn you garden box over and staple black Weed Block material to the bottom, being sure to let the material wrap over the edges so grass and weeds cannot grow in the garden. Once you have made your five-by-five garden box, it is now time to place it in the sunny spot you selected.

Pull as much grass and weeds from the spot as possible before placing it in place. Once in place, fill your box with a mixture of organic growing soil and fertilizer. You can mix your compost in once you have developed your pile, which will take about three to four months. Be sure to water and turn your compost regularly.

Now that your garden box is ready, it is time to plant. In Texas, between Aug. 25 and Oct. 15, I would recommend planting collard greens, turnip greens, cabbage, broccoli or kale. All of these are hearty healthy green vegetables that will yield high-volume crops.

I would recommend planting four rows, sprinkling your seeds lightly down the rows. Once they start growing, you can thin your garden out. As your greens grow, be sure to pick from the bottom so the new growth can grow from the top. By planting in close rows, you get a greater yield and more tender plant. As you pick your greens, freeze some for the winter days ahead.

To ensure that you garden is completely organic and GMO-free, you can purchase seeds from Trinity Haymarket LLC, located at 1715 Market Center Blvd. in the Designer District. Tell Bill or Fred that Professor Freedom referred you.

As you create your Sankofa Garden Home, be sure to email your garden story and pictures to me. Until next month, Good Sankofa Gardening.

Sankofa Education Services is provided by Clarence Glover, known as Professor Freedom, for the purpose of “Taking the chains off our brains, so our minds can work.” He can be reached at clarencegloverjr@aol.com.

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