With climate change and unpredictable consumer demand, it’s important for farmers to diversify their products. More storms, stronger winds, and hotter temperatures may cause more diseases and pest infestations in the future. Epidemics like COVID-19 might influence people to stay more at home and hoard up on vegetables like lentils and garlic that can keep for weeks.
If we grow only one type of vegetable, we expose ourselves to more risks when these unexpected changes happen. Your farm might grow only gazunywet (watercress) but because the markets are closed, no distributor wants to buy your vegetables. But if we grow more than one type of vegetable, we give ourselves more flexibility to sell to different types of customers and keep business going.
Of course, how many different kinds of vegetables you can grow on your farm will depend on how much land you have and who you want to sell to. But there are creative ways to grow different vegetables together, even if your land might just be half an acre.
You could combine leafy greens with climbers like beans and tomatoes in the same area to maximise output.
You could grow more than one variety of a vegetable, so for example 3 different varieties of chilis.
You could plant hardy plants like chili, suboteywet (acacia), kimunchin as a fence for your farm. They’ll keep dogs and strangers out and also give you extra income.
By growing different types of vegetables, you might even learn that the new vegetable you’re planting earns you more than the old vegetables. That would be a positive investment of your time and money.