“The most difficult thing about being a gardener is watching plants you have nurtured with love die from reasons totally out of your control.” – Omolabake of Vie Garden Hub
We are excited to learn about the creative force behind Ounje Aladun – Tell us about yourself and what inspired you to start Ounje Aladun?
My name is Omolabake Bode-Matthew. I am a foodie, an entrepreneur, and a gardener. It is funny; I remember being a picky eater as a child but I started being more adventurous with food in my teens when I was in charge of what we cooked in the kitchen. I started journaling my food adventures after joining the group SYTYCC (So You Think You Can Cook) on Facebook. Then I went on to create my own food page, and was encouraged to start a blog and blog about my recipes. That’s how ounjealadunView.com came about in 2015.
Most of your food ingredients come from your garden – How did you start gardening, what inspired it?
I love fresh herbs and vegetables, it is a habit I got from my grandma, and I will go ahead and share a back story with you. At 8, I became the youngest unofficial member of the Decor Team in Glory Tabernacle- the church I was raised. The team was responsible for the beautification of the church using horticulture and landscaping. Older members took me under their wings and nurtured me, they would often give me plants and seedlings to take home. My maternal grandma of blessed memory was an avid gardener. I was always a willing and excited garden helper, and she let me. I’d like to believe I inherited my gardening genes/traits from her. When we were the only ones living in the house at Orita -Challenge, she planted a garden behind my mum’s kitchen. We had it for years; we grew lime basil, efirin, peppers, snake gourd, vegetables like shoko, tete, gbure, igbó, igbá, ewedu, okro, etc.
My dad eventually moved the garden to the back by the well when the rest of the house became occupied by tenants. He planted bananas, plantains, an orange tree, and a tangerine tree. But those trees grew the worst citruses I’ve ever tasted; they were no good. I became a member of the Naija Gardening group later.
Although I got married in a garden and love being around nature, I didn’t grow anything in my adult years until June 2017. I was ill for about a week, but I suddenly got up and decided to start planting again. The next day, I bought my first set of plants that set me on the journey that has brought me thus far, which is Vie Garden Hub.
What’s the most difficult thing about being a gardener?
Watching plants you have nurtured with love die from reasons totally out of your control.
We would like to know more about the Vie Garden Hub, share more information about the neighborhood park with us.
Vie Garden Hub is a garden center located on 10-12 road in E Forthright Estate behind Punch Magboro, off Lagos Ibadan Expressway. The center was created to attract both garden enthusiasts and non-garden enthusiasts. We have created an ambiance with nature where you can relax, hang out with friends in the cool outdoors, and observe pollinators like butterflies, bees, and birds do their work with nature. For garden enthusiasts, you can shop for a wide array of ornamental, edible, herb plants and fruit trees while soaking in a beautiful ambiance.
Do you think Lagosians can have indoor or in-kitchen gardens? If yes, what do they need to know or have before starting?
Absolutely. I recommend everyone has a green lung in their homes – indoors or outdoors. Plants not only provide us with food, but they also produce the oxygen we breathe in.
Plants need light air and good potting soil to grow, so to have an indoor kitchen, ensure you have a great source of natural light coming in or grow lights. Grow lights are gardening lights created to simulate the good spectrum of light from the sun that the plant needs to grow. Ensure you have nutrient-rich, well-draining soil and pot/containers that have drainage holes for excess water to drain out.
What is the easiest food produce to plant?
Herbs and vegetables are relatively very easy to grow from seeds to maturity.
In honor of International Tea Day, tell us more about your homemade tea and its advantages.
Ah! How do I describe how soothing and warming drinking teas you brewed from your own garden can be? The confidence of knowing what went into the entire cultivation process especially if you are practicing organic gardening. Knowing that the plants were not exposed to harmful chemicals, fertilizers, or pesticides. From plucking your leaves to knowing that the nutrients are preserved to brewing/infusing them to draw tea. Brilliant.
Tell us one fruit/herb/ or spice essential to have in the kitchen or at home and why?
It is hard to pick, but I would select Basil for its versatility. The two most common ones are curry leaf which is a lime basil and scent leaf (Ocimum gratissimum: Efirin in Yoruba, Nchanwu in Igbo), which is a bush basil. They both can be used as spice in many local soup recipes.
Where do you envision Vie Garden Hub to be in the next 5 years?
Okay, I would want my brand not only to be a household name, but I’d like to know that we have made an impact on how people view food and help make people more conscious about tending to nature and growing their own food.
If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
I would love to contribute to more sustainable agricultural practices.
Keep up with Omolabake on Instagram @Vie Garden Hub to learn more about the gardening life