My comment to Paul Duxbury’s “Potager” (Willem)

Already published on my desertification weblog on May 4, 2007

My comment to Paul Duxbury’s “Potager”

May 4, 2007

Posted by willem van cotthem in gardening kids, desert/desert gardening, women/youth and desertification, container/bottle gardening, land / land degradation, success stories – best practices, agriculture, forestry, ecology – environment, water. trackback , edit post

I like Paul’s contribution very much (see the former message on this blog). Although it contains mainly some general views on the matter, it may invite some people to start “potagering” at home. Well done, Paul !

Let me just make a comment on one sentence : “Most potagers are grown in raised beds that allow better control over the drainage and reduce the chance of the vegetables from becoming waterlogged.“. Alright, but !

I am very much in favor of setting up a vegetable garden in containers instead of in full garden soil, and this for a couple of reasons. Firstly, many people do not have the pleasure of disposing of an open gardening space. When Paul says : “Potagers are particularly good for people who live on smaller lots of land or only have room for a small garden“, I am adding : “and for all those living in apartments, and having some space for a number of containers“.

That vegetable gardens (potagers) can be developed in all kinds of containers has already been discussed on this blog (see my former messages on “container gardening” and “bottle gardening“).

We will soon be applying these interesting gardening types for our UNICEF ALGERIA project in the Sahara desert in order to grow several kinds of vegetables and even young fruit trees in plastic bottles and plastic bags. In doing so, the Saharawis people, living in the refugee camps in S.W. Algeria, will be able to avoid excessive evaporation when growing vegetables and fruit trees in the Sahara sand. Thus, they will save a lot of irrigation water and obtain a maximum of food production with a minimum of water and labour.

Secondly, we will recycle a large number of bags and bottles for an interesting activity in family gardens and school gardens, thus eliminating a lot of plastic from the environment. Kids will learn at school that plastic should not dwell around in nature, but that it can be used for food production (or flower production if you want so). Used bags and bottles will be buried when planting the young trees, thus again avoiding too much plastic from spoiling the landscape (pollution).

Isn’t this a nice extension of Paul Duxbury’s potager type ?


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Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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