Container gardening in Malawi (Patrick DIMUSA)

Read this personal message of Patrick DIMUSA :

“Dear Professor Willem,

I hope your wife is better now after that terrible brain stroke in October 2008.

I lost my job last month and I am back in my village.

After I learned about the significance of container gardening for rural people in the drylands from you,  Professor Willem, my life has changed for the better, because in otherwise useless plastic bottles and plastic bags I can now grow vegetables for offering fresh food to my family, as well as for beautifying my home with flowers.  At the same time I am keeping the environment around my house totally clean (no more littered bottles or bags).

My fellow villagers in Piyasani village in the outskirts of Lilongwe city are flocking around my house to learn about this new initiative.  In November, I started collecting tree seeds from the surrounding remaining forest. Now that the rain has started I am planning to set up a community nursery of tree seedlings using the container gardening method.  I hope to be able with this plan to donate  tree seedlings to one school, so that they are able to plant a school woodlot.  At the same time, this will motivate other schools to start the same initiative as it is one of the cheapest kinds of agriculture and afforestation methods for the poorest countries in Africa, as no financial resources are needed since you can do this prioject around your home with empty plastic bottles and plastic bags.

I have a lot of photos of this project to be send to you, Professor Willem, so that other people can see the importance of container gardening for a poor country like Malawi.

Apart from container gardening,  I am also doing vegetable farming at a small scale for sale and for feeding my family with nutritious meals.

However, I am looking for well-wishers and donors who can come forward and assist me in buying a piece of land, which shall become an education centre for container gardening in Malawi. Any one who is interested can either e-mail me at or call me on +2659028290.

May God bless you, Professor Willem, for introducing this container gardening method to the people of Africa.

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

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