Sack gardening (St. Lucas Institute Ghent / Willem Van Cotthem)

The construction of an interim vegetable garden on a former playground, to be transformed into new workplaces by the St. Luke Architecture School of Science & Arts, offered a group of motivated bachelor students of the course Interior Architecture a chance to accept the “green challenge”. Armed with shovels and rakes, potting soil and seeds, garden guides, sketch paper and a laptop, a paved, polluted and overgrown piece of the city was transformed into an outdoor studio where sun and rain determine the daily rhythm of life .

Thus, future interior designers could study how gardening and ‘a garden as a workshop’ can be integrated into their profession.

How to garden successfully in your own house?

The designing of this experimental garden as a house of weed and food (* HOW, House of Weed) was the first step. Taking stock of a collective inventory of the stored resources, both materials and knowledge of the students, was the basis for detailed zoning and designing the garden. Separate teams studied spatial aspects such as the greenhouse, the terrace, the vertical garden, the hanging gardens, the concrete surface, the flower field and the zoo.

During the gardening activities and numerous confrontations with obstacles (soil too heavily roots and contaminated, weather too dry , too much shade, too little suspension points, not enough wood, radishes growing too slowly, escaping chickens, garden hoses too short, etc. ), the students developed an individual design-based research and a project-proposal, resulting from the HOW-experience.

Finally, the harvest will be shared: cooking together, eating together, partying together, … with students, neighbors, friends, helpers and members of the jury.

And with a wider audience through a weblog



Most of the plants can be grown in sacks filled with potting soil. Photos taken by students “HOW-WORKSHOP”.

2011 - Bags filled with potting soil and sown (Photo St. Lucas Institute Ghent - Belgium)
2011 - Seedlings growing in bags (Photo St. Lucas Institute Ghent - Belgium)
2011 - Turnips, raddishes, onions etc. can easily be grown in these bags (Photo St. Lucas Institute Ghent - Belgium)
2011 - Groups of bags with different vegetables form a nice little garden on concrete. Above : hanging flower pots. (Photo St. Lucas Institute Ghent - Belgium)

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

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