‘If it Can Hold Dirt, It Can Hold a Plant’ (Google / The Gleaner)

2007-06-03 - American oak (Quercus rubra) sapling growing in a plastic bottle (Photo WVC)
2007-06-03 - Growing tree saplings and vegetables in different types of plastic bottles (Photo WVC)

Read at : Google Alert – container gardening


Taking container gardening to new heights

Christopher Serju, Gleaner Writer

HELLSHIRE, St Catherine:

THE CONCEPT of container gardening – using usually recycled inexpensive containers filled with suitable soil mix to cultivate crops or flowers in a controlled environment – is not new. History shows that the legendary Hanging Gardens of Babylon – one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World – is one of the finest such examples.

However, under the guidance of head science teacher, Gosline Green, Cumberland High School in St Catherine is taking the concept to another level under the theme ‘If it Can Hold Dirt, It Can Hold a Plant’.

While using plastic bottles, car tyres and other regular items, the school recently had on display a thyme plant growing from an old discarded sneaker. That’s how serious the teachers and students are about sticking to their theme.

Cumberland was one of 20 schools from Kingston, St Andrew and St Catherine which participated at the fifth Hellshire Enviro Fair hosted by the Urban Development Corporation at the Two Sisters Caves in Hellshire, St Catherine, a week ago. In addition to providing students with an educational field trip where they were exposed to one of Jamaica’s most fascinating natural geological sites, the competition is causing positive behavioural change among them.

Grade-nine student Othniel Brown told The Gleaner that, while the core group is comprised of students, he is hopeful that their work will inspire more students at his school to come on board to address the global problem of improper waste disposal.

“How the idea came about is that people all over the world always throw away these things in the gullies and waste them. They pollute the environment and clog up the gullies … . So what we try to show them is that they can use these same items – buckets, old bottles. Instead of throwing them in the gully, they can clean them out and start planting in them,” related Brown.

He is also hopeful that through their efforts people will begin to recognise that, in addition to environmental gains, there are also potential economic spin-offs from container gardening.

Several benefits

“They can start a business at their home and (sometimes) they don’t have to go to the market.They can go outside their house and pick and use some of these foods,” advised Brown. “We are trying to tell the other students that this is a good thing and they are talking about it and taking it into consideration and they are seeing how they can help others,” he added.



2007-06-03 - Walnut sapling (Juglans regia) developing well in a bottle with inverted top in the bottom part, serving as water tank (Photo WVC)

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

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