Milk boxes : Remarkable containers for growing seedlings (Laura Ester PAVON / Fundacion Ecologica / Willem VAN COTTHEM)

Recently, I discovered a very nice photo of a boy showing seedlings grown in a remarkable container : a milk box.  The photo was published by Laura Ester PAVON.

2011-10 : This boy is carrying a milk box used as a container to produce bottle gourd seedlings (Photo Laura Ester PAVON)

At the Facebook page of the “FUNDACION ECOLOGICA LUZ DE LAS AMERICAS”, a Colombian foundation, I learned that Laura Ester PAVON had set up a pilot project with “Porongos” or bottle gourds :

“DESDE HACE UN PAR DE AÑOS, VENGO, EXPERIMENTANDO PARA PRODUCIR PORONGOS, DE TAMAÑOS IMPORTANTES, PARA VER QUE SE NOS OCURRE HACER CON LOS CHICOS.- HACE POCO PUDE CONSEGUIR, SEMILLAS DE VARIEDADES DISTINTAS, Y PREPARÉ PLANTINES PARA VER COMO REACCIONA, SI LOGRO PRODUCIR, PODRÉ PLANTAR CON LOS CHICOS APROVECHANDO LAS CAJAS DE LECHE.- UNA IDEA QUE ME DIERON ES LA DE HACER APLIQUES PARA ARTEFACTOS ELÉCTRICOS, Y LLAMADORES DE ANTELES”

Wikipedia tells us :Lagenaria siceraria or Lagenaria vulgaris, the calabash, bottle gourd, opo squash or long melon is a vine grown for its fruit, which can either be harvested young and used as a vegetable, or harvested mature, dried, and used as a bottle, utensil, or pipe. For this reason, the calabash is widely known as the bottle gourd. The fresh fruit has a light green smooth skin and a white flesh. Rounder varieties are called calabash gourds. They come in a variety of shapes, they can be huge and rounded, or small and bottle shaped, or slim and more than a meter long.  The calabash was one of the first cultivated plants in the world, grown not primarily for food, but for use as a water container. The bottle gourd may have been carried from Africa to Asia, Europe and the Americas in the course of human migration.[1] It shares its common name with that of the calabash tree (Crescentia cujete)”.

Here are some of Laura’s photos, showing that people all over the world can use very simple containers to produce seedlings of food crops or even saplings of fruit trees.  Our sincere congratulations go to Laura.

A simple and cheap technique that should be recommended everywhere.

2011-10 : A bucket full of bottle gourd seedlings, grown in milk boxes (Photo Laura Ester PAVON)
2011-10 - Bottle gourd seedlings in milk boxes (Photo Laura Ester PAVON)
2011-10 - Laura Ester opening a milk box with bottle gourd seedlings (Photo Laura Ester PAVON)
2011-10 - Laura Ester taking seedlings out of the milk box (Photo Laura Ester PAVON)
2011-10 - Planting the bottle gourd seedlings (Photo Laura Ester PAVON)
2011-10 - Planting the bottle gourd seedlings (Photo Laura Ester PAVON)
2008/02/02 - Bottle gourd fruit (Photo Laura Ester PAVON)

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

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