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The beauty and significance of a school garden

Photo credit: Inquirer.net

THIS vegetable garden at Bonuan Boquig Elementary School in Dagupan City, tended with the help of Grade V and VI pupils, shows visitors the ways of growing food in limited areas. WILLIE LOMIBAO/ CONTRIBUTOR

See the bottle towers along the building and the horizontal bottles (left)

This school garden responds to community’s food needs

by Gabriel Cardinoza, Yolanda Sotelo | Inquirer Northern Luzon

DAGUPAN CITY—The backyard of the Bonuan Boquig Elementary School here is a cornucopia of vegetables grown in discarded oil cans and plastic soda bottles, which are stacked neatly in rows or hang vertically from chicken wire fences. One of the fences is lined with pechay sprouting out of discarded rubber boots filled with soil.

The school’s main pathway leads to a vertical garden tower of recycled containers planted with tomatoes, eggplants and okra.

This poor man’s hydroponic and aquaponic garden, which is tended with the help of Grade V and VI pupils, exposes visitors to ways of growing food in areas without big farmlands.

The garden was built two years ago by school principal Manuel Ferrer, and was the school’s winning entry to the “Gulayan sa Paaralan” competition in this city. In November 2013, Ferrer embarked on a project to turn the empty spaces of the school yard into a vegetable garden.

I did this at the school where I was assigned before, and I wanted to show the students that it is possible to grow their own vegetables,” he said.

Ferrer was the principal for three and half years at Carael Elementary School here. That school’s garden also won the top prize of the Gulayan sa Paaralan contest for two successive years.

To city residents, the garden is a relaxing deviation. As soon as they see the tower garden set up in the 3-meter yard separating two school buildings, visitors immediately encounter 10 evenly spaced plastic drums, each pierced with neatly arranged holes from where romaine lettuce plants protrude for a taste of sun and air, and for easy harvesting.

At the top of the drums sit marigold shrubs, which are natural insect repellents.

Read the full article: Inquirer.net

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

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