Children love your garden

Photo credit: New Haven Register

See how the kids grow as they ‘work’ in the family garden

By Lauren Knight


Gardening is a lot of work — it’s muddy and messy, and sometimes pests or weather can destroy best laid plans. So why bother? The benefits of gardening for children are many. Children learn responsibility, cause-and-effect, and a greater understanding and appreciation for nature and its workings.

A child who gardens has a better understanding of where her food comes from and an appreciation of the process and work that goes into producing healthy food. A seed patiently nurtured and protected will grow and produce and give back, and all that hard work can boost a child’s confidence. Plus, gardening is excellent physical activity: There’s tilling the soil, carting fresh compost by wheelbarrow, seed-planting, then weeding and watering and maintenance of the garden.

Another benefit to gardening is obvious: nutrition. Our boys are hesitant to eat many vegetables placed on their plates at dinner time, but they willingly and happily munch on fresh cucumbers, berries, snap peas, peppers, mint, basil, and even raw kale leaves they have plucked from the garden themselves. Sun-warmed cherry tomatoes are sweet as candy; sugar snap peas split open to reveal tender peas within.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of all was the discovery that our children would seek out the garden just to spend time there. There is so much life to explore! Crouched amid kale plants 3 feet high, they pick caterpillars off the leaves and collect them in small buckets. They gently scoop up ladybugs and earthworms to examine them. The occasional praying mantis brings shrieks of glee.

Read the full article: New Haven Register

Containers in the farm-to-table movement

Photo credit: Google

Ethnic restaurant Asian garden

Farm-To-Table Will Change Us [Opinion]

by Carol Miller

Unlike all the trends our industry has seen come and go, the farm-to-table movement has the power to rewrite our future.

A trend is like a wind that disturbs a pond but doesn’t reshape it. Take gazing globes, huge 10 years ago. They made our industry a lot of money, but their popularity faded, and we moved on, unchanged.

Container gardens had a bigger impact. They were a hit with customers who wanted instant gratification and with retailers who liked selling several products at once. They also reflected a changing customer base, who valued getting the visual impact of gardening without the work.

Home grown vegetables -
Home grown vegetables –

I want to take the time to unpack that thought. Container gardens’ popularity rose along with the flood of smart phones, big, immersive TVs and games like Candy Crush. People still eat out, go to theaters and, yes, garden. But they spend less time doing so.

So it can be argued that selling container gardens was a necessary adaption to our customers’ lifestyles.

Combo gardens had a bigger impact than gazing globes. But what gazing globes are to container gardens, that’s what combo gardens are to the farm-to-table movement.

Read the full article: Today’s Garden Center

Yes, we can be an urban gardener !

Photo credit: Wisma Kreatif

Being An Urban Gardener, Get Advantages To Container Gardening

By Incog Nito


Get Advantages To Container Gardening

Whether it’s to save money, an act of preparedness, or simply an incredible pastime, container gardening is a versatile and wonderful method of growing food for you and your household.


Container gardening is a simple method to garden, specifically when you do not have backyard area. With the increasing expenses of food and people having less to invest, increasingly more of people are amusing the concept of growing our own. Not all of us are lucky sufficient to live on a farm or have lots of acreage in the countryside. Numerous people keep an eye out of the window just to see the cement and brickwork jungle of the suburban or city spread.
Advantages Container Gardening:
  • You conserve a lot of money!
  • Its a great, gratifying and enjoyable pastime
  • Your food tastes So much better, and is more healthy and nutritious
  • You are less depending on grocery stores
  • Your home is transformed into a wonderful green Eden
  • You understand your food is not laced with pesticides and chemicals
  • You’ll get a much healthier and calmer way of living, and be more in-touch with nature
  • It’s a wholesome, instructional and exceptional activity for the children
  • You acquire important understanding and life-skills
  • Growing your very own food significantly lowers your carbon footprint

Read the full article: Wisma Kreatif

Alleviating food crisis with small gardens

Photo credit: Eng. Taleb Brahim 2008-02

Vegetable production in the Sahara desert

Eng. Taleb Brahim in Smara refugee camp (S.W. Algeria)

Family gardens, school gardens and urban gardening against the actual food crisis

by Willem Van Cotthem

Drought is described as a very important environmental constraint, limiting plant growth and food production. The World Food Program (WFP) has recently indicated drought in Australia as one of the major factors for the difficulty to deliver food aid to millions of people suffering from hunger and malnutrition. Drought is seen as the force driving up wheat and rice prices, which contributes directly to food shortage, social unrest and disturbances at the global level. Therefore, mitigating drought and limiting water consumption seems to be essential factors for resolving the actual food crisis and to find long-term solutions to malnutrition, hunger and famine, particularly in the drylands.

Application of water stocking soil conditioners, keeping the soil moistened with a minimum of irrigation water, and seeding or planting more drought tolerant species and varieties will definitely contribute to solve the food crisis. Scientists in China and the USA have recently discovered important genetic information about drought tolerance of plants. It was thereby shown that drought tolerant mutants of Arabidopsis thaliana have a more extensive root system than the wild types, with deeper roots and more lateral roots, and show a reduced leaf stomatal density. My own research work on the soil conditioning compound TerraCottem has led to similar conclusions : treatment with this soil conditioner induced enhancement of the root system with a higher number of lateral roots. More roots means more root tips and thus a higher number of water absorbing root hairs, sitting close to the root meristem. As a result, plants with more roots can better explore the soil and find the smallest water quantities in a relatively dry soil.

As the world’s population is growing by about 78 million people a year, it affects life on this earth in a very dramatic way. Droughts have caused a rise of food prices many times before, but the present situation is quite different, because it is based on specific trends and facts : the faster growing world population and a definite change in international food consumption trends and habits.

Promoted by Migeru

[editor’s note, by Migeru]

Some experts claim that “major investments to boost world food output will keep shortages down to the malnutrition level in some of the world’s poorer nations”, and that “improving farm infrastructure and technological boosts to farm yields can create a lot of small green revolutions, particularly in Africa”.

It seems quite difficult to believe that “major investments to boost the food output” will be able to “keep the food shortages down to the malnutrition level”, wherever in this world. Indeed, the world’s most famous research institutes have already developed very effective technologies to boost food production in the most adverse conditions of serious drought and salinity. Yet, not one single organization has ever decided, up to now, to use “major investments” to apply such technologies in large-scale programs, which would most certainly change the food situation in the world’s poorest nations.

It seems also difficult to believe that “improving farm infrastructure and technological boosts to farm yields” will be able to create “small green revolutions, particularly in Africa”. It is not by improving a farm’s infrastructure that one will manage drought. Although a number of technological solutions to boost farm yields have already been developed, only those tackling the drought problems are an option to create significant changes.

I do not believe that such changes can be realized at the level of large-scale farms. On the contrary, I am convinced that application of cost-effective, soil conditioning methods to enhance the water retention capacity of the soil and to boost biomass production in the drylands, is the best solution to help the poor rural people to avoid malnutrition and hunger, giving them a “fresh” start with a daily portion of “fresh vegetables”. These rural people, forming the group most affected by the food crisis, do not need to play a role in boosting the world’s food production. They simply need to produce enough food for their own family (“to fill their own hungry stomach”). Application of cost-effective technologies should therefore be programmed at the level of small-scale “family gardens” or “school gardens” and not at the scale of huge (industrial) farms, where return on investment is always the key factor for survival of the business.

Preferentially, major investments to boost the food output in the drylands should be employed to improve food production in family gardens and school gardens, in order to offer all rural people an opportunity to produce more and better food, vegetables and fruits, full of vitamins and mineral elements, mostly for their own family members or kids, partly for the local market.

Splendid examples of long-term combating food shortage with family gardens can be seen since 2006 in the refugee camps in S.W. Algeria (UNICEF project). One can only hope that such a success story will soon be duplicated in many similar situations, where hungry people wait for similar innovative and well-conceived practices, with a remarkable return on investment, laying solid foundations for further sustainable development.

Recently, a number of initiatives have been taken to enhance urban gardening space, not only with allotment gardens, but also with “guerilla gardening” and transformation of open, underused spaces into small-scale garden plots for downtown dwellers, apartment dwellers and even for university students like those at the McGill University in Montreal. Many poor urban people are very keen on harvesting their own crops in such small gardens or applying container gardening on balconies, terraces, rooftops or other unused open spaces. Support for urban agriculture or urban gardening can be seen as a priority for decision-makers to reverse the world’s food crisis.

Food aid, be it with billions of dollars, can only be very effective if priority is given to local food production for the poor rural or urban people, who can not afford to buy the expensive commercial food products in shops or supermarkets. Small-scale family gardens, school gardens, allotment gardens and urban gardens in unused open spaces should be our strategic counter-attack against the actual food crisis.

Article published in European Tribune

A simple question about hunger, a difficult answer (Willem Van Cotthem)

WITH ALL MY HEART / Met mijn hele hart :

A simple question about hunger, a difficult answer

Today, all over the developed world, important parts of the population are combating the economic crisis and in particular the food crisis by switching to production of fresh food. Produced at home, even in the smallest quantities, this “own fresh food” plays a considerable  role in the well-being of families, in particular of children.  Container gardening, vertical gardening, bottle towers, gardening on risers, balconies or windowsills, hydroponics, aquaponics, gardening in self-watering buckets, bags, sacks, crates, boxes, pots, guerilla gardening, edible forests, …, it are all different initiatives taken to alleviate  hunger and malnutrition problems.


A few weeks later the bottle towers produce a mass of fresh vegetables and herbs (Photo WVC)
In a small space, bottle towers produce a mass of fresh vegetables and herbs (Photo WVC)

The Best Homegarden Book (Marty WARE)

Read at :

Eco Urban Sustainability

The Best Homegarden Book for growing food at home!

A great educational book that has rave reviews!

The Book is called: Grow Vegetables: Gardens – Yards – Balconies – Roof Terraces
Right up our alley!
Check out the reviews below!

This review is from JRGC

This book is wonderful!!! This is my second year growing veggies and my first year with this book. I learned so much from this easy to read guide. The beginning general section taught me about crop rotation and sunlight and watering schedules.

The sections devoted to each type of vegetable are very informative and go into just enough detail to be really helpful bot no so much that it was over my head.
This is a great book for beginning veggie gardeners!!!

This Review is by Creative Soul “kksings”

Wow! What a great book! Large pictures on every page. Broken down in easy-to-find sections for each type of vegetable with brief, informative information (no latin names or scientific babble). This is for the beginner to expert with just the basics you need to grow veggies.

My main questions (that this book answered beautifully) was when a veggie is ready to harvest (describes perfectly) and also best planting/growing conditions for each plant. It also describes how to combat problems that can arise.

I HIGHLY recommend this book to everyone who is interested in growing vegetables in a small/large garden or small balcony or simply in pots. This book will be a reference book for me for years and years to come.

I have provide a link to acces this book on my Homepage below. You will be able to find this link about one third down.
If you really want to get serious and grow great food at home simply then check this out today!

Happy Gardening Marty


The Not Forgotten International Family Garden Project ( Kate LENZ / Phil HITTEPOLE)

These photos, taken in February-April 2010 in some of the family gardens in the Saharawis refugee camps near Tindouf (S.W. Algeria), show that the former UNICEF-project, nowadays called “The Not Forgotten International Family Garden Project”, is still a remarkable success three years later (sustainability !).  The idea for “Seeds for Food” was born in these refugee camps.

With a minimum of brackish irrigation water an important production of food crops is realized in the Sahara desert soil.  It’s  a nice contribution to the alleviation of child malnutrition in the camps.  These fresh vegetables and fruits are a highly valued supplement to the monthly food basket provided by the World Food Program (WFP), a positive contribution to the general health condition of the refugees.

IMG_0638 – 2010-02-06 – Saharawi Refugee Camp Smara – Greenhouse of Engineer Taleb Brahim with tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and fig cuttings (left). (Photographer : Phil Hittepole) 

IMG_0724 – 2010-03-15 – Saharawi Refugee Camp Auserd – Fatimatoo Hanoon tending young watermelons between rows of millet and barley. (Photographer : Phil Hittepole) 

IMG_0732 – 2010-03-15 – Saharawi Refugee Camp Auserd – Selma Khandood Mahmoud tending young watermelons between rows of millet and barley. (Photographer : Phil Hittepole) 

IMG_0733 – 2010-03-15 – Saharawi Refugee Camp Auserd – Engineer Taleb Brahim with Fatimatoo Ahmed Salem Adeed in her garden of watermelons and canary melons between rows of millet and barley. (Photographer : Phil Hittepole) 

IMG_0850 – 2010-04-22 – Saharawi Refugee Camp Auserd – Engineer Taleb Brahim and Mohamed Mas’aoud with Mineto El-Khatat in her garden of watermelons and canary melons between rows of millet and barley. (Photographer : Phil Hittepole) 

DSC03617 – 2010-04-28 – Saharawi Refugee Camp Auserd – Engineer Taleb Brahim posing in the garden of Mariam Mohamed Ali Taleb. Watermelons, Canary Melons, barley, and millet are being grown with fabric wind breaks to help protect the produce. (Photographer : Kate Lenz) 

DSC03663 – 2010-04-28 – Saharawi Refugee Camp Auserd – Watermelons in the garden of R’aba Mohamed Seedy, with her son. (Photographer : Kate Lenz) 

A family garden in Colotlan / Huerto familiar en Colotlán (Fabio RUIZ)

Corn was grown in this family garden during the rainy season. During the dry season, zucchinis will be seeded in this greenhouse made of recycled metal poles.

2010-11-24 - Family garden (Photo Fabio Ruiz)
2010-11-24 - Family garden (Photo Fabio Ruiz)
2010-11-24 - Family garden (Photo Fabio Ruiz)
2010-11-24 - Family garden (Photo Fabio Ruiz)
2010-11-24 - Family garden (Photo Fabio Ruiz)
2010-11-24 - Family garden (Photo Fabio Ruiz)
2010-11-24 - Family garden (Photo Fabio Ruiz)


Huerto familiar en Colotlán.

Después del maíz que se sembró en la temporada de lluvias  se plantarán calabacitas, para protegerlas se pondrán láminas o plástico en  este invernadero hecho con materiales que ya no se usaban.

Container gardening against hunger in the cities (City Farmers News / Udaipur Times / Willem Van Cotthem)

Read at :

City Farming in Udaipur – City of Lakes, India
Linked by Michael Levenston

Farming In City! Farming Without A Field! Is This possible?

September 8, 2010

This guest article is written by Mr. Manish Jain from Udaipur

It is not only possible, but it is a growing movement in Udaipur.  Shikshantar, a community organization, has been working with interested individuals to produce fruits and vegetables at their homes.  Healthy, holistic living is rare in the city, but now a clean, self-sustaining city is possible and growing our own food is a major step in this direction.

“We have built our homes over soil and greenery, so we should grow greenery on our terraces to replace what we have destroyed,” says Vishal Singh, a zero waste consultant, who has planted many plants on his terrace near Gantaghar.  Terrace space is often unused and gets plenty of sunlight – perfect for a terrace farm.  A terrace garden also keeps the house cool in the summer. The management students of Phoenix Business School have also developed a vegetable garden on their terrace near Suraj Pol.  However, terraces are just the beginning. Continue reading Container gardening against hunger in the cities (City Farmers News / Udaipur Times / Willem Van Cotthem)


Read at : UNNews


New York, Mar  5 2010  2:05PM

The United Nations, together with the Guatemalan Government and aid partners, today launched a $34 million appeal to counter food shortages affecting 2.7 million people living in the Central American country’s so-called ‘dry corridor,’ which even before last year’s drought had one of the highest rates of chronic malnutrition in the world.  The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (<“”>OCHA) said today’s appeal will complement national relief efforts and provide support for food, health, nutrition, agriculture and early recovery, as well as water, sanitation and hygiene projects for six months for some 680,000 people living in departments in the eastern section of the country, including the dry corridor – Jutiapa, Santa Rosa, Zacapa, Chiquimula, El Progreso and Baja Verapaz – and the neighbouring Izabal and Quiché. Global acute malnutrition among children under the age of five in the dry corridor and the two neighbouring provinces is at 11 per cent, and at 13 per cent among women of child-bearing age. Both figures are above the emergency threshold of 10 per cent.  The dry corridor had faced annual food shortages before, but this year, the situation is exacerbated by a combination of bad weather and bad economics.

El Niño-affected rainfall patterns in the country lead to high losses in hillside and subsistence agricultural production.

Meanwhile, rising food prices brought on by the global economic crisis, a decrease in remittances, cost increases for agricultural inputs and a decrease in employment opportunities for unqualified labour has led poorer people suffering from decreased capacities to access food and basic services.

The situation of Guatemala’s food shortages has received increased international attention. The World Food Programme (<“”>WFP) recently held a video competition about the 1 billion people hungry in the world and the two aspiring filmmakers who won the grand prize are heading to Guatemala to highlight the plight of the drought-ridden country’s people.

For more details go to UN News Centre at



Best practices to counter food shortages in dry regions, where child malnutrition is one of the main problems. Besides “national relief efforts and provide support for food, health, nutrition, agriculture and early recovery, as well as water, sanitation and hygiene projects for six months”(short-term relief), long-term solutions can be found in small-scale farming and gardening (BAN KI-MOON).  “Global acute malnutrition among children under the age of five” can be alleviated with small kitchen gardens in which container gardening contributes to saving water.

Even if “rising food prices brought on by the global economic crisis, a decrease in remittances, cost increases for agricultural inputs and a decrease in employment opportunities for unqualified labour has led poorer people suffering from decreased capacities to access food and basic services.”, low-budget investment in construction of family gardens and container gardening would lead to long-term and sustainable improvement in the living standards of the people in dry regions.

2008 – INDIA/TAMIL NADU/SCD PROJECT : Successful container gardening in a family garden, providing fresh food in  a drought-stricken area with a minimum of irrigation water.
2008 – INDIA/TAMIL NADU/SCDA PROJECT : Simple and inexpensive preparation of a family garden
2008 – INDIA/TAMIL NADU/SCDA PROJECT : Low-budget initiative with high return on investment
2008 – INDIA/TAMIL NADU/SCDA PROJECT : Child malnutrition alleviated with long-term fresh food production (vitamins, mineral elements).
2008 – INDIA/TAMIL NADU/SCDA PROJECT : With a small part of the financial support for food aid, transporting food to the affected areas, a sufficient number of kitchen gardens and school gardens can be installed.
2008 – INDIA/TAMIL NADU/SCDA PROJECT : SCAD’s women selfhelp groups feel extremely happy with the small agricultural inputs for their home garden. A challenge for all aid programmes.