Philippines : Revive backyard gardening (Google / The News Today)

Read at : Google Alert – gardening

Revive backyard gardening

By Rodolfo P. Gumabong

History really repeats itself. In the early 60s, there was an acute shortage of food and unemployment was high. Then Pres. Diosdado Macapagal opened the employment opportunity by spending millions of pesos in the so-called “Emergency Employment (EE)” in all remote barrios of the country then, many got casual jobs and money flowed like rivers of water. Food was scarce then and rice vanished in the market. Then Chinese philanthropist Chiu Kim She mobilized Iloilo Chinese rice traders and within few days, Ilonggos qeued the long line of human horde just to get cheap rice by several gantas which the Chinese merchants sold at affordable cost. But while rice was literally abundant, vegetables, fish, meat, and root crops were not only scarce but also the price was not right. An appeal was made by city officials that each household cultivates vacant space in their neighborhood and plant vegetables, root crops and even put up tilapia pond. The appeal clicked, soon thereafter housewifes utilized the stuff planted in their garden and eventually, local markets were flooded with green leafy products and even fish. Continue reading Philippines : Revive backyard gardening (Google / The News Today)

Spanish Gardening (Google / Round Town News)

Read at : Google Alert – gardening

Spanish Gardening – Hints & Tips
Written by Clodagh & Dick Handscombe



e read recently in the UK press that the Scout movement has updated it’s range of achievement/skill badges by introducing new ones related to 21st century skills such as karting, quadbiking, parascending and thankfully one related to healthy eating and what we assume is still the motto of the scout movement ‘Be Prepared’. However the listed essential tasks for the latter included making a fruit salad, two different sandwiches, making an omelette and homemade meat balls, listing some unhealthy foods but not – but may have been omitted in the article – experiencing the growing of some organically grown vegetables or fruit and then preparing a meal with them. And how easy their growing would be in a large container even for the Beaver Scouts living in apartments. Un fortunately today’s ethos is too often don’t get your hands dirty. When we suggested during a talk on growing vegetables to the Agronomist students at the Polytechnic University in Valencia that they grow some vegetables in containers on their apartment terraces for healthy eating during their four course  professors informed us that they were educating agronomists who would work in agricultural/food  laboratories or as quality control advisers and not training agriculturalists. Likewise many articles in the newspapers and magazines comment on the need to eat healthier fresh chemical free vegetables and fruit but fail to suggest that one grows ones own. Continue reading Spanish Gardening (Google / Round Town News)

Urban Gardening (Google / Technocrat)

Read at : Google Alert – gardening

Urban Gardening

zogger Thu, 17 Apr 2008

Or what to do when you don’t even have a suburban backyard. Many city dwellers are pleased to find out they can still garden, even in apartments or townhomes with patios or small front yards-even an accessible flat roof.

..””We wanted to reconnect people living in cities with food,” explains Mayfield, a support worker for disabled and dyslexic children. “You don’t have to own acres of countryside in Essex like Jamie Oliver to grow your own vegetables – anyone can do it using pretty much any old space.””..more there and I love this subject, used to do it all the time for myself, and designed and built a lot of smallish “edible landscaping” projects for people who didn’t have much space for the more conventional and sort of plain big plowed up square type of garden. You can grow a decent amount in an earthbox, large pots, cement blocks with the holes showing up and filled with dirt and arranged down the side of the walkway, etc. Just use your imagination, it is quite possible to use all the little nooks and crannies of sunny space you have to get some greens and herbs and tomatoes and peppers going. And don’t forget sprouts! Fastest way to an edible and nutritious crop there is. Continue reading Urban Gardening (Google / Technocrat)

Back from my mission in Algeria

Dear visitors of my blogs,

It took me a while to tackle all the classical problems of a longer absence : correspondence, reports to write, reply to emails, etc. But now I am back at my blogs and hope to catch up as soon as possible.

For now, let me tell you something about the success of our UNICEF project in Algeria “Construction of family gardens and school gardens in the refugees’ camps of Tindouf (S.W. Algeria – Sahara desert)“.

The Sahrawi people are extremely motivated to get their small gardens ready as soon as possible. From 208 gardens in 2006, the number of gardens grew to more than 1200. These gardens are treated with our soil conditioner TerraCottem (<>) to stock a maximum of saline irrigation water in the upper 20-30 cm of sandy soil. Seeds of vegetables are provided by UNICEF ALGERIA. Young trees are offered by the Forestry Services of Tindouf. Local schools are also participating in the project. Follow-up is assured by a Technical Committee and several agronomists.

In August 2007, I launched an action of seed collection in Belgium. With the help of the media (newspapers, radio, television), I invited my compatriots to send me the seeds of tropical fruits, which are normally thrown in the garbage bin (melon, watermelon, pumpkin, papaya, avocado, sweet pepper etc.). There was a massive and remarkably positive reaction of the Belgians ! For the first time, someone is not asking money for development cooperation, but only garbage seeds.

I received already more than 100 kg of seeds, half of which were already taken to the refugee camps on my last trip, or send by the Algerian Embassy for use in Algerian school gardens (another nice UNICEF project, called : “Schools, Friends of the children”).

It is really fantastic to see, for the first time in 30 years in these camps of the Sahrawis, vegetables growing in small desert gardens. What a splendid contribution to human health in those extremely difficult conditions ! This is the best way to provide continuously fresh food and fruits with vitamins and mineral elements, in particular for the children.

You look for success stories ? This is one of the best ! I will soon show you some more pictures.

Team with UNICEF seeds   Family garden Layoun  Family garden Layoun 2  watermelons in Dahla

(Click on the pictures to enlarge)

Unicef team and Sahrawis engineers carrying seeds from UNICEF / Some of the family gardens at the end of October 2007.

Gardening in Small Spaces (Google Alert / Gardening Tips)

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Google Alert – gardening

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Gardening in Small Spaces

An effective garden doesn’t mean it has to be huge and hold tons of plants. Not everyone has the space for a garden like that, but they can grow thriving plants in a small area as long as there’s access to sunlight. Gardens have grown in many places – from a small patch of ground outside of a home to planting pots placed outside one’s front door. The size of your garden doesn’t matter because it’s the quality of your gardening skills that will provide you with thriving plants. You’ll want to research the plants you want to grow within your garden. Find out what plants can be planted near each other, which ones need the most sunlight and any care instructions needed to grow a particular type of plant. Continue reading Gardening in Small Spaces (Google Alert / Gardening Tips)

Armchair Vegetable Gardening (Vegetable Grower)

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The Vegetable Grower

Armchair Vegetable Gardening

In the March newsletter I gave you some great reasons to create raised beds – all of mine are.

One of my mentors for raised bed gardening is Mel Bartholomew who has made this type of gardening almost an art form – he shows you how to get big harvests out of a small space. I thoroughly recommend his book – “All New Square Foot Gardening”

All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!

Vegetables in containers : peas and mangetout (Best Gardening)

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Best Gardening

Vegetables : peas and mangetout

Peas are fun to grow and taste delicious fresh from the garden

Peas in small spaces

Dwarf peas can be planted in a container and grown successfully. Snow peas and sugar snap are fun to try. Remember that peas need a cool, moisture retentive soil and plenty of water for the pods to fill. Although there is quite a lot of work for the size of the crop, peas are fun to grow and taste delicious fresh from the garden. Mange tout and sugar snap peas are best eaten whole, before the pods are swollen. Round peas are hardier than the other, and petit-pois are smaller and sweeter. Continue reading Vegetables in containers : peas and mangetout (Best Gardening)

Small space vegetable gardens (Bestgardening)

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Bestgardening (see my Blogroll)

Small space vegetables 

As city gardens become ever smaller, garden space becomes more and more precious. Once the norm, space for growing vegetables may seem just a dream. Yet salads, tomatoes, and other vegetables are so much better straight from the garden. Young, tender vegetables are prized, and so much better when there are only minutes between the garden and the pot or salad bowl. The process, from garden to table, is enjoyable and one of anticipation. There are lots of ways to introduce vegetables into the garden, especially as we can become more innovative in how we grow our veges.

Tips for Small Space Vegetables
Concentrate on growing only those vegetables that benefit the most from being picked fresh and take up a small space. Don’t grow plants that take up lots of space, have a long growing season or you don’t love to eat!  Grow vegetables that are hard to find and not usually on the supermarket shelves, and select varieties for superior taste rather than crop size. Small is definitely beautiful in a tiny vegetable garden. The largest tomatoes are not necessarily the best tasting. Vegetables suitable for small spaces are generally harvested when young and tender. Thus the growing season is shorter and plants can be cycled through faster. Baby cauliflower, finger carrots, cherry tomatoes, spring onions, there are loads of suitable seeds on the market today. Grow fewer vegetables of each type. In a large garden we can grow 20 celery plants, in a small space garden you may want to grow only half a dozen, and in a balcony garden two or three plants will provide fresh stalks for cutting. In courtyards and against a warm wall you can often get planting long before the soil in a traditional garden has warmed enough for planting out and seed sowing.
Continue reading Small space vegetable gardens (Bestgardening)

Free Newsletter : Moss in the City (NGA)

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Moss in the City – Gardening in Small Spaces

National Gardening Association <>

Moss in the City – a newsletter for urban and small-space gardeners 


Welcome to NGA’s new monthly newsletter for urban gardeners and anyone who gardens in small spaces — whether on a deck, balcony, rooftop, or diminutive lot. As a city dweller in Chicago, I would argue that gardening is even more important in urban areas than in other places. Rural and suburban homes are more likely to be surrounded by nature, and urban homes are usually surrounded by artificial habitats. Plants can help restore the balance. Gardening provides a way for people to maintain a connection with the natural world.

Moss in the City newsletter will address the challenges of urban and small-space gardening, offer ideas for greening our cities, and provide tips for growing food for your table and food for your soul amidst the constraints of limited time and space.

About William Moss
Teaching is my vocation; nature and gardening are my passions. I’ve been fortunate enough to combine these interests in many projects.


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Cheap grow bags (Willem)

More and more advertisements on grow bags are found on the internet. These are plastic bags, used as containers, filled with a quality substrate (potting soil with a good mineral and organic content). One recommends to purchase these grow bags in a green center or nursery. Of course, there is always a price tag on each of these grow bags.

However, we all know that numerous simple plastic bags (white, blue, black, etc.), used everywhere on all continents as shopping bags, constitute a heavy burden on the environment. Generally, these bags are thrown in the garbage bins, but in many developing countries they are simply littered and fly around in the streets. You will find many of them hanging in the trees as if it were huge blue, white and black flowers.

Here is my idea : why don’t we use them as cheap grow bags? We can easily fill them up with soil (possibly improved with some animal manure), close them tightly and cut some small holes (slits) for drainage in the bottom part. Seedlings or seeds can be put in small holes on top of the bag (number to be decided in function of the adult plant’s dimensions).

For climbing plants (like tomatoes, peas or beans) a cage or deepee can be put over the bag.

All kinds of vegetables, or even young trees can be grown on such cheap plastic bags. One can even imagine that school children use this system in the school yard, creating a school garden even on a concrete surface, thus helping to get rid of all that plastic in the streets or the environment. The kids would thus help to keep the environment cleaner, growing vegetables at school to supplement their lunches with vitamins and mineral elements.

Therefore, cheap plastic grow bags can be used as a simple didactic tool to create a sort of school garden in the school yard or along the wall of the classrooms. Millions of plastic bags all over the world would not be littered anymore, but taken to school to create productive gardens. Vegetables and young trees can thus be grown with a minimum of water, because the soil in the grow bags will be kept moistened for a longer time (less evaporation).

Young fruit trees, grown by the kids at school in those cheap grow bags, could be taken home at the end of the school year and planted close to their house. It suffices to dig a plant pit, put the plastic grow bag with the young tree in the pit, cut the bag open at 4 sides, bend the plastic completely open and fold the plastic under the rootball, fill up the plant pit with local soil, water the plant pit thoroughly and let the roots grow out.

The young fruit tree will continue its growth and we get rid of the buried plastic. Isn’t that nice ?

I wonder if you will set up an experiment with a couple of plastic grow bags. I am looking forward to read your comments and, hopefully, nice results (with some pictures?).