Gardening in a bottlerack (Willem)

 Already published on my desertification weblog on May 12, 2007

Gardening in a bottlerack

May 12, 2007

Posted by willem van cotthem in gardening kids, horticulture/gardening, desert/desert gardening, container/bottle gardening, family gardens, school gardens, success stories – best practices, water, soil, desertification, sustainability, technologies. trackback , edit post Being convinced there is a nice future for growing vegetables or other plants in plastic bottles, filled with a mix of potting soil and a soil conditioner like TerraCottem, I am continuously thinking about variants to enlarge application possibilities.

As in the drylands extreme drought, and thus extreme evaporation, is one of the main problems for agriculture and gardening, I suggest to limit this evaporation by using a plastic bottle to obtain a higher water use efficiency. Indeed, water can be stocked in a volume of potting soil, wherein a water absorbing soil conditioner can play its supplementary water stocking role. Please have a look at my former posting on this blog:

Mon potager dans des bouteilles en plastique / My vegetable garden in plastic bottles

May 10, 2007

This message contains info on how to transform a normal plastic bottle into an efficient container for growing all kinds of plants, even young trees (to be transplanted when reaching sufficient height).

Today, I present you an idea on a “bottlerack“, useful under different conditions : Continue reading Gardening in a bottlerack (Willem)

Container-Free Balcony Gardening (Katie Humphry / Willem)

Already published on my desertification weblog on May 9, 2007

Container-Free Balcony Gardening (Katie Humphry)

May 9, 2007

Posted by willem van cotthem in gardening kids, container/bottle gardening, food / food security, horticulture/gardening, desertification, sustainability, ecology – environment. trackback , edit post

Read at :

Google Alert for gardening

Katie Humphry

http://katiehumphry.wordpress.com/2007/05/08/container-free-balcony-gardening/#comment-1281

Container-Free Balcony Gardening

 

From my grandmother:

I thought you might be interested in growing cherry tomatoes in a bag of potting mix. Before lying bag down flat put a few small holes on one side for drainage. Then turn over to the other side and cut holes big enough to put a plant in each. You will need to have some way to put stakes in for them to climb up.

I think she has her bags lying on the ground, but I bet you could keep the bags of potting mix upright, too (with some holes poked in the bottle for drainage). Cheaper than buying pots. Continue reading Container-Free Balcony Gardening (Katie Humphry / Willem)

My comment to Paul Duxbury’s “Potager” (Willem)

Already published on my desertification weblog on May 4, 2007

My comment to Paul Duxbury’s “Potager”

May 4, 2007

Posted by willem van cotthem in gardening kids, desert/desert gardening, women/youth and desertification, container/bottle gardening, land / land degradation, success stories – best practices, agriculture, forestry, ecology – environment, water. trackback , edit post

I like Paul’s contribution very much (see the former message on this blog). Although it contains mainly some general views on the matter, it may invite some people to start “potagering” at home. Well done, Paul !

Let me just make a comment on one sentence : “Most potagers are grown in raised beds that allow better control over the drainage and reduce the chance of the vegetables from becoming waterlogged.“. Alright, but !

I am very much in favor of setting up a vegetable garden in containers instead of in full garden soil, and this for a couple of reasons. Firstly, many people do not have the pleasure of disposing of an open gardening space. When Paul says : “Potagers are particularly good for people who live on smaller lots of land or only have room for a small garden“, I am adding : “and for all those living in apartments, and having some space for a number of containers“. Continue reading My comment to Paul Duxbury’s “Potager” (Willem)

Promoting container gardening (Willem)

Already published on my desertification weblog on March 22, 2007

Promoting container gardening

March 22, 2007

Posted by willem van cotthem in food / food security, hunger / famine, horticulture/gardening, success stories – best practices, water, capacity building, technologies. trackback , edit post

Here is the very nice comment of “timethief” on my message “Container gardening – A summary” of yesterday. It shows how many people can be interested in this type of gardening, wherever they live :

“I live on an island that suffers drought every year usually from the end of May to November. About 425 householders here have wells that go dry every year, although it pours buckets of rain from the sky every winter.

I became a container gardener years ago due to water conservation and I have found that there are other benefits to gardening in any container I can get my hands on as opposed to tilling soil, pulling weeds and hosing.

I find interesting containers to use as planters at garage sales and recycling depots and I also put dibs on containers from friends when I see they are running low on whatever is in them.

Thanks for writing this article and for all the good advice on soil preparation in it. Happy gardening. 🙂

The first benefit is that as I’m gardening on a second floor deck I don’t have to compete with wildlife for the food I plant. The second my container gardens don’t require much weeding. The third is that they are close to the kitchen which is great when you cook with fresh homegrown herbs. The fourth is that I can intersperse containers of food and flowers on my deck as in companion planting to keep down insects. The fifth benefit is that my deck looks fabulous and all my friends prefer to be there rather than visiting in my house.”

Thanks, “timethief”; it reinforces my conviction that we should also work with school children (in particular in developing countries), offering them a chance to learn a multitude of practical and useful things at school. The food they would produce at school, can contribute to make their lunches healthier (they would be less hungry). The techniques they would learn, will be always applicable later on at the family level. Nothing but good things to be expected !

2003-03 Escola Pretoria
Click on the picture to enlarge it.

2003-03 : School garden of Escola Pretoria (Isla do Sal, Cabo Verde), constructed thanks to the initiatives of Etienne VAN STEENBERGHE – Belgium (sponsor) and the TC-Dialogue Foundation (Belgium). Vegetables and fruits, produced with TerraCottem in the schoolyard, were a significant contribution to the quality of the lunches at school. See the happy kids ?

2003-03 : Jardin scolaire à l’Escola Pretoria (Isla do Sal, Cabo Verde), construit grâce aux initiatives d’Etienne VAN STEENBERGHE – Belgique (sponsor) et la Fondation TC-DIALOGUE (Belgique). Des légumes et des fruits, produits avec du TerraCottem dans la cour de l’école, formaient une contribution de valeur dans les repas de midi à l’école. Vous voyez combien les enfants sont contents ?

Any remarks ?

Willem

Kids gardening at school or at home (Willem)

Already published on my desertification blog on March 17, 2007

Nice comment Hans STROCK (Great Big Plants) March 17, 2007

Posted by willem van cotthem in success stories – best practices, horticulture/gardening, food / food security, hunger / famine, capacity building, desertification, water, forestry, rural development, ecology – environment, poverty. trackback , edit post

I received this nice comment from Hans STROCK:

http://greatbigplantsblog.com/

greatbigplants@buzzoodle.com

Thanks Willem! I’m glad you had a chance to check out the site! Sorry about the delay in response, things have been hectic lately. It’s good to see other people who agree with keeping kids involved with gardening. It’s always important to give children some culture and experience they can take with them when they get older. I think all children should have something fun and creative they can do. It helps them feel good about themselves. Keep up the good work!”

Well said, Hans ! In the western countries, so many people are complaining about the fact that young people are only interested in TV-programs. Why don’t we offer them a chance to do something useful and fun, instead of leaving them hanging (or laying) around in front of the TV-set? Impossible to change their attitude ? Yes, if you start early enough (e.g. with pubers). And what if you start even earlier, let’s say in primary school? I am sure kids love to do practical gardening in a very simple way. As a biology teacher I always got fantastic reactions when my pupils (12-18 years old) got an individual project to grow different plant species from seeds. They did it in plastic bottles at the window sills in my classroom ! They learned how to grow things with a strict minimum of water ! And they loved to write their personal report with observations and drawings. That is: EDUCATION WITH A PRACTICAL SENSE.

I am currently working out a similar project for the kids in the refugee camps in Algeria. Those children will most certainly be happy to have a “useful task” to grow vegetables in plastic bottles. There is not only the educational aspect of learning something about gardening, but one can also imagine how proud the kids will be to bring from time to time some vegetable (lettuce, parsley, onion, garlic, herbs, tomatoes, etc.) home. An later on they can always use these new skills (capacity building) to start gardening for their families. Wherever they are or will be! Continue reading Kids gardening at school or at home (Willem)