Make your choice : mobile technology or food production techniques (Willem VAN COTTHEM)

I have read with great interest the article on “12 ways mobile technology can boost African agriculture” , see the posting on my desertification blog :

In fact, I was not surprised at all that this article, published at the African Agriculture blog, is based upon a recent report of Vodafone – Accenture (“Connected Agriculture : The role of mobile in driving efficiency and sustainability in the food and agriculture value chain”).

Here is Vodafone’s introductory text :

“Vodafone Group Plc is one of the world’s largest mobile communications companies
by revenue. It has a significant presence in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia
Pacific and the US through the company’s subsidiaries, joint ventures, associated
undertakings and investments.

Vodafone plays an active role in seeking to address the challenges faced by
today’s emerging economies through the use of technology. Using the Millennium
Development Goals as a focal point, the company has worked in partnership with
other multinationals and organisations such as the GSMA, UN Foundation and the
UK Department for International Development to provide products and services that
help to tackle hunger, reduce child mortality and support women.

Vodafone’s mobile money transfer service, M-PESA, has proved extremely successful
at bringing basic financial services to the rural poor in Kenya and other countries,
together with a wide range of community benefits. Other examples include
programmes such as the GSMA mWomen initiative which aims to address barriers
preventing women from using mobile, and SMS for Life which is improving the
management of anti-malarial medication stocks in rural Tanzania.”


Vodafone and Accenture identified the following “12 opportunities for mobile phone technology to increase agricultural income and productivity. Some of these platforms are already widely used in Africa, while others are still in the early stages of implementation.“:

  1. Mobile payment systems
  2. Micro-insurance systems
  3. Micro-lending platforms
  4. Mobile information platforms
  5. Farmer helplines
  6. Smart logistics
  7. Traceability and tracking systems
  8. Mobile management of supplier networks
  9. Mobile management of distribution networks
  10. Agricultural trading platforms
  11. Agricultural tendering platforms
  12. Agricultural bartering platforms

To make things a bit more clear :

  1. Smallholder farmers can get an inexpensive and secure way to transfer and save money using their mobile phones, mobile payment systems replacing costly traditional transfer services and the need to travel long distances to collect funds.
  2. Mobile micro-insurance systems can safeguard farmers against losses when bad weather harms their harvest, encouraging them to buy better quality seeds and invest in fertiliser and other inputs.
  3. Micro-lending platforms could connect smallholder farmers with individuals elsewhere willing to provide finance to help the farmers.
  4. Mobile information platforms let farmers receive text messages with information.
  5. Farmers can call a helpline to speak to agricultural experts.
  6. Smart logistics uses mobile technology to help distribution companies manage their fleets more efficiently.
  7. Smallholders can use mobile technology can be used to track individual food products.
  8. Food buyers and exporters can use mobile phones to manage their networks of small-scale growers.
  9. Distributors of farming inputs could use mobile technology to gather sales and stock data.
  10. Linking smallholder farmers directly with potential buyers.
  11. Online platforms for submitting and bidding on tenders.
  12. Exchanging goods, services and skills with community members.


Suppose many agree that these are all fantastic opportunities!  But, do we really mean opportunities for smallholder farmers in Africa ?

Aren’t these smallholders not the same people spoken about in UN-articles on child malnutrition, hunger and famine, not to mention poverty ?

Are poor smallholders supposed to buy mobile phones with batteries (rechargeable ones, if there is electricity in the neighbourhood) ?

Are they supposed to use their mobile phone for every single opportunity mentioned above ?

Or do they try today to feed their family with hard field labour ?

And try to save some money to take their women and children to the hospital when needed ?

For me, one thing is clear : instead of promoting the use of mobile technology by poor people, I would rather spend some money on wages of teams of extension officers, training the smallholder farmers in some simple, cheap, low-tech food growing methods. My point is : with an empty stomach you can’t use a mobile phone.  So, let us first teach them how to improve their methods and techniques for food production and then, at the end of the day, when stomachs are full, show them the opportunities of mobile technology.  The horse and the wagon, you know !

Before going into business “with phones, payment systems, insurance, micro-lending platforms, information platforms, helplines, logistics, tracking systems, management of supplier and distribution networks, trading and tendering platforms”, shouldn’t we help these smallholders to decent food for their families by offering them all the possible opportunities to produce food at the lowest, sustainable cost ?

Our main objective is to help the smallholder farmers to better standards of living, not by making them spend their bit of money on modern technologies, but by informing them about opportunities to improve their food production with simple, affordable methods and techniques.

We have the knowledge to do so.  Let us not wait any longer to share this knowledge with them without hoping to become richer ourselves.  Maybe some bigger companies can contribute to set up this information sharing and training chain ?

Improving plant growth with a soil conditioner in the drylands of Tamil Nadu (India)

A Belgian group around the Past-President of one of the Rotary International clubs in Antwerp (Belgium), Dr. Stany PAUWELS, and SCAD (Social Change and Development), an Indian NGO directed by Dr. Cletus BABU in Tamil Nadu (South India) were recently introducing trials on the use of the soil conditioner TerraCottem (TC) for improving plant production in the drylands of Tamil Nadu. The Belgian group offered an important quantity of TerraCottem to SCAD and trials were set up at SCAD headquarters in Cheranmahadevi, at SCAD KVK Agricultural Center and in different villages in the drylands of Tamil Nadu.

SCAD has initiated intensive training programmes to promote the use of Terracottem and to motivate the rural people to set up kitchen gardens. The period of June – July is the prime Agriculture Season of Tamil Nadu. Farmers who received some soil conditioner have started application in their test plots.

As far as the test plots raised at KVK are concerned, the Terracottem-treated fields are showing a lot of favorable results. The Bhendi (okra)-fruits harvested from the treated plots are healthier and more vigourous than those of the control plots.

Since the farmers have started their work with TC recently, they are yet to see the results.

This year, SCAD has fixed 2000 Kitchen Gardens as a target in the Tuticorin District alone. In the first phase local native seeds have been distributed to 1250 gardens, along with the seeds offered by the Belgian groups. The production in these gardens will be closely monitored.

SCAD is also interested in “bottle gardening“, an idea launched in a former posting on this blog (see “My vegetable garden in plastic bottles“, 2008-02-13). SCAD has already given a training on bottle gardening to the Self Help Groups (SHG)-members. They showed a lot of interest on that method, motivating local people to eliminate plastic bottle from their environment.

Nowadays, SCAD KVK-scientists are closely monitoring the effect of TerraCottem (TC) on vegetables and other plant species and on the planned Kitchen Garden programmes. Promotion of TC among the farming community is going on in selected SCAD-sponsored villages. Feedback from the communities will be send later.

Family gardens or kitchen gardens are relatively new to this dryland region. The rural population has no tradition in gardening during the dry season. Together with bottle gardening, this method can improve food patterns and public health in a significant way. It can also alleviate poverty, offering farmers a chance to take their vegetables produced locally to the nearby market, thus competing with vegetables important from distant production centers in other Indian states.

Here are some pictures illustrating the actual situation in June-July 2008 :

2008-06 : Village Vedanatham – Mrs. Mariyammal – Crops raised : Gourds, Sesbania, Cluster beans, etc. (DSCN 1768)

2008-06 : Village Vedanatham – Mrs. Mariyammal – Crops raised : Gourds, Sesbania, Cluster beans, etc. (DSCN 1769)

2008-06 : Village Vedanatham – Mrs. Mariyammal – Crops raised : Gourds, Sesbania, Cluster beans, etc. (DSCN 1770)

2008-06 : Village Vedanatham – Mrs. Mariyammal – Crops raised : Gourds, Sesbania, Cluster beans, etc. (DSCN 1787)

2008-06 – Village M.Velayudhapuram – Mr. Muniyasamy – Crops raised : Gourds, Sesbania, Cluster beans etc. (DSCN 1835)

2008-06 – Village M.Velayudhapuram – Mr. Muniyasamy – Crops raised : Gourds, Sesbania, Cluster beans etc. (DSCN 1838)

2008-06 – Village M.Velayudhapuram – Mr. Muniyasamy – Crops raised : Gourds, Sesbania, Cluster beans etc. (DSCN 1839)

2008-06 – Village M.Velayudhapuram – Mr. Muniyasamy – Crops raised : Gourds, Sesbania, Cluster beans etc. (DSCN 1840)

2008-06 – Village Thulukkan kulam – Mrs. Pushparani – Crops raised : Zinnia, Bhendi, Amaranthus & other greens (DSCN 4430) – Mixing the TC with top soil.

2008-06 – Village Thulukkan kulam – Mrs. Pushparani – Crops raised : Zinnia, Bhendi, Amaranthus & other greens (DSCN 4439) – Applying TC to Drumstick (Moringa) tree

2008-06 – Village Thulukkan kulam – Mrs. Pushparani – Crops raised : Zinnia, Bhendi, Amaranthus & other greens (DSCN 4449) – Mrs. Pushparani applying TC to Brinjal (Egg Plant) raised in a small pot (Container Gardening). Asparagus and Alternanthera in the small containers.

2008-06 – Village Thulukkan kulam – Mrs. Pushparani – Crops raised : Zinnia, Bhendi, Amaranthus & other greens (DSCN 4464) – Proud owner of the garden with Zinnia, Marigold plants. In the rear end, some papaya trees.

2008-06 – Village Thulukkan kulam – Mrs. Pushparani – Crops raised : Zinnia, Bhendi, Amaranthus & other greens (DSCN 4477) – Little girl sitting in her TC-treated kitchen garden with Amaranthus greens.

2008-06 – SCAD KVK – Women SHG members – Test Plots showing healthy Bhendi (Okra) fruits – (DSCN 7690) – SCAD Anbu Illam cook is harvesting the Bhendi fruits (Abelmoschus esculentus).

2008-06 – SCAD KVK – Women SHG members – Test Plots showing healthy Bhendi (Okra) fruits – (DSCN 7692) – Healthy bhendi plants with long fruits.

2008-06 – SCAD KVK – Women SHG members – Test Plots showing healthy Bhendi (Okra) fruits – (DSCN 7695) – SCAD Anbu Illam cook in the TC-treated Bhendi garden

2008-06 – SCAD KVK – Women SHG members – Test Plots showing healthy Bhendi (Okra) fruits – (DSCN 7696) – Fresh and healthy bhendi fruits harvested from TC-treated bhendi garden.

2008-06 – SCAD KVK – Training for Kitchen gardens by KVK Staff Members – (DSCN 7712)

2008-06 – SCAD KVK – Training for Kitchen gardens by KVK Staff Members – Self Help Group of Women after training. -(DSCN 7713)

Polymer moisture crystals and the TerraCottem soil conditioner (Dave’s Garden / Willem)

Read at : Dave’s Garden Weekly Newsletter

Polymer Moisture Crystals: Magic for Your Garden and Your Containers

By Jill M. Nicolaus (critterologist)
May 8, 2008

Friends see the lush green plantings at our house and exclaim, “Oh, you have such a green thumb! What’s your secret?” I say, “I water them,” and they look at me in disbelief. But watering – not watering enough, or watering so much that plant roots get soggy – may be the biggest issue for those who think their thumbs are black. Fortunately, it’s often an easy problem to solve. Polymer moisture crystals are one of the best watering aids I’ve found.

Polymer moisture crystals are like magical little garden helpers. They mop up little puddles of water around roots so plants don’t drown. They release the water back to the roots as the surrounding soil dries out, keeping plants from wilting between waterings or rainfalls. If you price them by weight or volume, they seem expensive, but a little bit goes a very long way. They take about 3 years to break down, so they’ll last a while in your garden, too.

Polymer moisture crystals look like coarse salt crystals. They absorb up to 300 times their own weight in water, until they look like little cubes of jello (see photo above). They then release the water slowly back to the soil, keeping it evenly moist between waterings. Good drainage is still important, but by absorbing excess water the crystals help guard against the “wet feet” that make many plants unhappy.

Polymer moisture crystals are a boon to container gardeners. Continue reading Polymer moisture crystals and the TerraCottem soil conditioner (Dave’s Garden / Willem)

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.

Food production in transparent plastic bottles and cups (C. ASH, J. TOLLEDOT, Willem)

Here is nice additional comment of Charles ASH on :

Recycling plastic bottles and pots (Charlesash / Willem) August 3, 2007

“You don’t really need to cover the transparent plastic because there appears to be no harm or set back to the plant if you don’t. It’s mainly cosmetic. Not only that, seeing the roots creates more interest. When we used them we got many youngsters interested because we could explain easier and show “what grows underground” of a plant. It created huge interest and some of those youngsters went on to a career in horticulture. So my suggestion is, don’t permanently cover them. Enjoy a sight you do not normally see.

We don’t have any problems removing plants, even well established or large plants, from plastic plant pots. They always come out with the root ball intact and unharmed. They may need a gentle tap once or twice but they always come out ok. And we get to use the pot again!


Thanks, Charles !  It encourages me to continue my efforts introducing plastic bottle gardening in schools of developing countries.  I strongly believe that every kid in developing countries should set up its own vegetable garden in plastic bottles and shopping bags, not only at school, but also at home.

At school, they can be helped by the teachers, at home, by their mothers.

The result would be :

1. A remarkable enhancement of fresh food production, particularly in desertified areas.

2. An interesting improvement in the situation of food security, malnutrition or famine.

3. A very profitable improvement in public health (less deficiencies, less diseases.

4. Better environmental  conservation and protection (less littering of plastic).

5. Enormous educational value.


Will this appeal on all stakeholders (decision makers, authorities, donors, NGOs, local people, …) one day be heard ?  I hope it will happen before the end of my days, with all my heart !

Who can resist the beauty of vegetables and fruits growing close to or even in our house or school ?  Look at this beautiful picture of Joseph TOLLEDOT :

Party cup Pepper

Black manaqualana Pepper growing well in a recycled party cup (J. TOLLEDOT, July 25, 2007)

Raised beds combined with containers for inside gardening (Willem)

Today, I received an interesting comment from Anne WALKER on my former posting :

Different aspects of rooftop gardening (Google Alert / Salt Lake Tribune) July 13, 2007

If a garden can be grown on a roof top, how about on the parking lot of an old abandoned strip mall. It is late in the season to start a garden, but we just received funding. We also have donated space in a building located in a strip mall. There is a fenced in area that I’d like to create a few raised beds and perhaps apply lasagne gardening in the beds. What do we do about drainage? How do we keep the soil and water from running out under the beds. Do we line with plastic? Help!!! This is a late summer youth project, funded in part from Community Block Grant and State arts funds.”

Here is my reply to her :

Dear Anne,

Thanks for contacting me and congratulations for your nice ideas.

Raised bed gardening offers a lot of opportunities to embellish our environment or to grow plants in any “difficult” place.

Let us first consider the outside parking lot (or is it inside ?). I see no problem to install raised beds there. Would a bit of water running out be a problem ? Then, I recommend to make the beds a bit higher (1-2 feet), to line the bottom up with a strong plastic sheet forming a shallow reservoir, to fill the bottom part of that reservoir (2-4 inches) with granules of expanded clay (also used in hydroponics) and to cover these granules with a good potting mix to which I would add some water stocking polymers or, even better, a soil conditioner like TerraCottem (see <;).

About the raised beds inside the building : see above, as I cannot foresee any problems with water.

Let me now make another suggestion !

Why don’t you construct a raised bed and fill it up with containers (each of them perforated at its bottom for drainage). I am thinking at the classical plastic flower pots, but also at PET bottles or even big plastic party cups (use your imagination).

The raised bed should be constructed like the one described above : with plastic lining at the bottom, but without clay granules. The containers (pots, bottles or cups) can be put directly on the plastic sheet (in the so-called reservoir) and filled with a good potting mix (mixed with water stocking soil conditioner), then seeded or planted. Now all the containers are covered (mulched) with a thin layer of potting mix, so that one cannot see the containers anymore (only a nice layer of soil under which the containers are hidden). When watering such a raised bed, most of the water will be running into the containers and stocked in the polymers. A surplus of water, running through the containers or through the open spaces between the containers, will run into the plastic sheet reservoir and only a minimum will be kept for a short time on that plastic sheet (from where it will be gradually absorbed by the potting mix in the perforated containers).

I can imagine that after a while one would have to add a thin supplementary mulching layer of potting soil, for the soil will slide partly down into the open spaces between the individual containers.

I never did this before, but I can imagine that this would be quite successful. Worth trying, I think !

Please keep me informed and possibly send me some photos of your realization. I will gladly publish them on my blog.


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?).

Strawberries in plastic bottles (Willem)

 Already published on my desertification weblog on May 24, 2007

Strawberries in plastic bottles

May 24, 2007

Posted by willem van cotthem in desert/desert gardening, container/bottle gardening, soil conditioning, horticulture/gardening, water, desertification, technologies. trackback , edit post

In former postings I described already the possibilities of growing vegetables in plastic bottles, e.g.:

Container-Free Balcony Gardening (Katie Humphry)

Mon potager dans des bouteilles en plastique / My vegetable garden in plastic bottles May 10, 2007

Gardening in a bottlerack

Jardinage dans une étagère de bouteilles May 12, 2007

Gardening in a bottlerack or simply on a bottle May 14, 2007

Today, I bring you some nice pictures of strawberries growing in such plastic bottles. Please look at the healthy condition of the flowering plants, bearing young, ripening fruits. I strongly believe that people in the drylands (but in fact everyone) can use this method to grow food crops with a minimum of water and fertilizer. Massive use of this kind of containers can help us to limit plastic waste, as also plastic bags can easily be used as containers for gardening in the vicinity of the house (and later on buried in the soil). Continue reading Strawberries in plastic bottles (Willem)

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)

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

Already published on my desertification weblog on May 10, 2007

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

May 10, 2007

Posted by willem van cotthem in hunger / famine, soil conditioning, desert/desert gardening, container/bottle gardening, horticulture/gardening, success stories – best practices, experiments, technologies, water, desertification, pictures. 1 comment so far , edit post

Mes expériences avec des légumes poussant dans des bouteilles en plastique ont été très convaincants jusqu’à ce jour. Non seulement toutes les espèces se sont bien développées (sauf le chou-fleur qui a été infecté), mais je suis de plus en plus convaincu que cette méthode de jardinage peut être une contribution significative dans la lutte contre la désertification, la faim et la polllution de l’environnement (moins de plastique dans nos déchets). C’est une excellente pratique dans le domaine du “jardinage dans le désert“.

Afin de motiver un grand nombre de personnes à faire des essais pareils avec des légumes de leur choix (ou d’autres plantes), je vous montre quelques dessins et images. Je vous souhaite déjà beaucoup de plaisir et des observations intéressantes. Vous m’envoyez un petit rapport (si possible avec photos) ?


My experiments on growing vegetables in plastic bottles have been very convincing up to now. Not only all the species showed a good development (except for the cauliflower which was infected), but I am more and more convinced that this gardening method can be a significant contribution to the combat of desertification, hunger and pollution of the environment (less plastic in the household waste). It can efficiently be used for “desert gardening“.

In order to motivate a large number of people to set up similar trials with their choice of vegetables (or other plants), I bring you some drawings and pictures. Wishing you a lot a pleasure and interesting observations. Will you send me a small report (if possible with some photos) ?

Perforated bottles
Cliquez 2 fois pour agrandir le dessin

(1) Bouteille en plastique avec bouchon au sommet et le fond troué (drainage); (2) Bouchon enlevé et partie conique de la bouteille coupée; petite fente coupée dans la paroi du cône; (3) Cône glissé jusqu’au fond dans la bouteille; (4) Bouteille remplie avec du terreau contenant le conditionneur de sol TerraCottem hydroabsorbant, bien entassé jusqu’à 5 cm du sommet; (5) Graine(s) ou plantule(s) dans le terreau bien arrosé.

Beaux dessins faits par mon fils Paul avec le programme SketchUp (gratuit!).

Double click to enlarge the picture

(1) Plastic bottle with stop on top and perforated bottom (drainage); (2) Stop taken off and conical part of the bottle cut away; small slit cut in the cone; (3) Cone pushed to the bottom in the bottle; (4) Bottle filled with potting soil mixed with the water absorbing soil conditioner TerraCottem, well compacted up to 5 cm from the bottle top; (5) Seed(s) or seedling(s) in the soaked potting soil.

Nice drawings made by my son Paul with the SketchUp program (free!).

2007-03 Decapitated bottle
Une bouteille préparée : Le cône laisse entrer de l’air par le trou foré dans le fond de la bouteille; il facilite aussi l’évacuation d’un excès d’ (drainage).

Prepared bottle : Through the cone, air is penetrating in the potting soil via the hole in the bottom of the bottle; it enables also the evacuation of an excess of water (drainage).

2007-03 : 4 bottles
Bouteilles de dimensions différentes avec des légumes

Bottles of different dimensions with vegetables.

2007-03 Bottle collection
Mon petit potager dans mon bureau.

My small vegetable garden (potager) in my office.


J’espère recevoir vos commentaires et les rapports sur vos expériences.

I hope to receive your comments and the reports on your experiments.