Container gardening – A summary (Willem)

Already published on my desertification weblog on March 21, 2007

Container gardening – A summary

March 21, 2007

Posted by willem van cotthem in horticulture/gardening, hunger / famine, desertification, agriculture, technologies, research. trackback , edit post

As I am currently studying possibilities to grow vegetables in plastic bottles and plastic bags, dwelling around all over the surface of the Earth, I felt the need of summarizing some data on container gardening.

The title of this message says clearly what it is : A SUMMARY, not more, not less. But maybe it will be useful for some “starters” in container gardening. Instead of searching the Internet, they will find a number of general guidelines, which may be useful before getting their hands dirty.

2007-02 bottle gardening
Click on the picture to enlarge it.

2007-02 – First steps in a small study on growing vegetables in plastic bottles : a lettuce seedling in a decapitated coca-cola bottle with a perforated bottom, and a cauliflower plant in a mineral water bottle. These plants grow well !

2007-02 – Les premiers pas dans une petite étude de la culture de légumes dans des bouteilles en plastique : une petite laitue dans une bouteille de coca-cola décapitée avec le fond de bouteille perforé, et une plante de chou-fleur dans une bouteille d’eau minérale. Ces plantes poussent bien ! Continue reading Container gardening – A summary (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)

Best way to keep container soils moist? (Willem)

Already published at my desertification blog on March 9, 2007

Best way to keep container soils moist?

March 9, 2007

Posted by willem van cotthem in fertilizer – nutrients, success stories – best practices, soil, water, technologies. trackback , edit post

Working for more than 20 years already with water absorbing polymers (also called “crystals” in gardening circles !) and having developed the soil conditioning method TerraCottem (see http://www.terracottem.com), I was very much intrigued when I encountered on the internet a discussion forum on “the best way to keep container soils moist“.

Let me take you through some nice and sometimes amusing contributions about several topics related to moist soils (!): Continue reading Best way to keep container soils moist? (Willem)

Bottle, bag and cup gardening progress (Tolledot)

Published before on my desertification blog :

TOLLEDOT : bottle, bag and cup gardening progress

June 7, 2007

Posted by willem van cotthem in container/bottle gardening, horticulture/gardening, success stories – best practices. add a comment , edit post

Today, I received a very encouraging email from Joseph TOLLEDOT, with a series of new photos of his successful container gardening (in plastic bottles, bags and cups).

Some of his pictures can be seen on the Flickr page :

http://www.flickr.com/photos/8511374@N06/

Here are the pictures with comments he has sent to me :

Peppers
2007-06 Four peppers in one bottle (double click to enlarge the picture)

Peppers
2007-06 “Four peppers in one bottle could have been too much, but they are now flowering and one pepper is visible.

Lettuce
2007-06 Lettuce in tray covered with a plastic sheet : the outer leaves were harvested twice and they kept growing well.

Tomatoes
2007-06 Tomatoes in party cups (first row) and plastic bottles (second row), all growing well.

Strawberries, tomatoes and peppers
2007-06 Strawberries (first row) , peppers and tomatoes (second row) developing in different kinds of plastic containers (recycling plastic !).

Tomatoes 2007-06
2007-06 Joseph says : “First attempt at a self-watering container. It’s working very well so far – I can definitely notice a marked acceleration in the growing rate and stem thickness in just 3 days. The water wicks up very well and I have filled up twice is these 3 days

Gardening on Patios and Terraces (About: Gardening)

One knows how difficult it is to grow plants in very dry regions. A lot of information is published on xeriscaping, which corresponds in fact with growing drought adapted species under dry conditions. It becomes more problematic when we have to grow food crops in dry areas, most of them having a high transpiration rate. Drought tolerant vegetables are quite exceptional. Therefore, in order to have more people living in desert-like circumstances growing fresh food, we are nowadays promoting container gardening to solve those problems. Indeed, the growing of vegetables (producing leaves and fruits) in containers offers opportunities to enhance water and fertilizer use efficiency (no infiltration of water in a permeable soil, almost no leaching of nutrients). Moreover, costs for containers can be limited to almost zero by using plastic bottles or bags (see the former messages on my desertification blog: <www.desertification.wordpress.com>).

Marie Iannotti’s message on “Gardening on Patios and Terraces” describes ideas along the same lines.
Read at :

About: Gardening – Free Online Courses
“About.com Gardening Guide” <gardening.guide@about.com>

Small Space Garden Design: Gardening on Patios and Terraces

from Marie Iannotti
Our definition of garden is changing with our lifestyles. If you don’t think a patio or terrace garden qualifies as a proper garden, you would be amazed at what’s being grown on rooftops and ally ways in our cities. Patios and terraces have become outdoor rooms and they are being decorated to be an extension of the home. And this gives them an innate advantage over being a garden bed. You can garden to your heart’s content and never feel like you’ve left civilization. For many people, especially those who are downsizing to condos or with young children at home, gardening on the terrace, whether in containers or in the surrounding soil, the perfect circumstance. Continue reading Gardening on Patios and Terraces (About: Gardening)