Please find here the description of “mini-greenhouses” made of simple and cheap materials like yogurt pots, soda or juice bottles, mushroom boxes, plastic bags etc. This kind of inexpensive equipment to produce seedlings of vegetables and trees, e.g. fruit trees, is available all the world and almost free for all the poor, both in rural and urban areas. All the seedlings, grown in such mini-greenhouses with a remarkable minimum of irrigation water (saving water !), can easily be planted in the family gardens or school gardens and survival rate is dramatically higher than with classical farming or gardening practices.
The interesting advantages of this method to produce a maximum of seedlings with a minimum of means, together with the fantastic educational aspects of growing plantlets close to the house instead of in the field, makes it an efficient first step to combat desertification.
I will publish a number of variants on mini-greenhouse construction in different parts:
Part 1 : Yogurt or other plastic pots.
Part 2 : Plastic bottles
Part 3 : Plastic trays
Part 4 : Plastic bags
All of these materials are generally littered on all continents and enhance pollution in a significant way. Streets and squares, road sides, fields, thorny trees, even the deserts are literally besmeared with all kinds of plastic objects in the most diverse colours. That dirty plastic is not only degrading the environment, it is also the source of many diseases. Therefore, I am convinced that it is better to teach youth how to “recycle” plastic bottles, pots, cups, bags and the like by using them for seedling production in mini-greenhouse form.
Part 1 : Yogurt or other plastic pots
On March 19, 2008, I already posted on this blog a message on the use of yog(h)urt pots as mini-greenhouses with the following description:
Below you will find some pictures explaining the functioning of my new (?) mini-greenhouses, in which small quantities of seedlings can be grown before being transplanted. Maybe someone did the same before, but up to now I didn’t find traces of this method. Should you have more information, don’t hesitate to send it to me.
Advantages of this method could be :
* Possibility to grow seedlings indoors (even before Spring in temperate regions, like in Belgium).
* Possibility to grow seedlings with a minimal quantity of water (avoiding drought outdoors) inside the house in the drylands (not in the garden outside) .
* Easy way to check germination daily.
* Easy way to regulate moisture level in the “mini-greenhouse” (lifting the transparent yoghurt pot, covering the seed(lings), to aerate whenever needed).
* Opportunity to choose the right moment (dimension of seedlings) for transplantation.
* Opportunity to reuse the same mini-greenhouse multiple times (easy to clean after transplantation).
This is probably a method which could tremendously help rural people in the drylands. It suffices to offer them free heaps of “yogurt pots” (which should not be littered anymore, but washed and cleaned!) to have them growing seedlings of certain crops in an optimal way, without having to irrigate their garden daily with a huge quantity of water (isn’t saving water in the drylands a MUST ?).