Bottle towers for fresh food production at home (Willem VAN COTTHEM)

Here is one of the best low-tech methods to combat hunger and malnutrition all over the world.  It is called “the BOTTLE TOWERS method“.  I have develop this low-cost method to help people to fresh food with a minimum of means.

This efficient technique is remarkably cheap, because the bottle towers consist of normally discarded, but here recycled plastic bottles, filled with a mix of local soil and animal manure or compost.  It can be applied all over the world, both in rural and in urban areas, even on a balcony, a deck or a patio.

One will find some photos taken today in my experimental garden in Belgium, but one can also find the following videos, showing how to build or to use these bottle towers :

(1) Building a bottle tower for container gardening

Plastic bottles stacked into a bottle tower can be recycled to set up a vertical kitchen garden at home. The bottle towers are used for container gardening of vegetables and herbs. How to build such a tower is shown in different steps.


Building towers of recycled bottles and/or pots offers fantastic opportunities to grow fresh food with a minimum of water and fertilizer. One can grow at home, in cities and villages, all kinds of vegetables and herbs. Bottle towers are a wonderful tool to alleviate hunger and malnutrition. They can be build at the lowest cost by any family everywhere on earth, particularly in drylands and deserts.


Anyone can grow vegetables and fruits at home. Growing plants in bottles is very easy. A number of examples are given. Different sizes and forms of bottles can be used. Setting up a series of bottle towers, one can even have a vertical kitchen garden in the smallest space, on a patio or a balcony, against a wall or a trellis. With some imagination, everyone can set up her or his own little garden with recycled bottles, thus combating hunger, malnutrition and environmental pollution.

Many more of my videos can be found at YOU TUBE : see ‘willemvcot

My friend Gilbert VAN DAMME and his son Dennis helping me with the planting of seedlings of vegetables and herbs in the bottle towers placed on pallets in my experimental garden at home (Zaffelare, Belgium) – (Photo WVC)
Lots of herbs and veggies can easily be grown in these bottle towers with only a minimum of water and fertilizer (Photo WVC)
In a second part of my garden lettuce, chives, parsley, lavas and many other vegetables and herbs are grown in bottles of mineral water and Coca-Cola (Photo WVC)
Quite soon this garden of only 10 square meter will deliver enough fresh food for the family during summer and autumn. In tropical regions food can be produced all year long. This method is already applied in different countries to combat malnutrition and the lack of vitamins. (Photo WVC)

Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.