Micro-garden technologies are receiving increased attention in the
context of small scale horticulture in emergency situations. For their
simplicity and adaptability they are spreading in urban environments,
refugee camps, schools and health centres. With little or no soil
and limited water, micro-gardens can rapidly improve the availability
of fresh and nutritious vegetables while providing for an attractive
and creative occupation requiring minimal physical efforts.
|| People with no land and no income
can only rely on food distribution for their survival. The micro-garden
systems can change their lives.
Starting with 1m2 and 1-3 litres of potable water per day, a family
can grow a broad range of vegetables including leafy vegetables like:
cabbage, lettuce, jute, cut lettuce, amaranth, rosel, basil, as well
as root and tuber vegetables like: carrot, potato, red beet, onion,
and fruit vegetables like: tomato, hot and sweet pepper, eggplant.
As a first priority, the micro-garden system encourages the families
to "save" the little fertile soil and protect it from further erosion
and practice "bed culture system".
| When no soil is available, the cultivation
can be successfully performed with natural substrates elaborated from
locally available materials such as peanut shells, coconut fibres,
rice hulls, coarse sand, pozzolane, etc. In case the substrate is
not available then it is also easy to grow the crops as "floating"
directly on a nutrient solution.
A major reason why the micro-gardens are very popular for women
is because their cultivation requires less physical effort as compared
to conventional growing. In addition the system is highly water
use efficient which again reduces to burden of carrying irrigation
water but also helps to safe the water which is expensive and scarcely
With the micro-gardens the Tsunami affected population can immediately
engage and participate in rebuilding their future and harvest every
day fresh, safe and highly nutritious vegetables for improving their
diet with vitamins, essential micro-nutrients and vegetable proteins.
It is suggested that Training and Demonstration Centres be established
in camps, schools and health centres, where beneficiaries could be
trained with the help of local NGOs if applicable. Families will be
provided with a take-home kit in order to continue vegetable production
at their homestead once resettled.