When it comes to having the freshest veggies, our best bet is to grow them ourselves. But what to do if you don’t have the space for it? Living in a city can have its perks but space constraints will not allow you the luxury of your own garden. And living in an apartment? Definitely not! Dr Shivanand Hongal’s Hanging Garden will solve this problem and also put an end to plastic trouble. In a chat with him we find out more.
Shivanand was fascinated by the Hanging Gardens he saw while on a trip to Israel last year. A professor at the College of Horticulture, Sirsi, Shivanand was inspired by these Gardens and wanted to implement the same. He shares, “I met some farmers who used plastic bottles to grow ornamental flowers and creepers. Inspired by that concept, I thought of getting our students to recreate this project as part of their course using waste bottles.”
The professor believes that apart from reusing plastic bottles, people living in small apartments can get to eat fresh vegetables that they grow.
Shivanand, who has done his PhD in Vegetable Science further believes that, “The students handle everything. From sowing to selling the produce. They have even decorated the bottles with emojis and ribbons to make them look beautiful. Rather than using normal mud, we are using coco peat which is lightweight and also bio fertilisers.”
Till now, the students have been able to grow vegetables like bok choy, onion, garlic, palak, dill, lettuce etc. Talking about their reaction to this project, he says, “They started doing as part of their course and now they are experimenting with this concept at their homes as well. The produce generated by our students is sold to our staff as well as the hostel here.”
After completing this project with one batch, Shivanand, who hails from Belgaum, has introduced it to the fresh batch as well. The professor, who has graduated from the Indian Institute of Horticultural Research shares, “Till now, we have managed to recycle over 700 bottles and the students now are still in the process of collecting old bottles from restaurants and cafes.”
Apart from the vertical Hanging Gardens, Shivanand has experimenting further by placing these bottles on newly-built bamboo structures to see if it has the same impact.