News: Ensuring All-year Round Availability of High-Value Vegetables Through Container Gardening Under Prot -
17 Sep 2010
In the past, the idea of growing vegetables in urban setting seemed unrealistic. The lack of available space, immense pollution, and extremes of weather have daunted potential vegetable growers to go into this kind of production system. But with the advent of urban agriculture, specifically the production of vegetables in containers under protective structures, optimization of land-use and production using climate-controlled techniques can now be opportunistically addressed. Also, with scientific advances, urban agriculture is now able to address the challenge of supplying nutritionally adequate and safe food to city dwellers.
Production of vegetables in containers as an approach to urban gardening is not entirely a new concept for this has been practiced before. “This is like backyard gardening but vegetable crops are exclusively grown in containers instead of planting them in the ground. Vegetable container gardening can be considered a viable sustainable production method”, according to Dr. Mabesa, “since it promotes the re-use of materials that are abundant and considered as waste including old rubber tires, styropor, plastic bags and bottles, tin cans, and scrap metal.”
The first phase of the project demonstrated the production of different kinds of vegetable salads, particularly lettuce, in containers under protective structures. “This was done in various sites of the C AL ABARZON ( Cavite , Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) area. Phase two of the project studied the performance of various Brassicas (also called Cruciferae) such as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and kale in various sites of C AL ABARZON and Metro Manila.”
The project is now on its third phase focusing on the performance of “pinakbet” crops such as tomato, eggplant, lady’s finger, stringbeans, bitter gourd, and squash. Results from the first two phases have been incorporated in the third phase particularly in the use of protective structures and containers. “For the protective structures, we used protective high tunnels and iron stands for durability and sustainability. Also, instead of plastic pots we have metal shelves with bamboos for planting area due to the immediate availability of the material,” Dr. Mabesa expounded. Another modification is on the structure itself making it smaller (10 sq.m) to accommodate limited spaces making the technology more cost-effective.
(Source: DA-BAR, by Rita dela Cruz, 09/07/2010)