In Thailand’s warm, tropical climate plants are easily grown with a little care and water. The provincial office of Agriculture in Phuket demonstrates in this video how residents can plant their own herbal plants at homes, even with limited space or budget. The Agriculture Chief suggests hanging pots of herbal or kitchen vegetables that can easily be planted in reused or reclaimed materials such as plastic containers, paint buckets or even old motorcycle helmets. The plants that are recommended because they are easily grown and commonly used in Thai cuisine include lemongrass, sweet basil, basil, morning glories and chillies. He suggests that it not only helps cut costs in the household budget, but is also organic and healthy for family members. Some of the pungent plants also serve as natural insect repellent, such as lemongrass.
outh and entrepreneurship are two great elements for social change because young people really have the drive and creativity to push the limits and help people. These two brothers are a wonderful example of young people who are looking to help people in developing countries by spreading information about gardening systems.
They started by developing an idea similar to the Earthbox but used 5 gallon buckets. They filmed an intro and various how-tos for making their Global Buckets using 2 5-gallon plastic buckets, a plastic cup, PVC pip, drill/hole drill bits, black plastic, soil and vegetable plant (tomatoes, peppers, etc.) The video are narrated by the two brothers and are very easy to follow. The benefits of their system is that it reduces water loss, reduce time needed for weeding and can easily be used in small spaces, even urban rooftops.
Furthermore, these guys are great experimenters. After some feedback from users in Jamaica that told them that 5-gallon buckets in Jamaica are too valuable to put holes in, they decided to try to make similar system out of garbage and recycling various materials. So now, they have suggested other ideas such as growing bags and using dirt, instead of potting soil. They hope to lower the cost and make these systems more applicable to developing countries. I wish these two young social entrepreneurs the best and will try some of their ideas out in my own garden.
The last few weekends I have been working on the
preparations for my vegetable garden. During the last few months,
my father put some of the leftover pulp from composted pineapples
in the ground. Now, we added more layers of organic compost, this
time mostly from leaves and grass clippings, as well as cow manure.
We also put a fence with netting around the area. This is to make
sure the dogs don’t get into the garden, since they love to dig and
chew. Three weeks ago, we started some seeds in small folded-paper
pots filled with a mixture of soil, coconut coir and manure. Most
of the vegetables have sprouted and the seedlings are ready to go
into the ground. I’ve also started more seedlings last week. This
time I have some sage, Thai pumpkins, Baby Boo pumpkins, dipper
gourds, and butternut squash. The last three were from seed packets
that I bought at the Jim Thompson farm for 20 baht. Each packet
only had 4-6 seeds so I take extra special care of those ones. This
Bangkokian can wait to see it when everything is in the
Starting this Saturday, there will be the Chia Tai Agricultural Fair at their demonstration farm in Kanchanburi province of Thailand. The event will be held at Choncharoen Farm in Tambon Wangdong.
Chia Tia is the seed production company for CP which grows and distributes more than 400 varieties of vegetables and flowers for both local and domestic markets. In fact, a large portion of their business is seed exports to Southeast Asia and South Asia. One of the major parts of their business is to do research and development on strains and varietites of plants which are suited to this regions’ climate.
“The Home Garden” and “5 Colours A Day” are themes for the fair, in an effort to promote more vegetable consumption in the Thai diet. Thais consume only 100 grammes per day on average, far lower than the global standard of 500 grammes. I think this event would be worth going to see the different varieties of plants, especially if they are adapted to growing in Thailand, and getting some of the interesting types to grow in your garden.
This year, the calender that sits on my desk is the UNESCO-UNGEI Asia-Pacific 2011 Gender Equality in Education calendar.
The calendar is filled with wonderful photos captured throughout the Asia-Pacific region as part of a photo contest. Over 250 entries were submitted from 14 countries in the Asia-Pacific region. The photos were taken by students, teachers, government workers, development workers and photographers. The 13 winning photos are featured for the cover and each month of the calendar. You can see the amazing cover photo of school children in Bhutan below.
Gender equality is more than treating women and men exactly the same. It means providing equal access and participation in decision-making processes, social responsibilities and so forth. UNESCO has the specific objective to ensuring that men and women or boys and girls, all have equal access to achieve in education to their highest potential, not on whether they are born male or female.
Based on this video, one of the most difficult issues with growing an urban garden is actually starting. For the sunny, hot climate in Thailand, providing enough water for the plants will be one of the trickier aspects of caring for the plants. The plants which are recommended are pak boong and basil as being hardy plants for beginners. If you have a concrete slab and no place to grow your vegetables, coconut husks can be used to provide a layer of insulation before putting some soil over. The coconut husks help to maintain the moisture in the soil and helps keeps the plants cooler throughout the day. Manure is added to fertilize the soil instead of using chemical fertilizers.
Seeing as buying organic vegetables can be expensive, this urban dweller in Thailand decided to grow his own fruits and vegetables. Buy using the small area around his house, including the car park, the formerly unused area has been turned into an area for producing food. Amazingly, he even grows mushrooms and composts in this small area. This is a very practical approach for urban Bangkokians and a good model for anyone looking to trying growing more than landscape or ornamental plants. It’s very encouraging to see that some people are producing their own food, even in an urban jungle like Bangkok. For me, I think it definitely proves that small, urban food gardens are possible in Thailand.
I’ve heard about the Jim Thompson Farm in Pak Thong Chai in the past in Nakhon Ratchasima province before but have never had the chance to visit. The reason is that it is only open to the public during a short period in the winter. This year it is open from December 18, 2010 to January 9, 2011. The farm features an eco-cultural tour showing the silk worms and mulberry farm, pumpkin patch, sunflower fields, Isan village and local artists.
I hope to go to the farm this weekend before my chance is gone for another year. It’s a three hour drive from Bangkok, so it can be a day trip for Bangkokians. It would be a great place to spend the day with the family and I think kids would really enjoy it.
Starting this year, I’m trying to eat healthier by increasing my intake of vegetables. In Thailand, fresh local-grown fruits and vegetables are easily bought from the store year. However, with my recent working habits, I’ve been eating food more for the convenience than for taste, quality or nutrition. While food in Thailand is generally served in small, appropriate portions compared to Western countries, many of the restaurants near my work place serve larger portions. Additionally, Thai food can be carb-heavy because it is served with rice or noodles and many of the quick dishes are fried and oily.
One solution to my lunch time dilemma would be to pack my own lunch such as salads and lean meats. Most supermarkets offer a range of salad greens and fresh vegetables to choose from. However, purchasing vegetables regularly can be troublesome as making time for multiple trips to the supermarket during the week can be time-consuming. It can be difficult to gauge how much vegetables will be required for one week so I’m often either buying too many or too few vegetables. So, in order to make obtaining vegetables regularly a little bit less cumbersome and a bit more fun, I’ve decided to try and grow some vegetables in my yard.
Being fortunate enough to have a large enough property to have a vegetable garden in Bangkok, I’ve decided to start some seeds out in folded paper pots. The paper I used was already used on both sides and will be the temporary home for my seedlings before they will be put into the ground. Initially, I’ve started some cucumbers, tomatoes, bok choy, long green beans, pak boong, and Chinese broccoli (pak kana). Afterward, I plan to plant everything into the plot of land which has been prepared by mulching some manure and organic matter a few months before. Once this first lot of seedlings goes into the ground, I’ll be starting the next lot of seedlings which will include some pumpkin, watermelon and lettuce. If everything goes as planned, I’ll have various fresh vegetables that I can pick from my own garden and eat, without the hassle of going to the supermarket. At the very least, it can supplement whatever is store bought and reduce my expenses on vegetables that I can grown myself.
This video provides introduction to maintaining a useful vegetable garden. The school garden is cared for by the teachers and students at a border police-run school in Ban Pha Kha, Fang, Chiang Mai Province. The teacher discusses methods for caring for the various plants in the garden ranging from climbing plants which are trained on a bamboo trellis to salad greens and local fruits. She also talks about the fence that was built around the garden to prevent pigs from neighboring farms from coming into the garden and eating the vegetables. Shan and Thai language spoken in this video. (No English!)