Making a sack garden
A vertical garden commonly referred to as a sack garden is simple and cheap to build. You need few materials, a small space and not much water.
What do you need to make one?
- a big polythene bag or sack
- 4 wooden stakes (to support the sack)
- a hollow tin
- manure and soil.
Decide on the position before you begin to build it as moving a sack full of wet soil, pebbles and plants can be a difficult task. Ideally, a spot where it will receive as much sunlight as possible is recommended.
A sack garden like this holds up to 150 plants.
- Mix manure and soil in the ratio of 1:1 near the site of the sack garden. This will make transportation easier and save you time.
- Measure a space 2 feet by 2 feet.
- Dig holes 1 foot deep in each corner
- Put the wooden stakes/poles into the holes
- Put a hollow tin in the middle of the polythene/bag at the bottom
- Insert the sack over the 4 stakes then fold to allow easy filling. The sack and stakes should make a square.
- Fill the hollow tin with ballast and the space between the tin and the polythene bag with a mix of manure and the topsoil
- Do not put any soil in the tin, unfold the sack as you fill the soil and ballast.
- Once you fill the tin with ballast to the top, pull it out and fill the new space with ballast/kokoto
- Repeat this process until the whole polythene bag or sack with soil and you have a ballast tunnel down the middle
- Make holes the size of a coin on the bag wall using a sharp stick. Leave 15 cm between each hole. Ensure the holes are not in the same vertical line to prevent blocking some from getting direct sunlight.
- Plant seedlings in the holes carefully so as not to damage the roots. Press the soil around the seedlings using the fingers to make it firm.
- If planting different types of crops, plant root crops (eg, bulb onions) at the top and leafy vegetables (spinach or kales) on the sides.
- Pour water down the ballast tunnel- you will need to use 20 litres (1 jerry can) of water for 2 days.
Want help in putting together a sack garden? Talk to Real IPM (Kenya) Ltd on +254 (0)725 806086. They have insect repellant and UV inhibiting sack gardens that can be reused for up to 8 years.