Home  -  Back Issues  -  The Team  Contact Us
Linking Young Minds Together
  Volume 6 | Issue 23 | June 10, 2012 |


   News Room
   Feed Board
   Campus Trends
   News Snap
   Post Campus
   Youth in Action
   One on One
   Cricket Commentary
   Silly Tales
   Star Chat

   Star Campus     Home





Creating your own Garden

Rakibul Hasan
Photos: Kazi Tahsin Agaz Apurbo

"It's the little things citizens do, that's what will make the difference. My little thing is planting trees."
-- Wangari Maathai, Nobel laureate, Kenyan environmental and political activist

Here is an interesting trivia to begin your day with: A Guinness world record was created for planting the most number of trees in an hour. Currently the record is held by a team of hundred people from the UK who participated in a tree planting competition and ended up planting 26,422 trees in only one hour! As incredible as it sounds, just think in a densely populated country like us, if every student planted just one tree, how many trees could be planted across the country? However, due to mindless urbanisation, the amount of open space to plant trees in both urban and rural areas is decreasing. The only option that we are left with is to plant trees in containers in whatever small space we can manage on the rooftop or in balcony of our households. With the rainy season knocking at your door, this is the best time of the year to create your own garden on rooftops, balconies or any empty space in your house. According to renowned environmentalist Mokarram Hossain, given the current situation of Dhaka city (that has little or no space at all for tree plantation), rooftop gardening can play a significant role to maintain the ecological balance in urban areas. Apart from the aesthetic view of beautiful flowers, rooftop gardens can also be a major source of fresh fruits and vegetables, which can give one relief from the harmful health effects of the artificially grown and ripened fruits and vegetables now widely available in the markets.

Special care and regular watering are required, especially while planting a sapling.

Gardening seems to be a common topic for most of the Bangladeshi students whenever they are asked to write an essay on 'Your favourite hobby' during exams in schools or colleges. However, in reality, students suffer from a number of confusions if they actually decide to go for gardening on their own. The confusions that most amateur gardeners experience are where to make their anticipated garden, what kind of plants should be in it, how to take care of the plants and so on. When one thinks of a garden, one may feel the need to have a big yard for creating a proper one. However, any corner of your house - be it the small yard, rooftop or a balcony with a good exposure to sunlight and air, can be sufficient enough to grow a garden. Previously people would plant only for decorative purposes. Nowadays all kinds of fruits and vegetables are being grown in pots or tubs, which come in different shapes and sizes. Earthen pots or tubs, especially designed for planting trees, can be found in almost all the nurseries of the city. While an eight inch tub would cost Tk 50, a 12 to 14 inch tub can be found at Tk 100 to 130.

Saplings and seeds of different varieties are available in the nurseries all year round.

As saplings and seeds of different varieties of vegetable and flowers are now available in nurseries all year round, novice gardeners have hundreds of options when selecting plants for their garden. For the flower admirers, there are numerous types of flowers, each of which is unique with its beautiful colours and looks. Native varieties like gladiolas, tube rose and lilies have much special appeal and are suitable for Bangladeshi summer. When they burst into blooms, they fill your garden with colours and enticing smells.

Organic pesticides can be made at home.
Kitchen garden - a source of fresh vegetables.

If you abhor the chemical infested fruits in the markets and want to produce fresh fruits from your own garden, then mangoes and guavas will be suitable to grow in large pots or drums on your rooftop. On the other hand, for a kitchen garden in summertime one can choose to grow from a wide variety of vegetables like string beans, bitter gourds, cucumber, capsicum, Indian spinach, water spinach, okra, chillies, lemon, lettuce etc. Fresh herbs like field mints (Pudina) or Centella (Thankuni) can also be good choices. Vegetables like these can easily be grown in compact spaces and will not take up too much of your time in gardening. Not to forget, fresh vegetables and herbs from your own garden will taste all the more delicious once you grow them yourself, with your own loving care. While the price of a sapling can be anything within a range of Tk 20 to Tk 150, depending on the size and variety of the plant, the seeds usually come in a much lower price range of Tk10 to 50 per packet. Tongi Bazar just on the outskirts of Dhaka can be a good place where one can find an assortment of shops dealing in all kinds of gardening materials starting from seeds, saplings to hoes and fertiliser in a very economic rate.

Get seeds, fertilisers, saplings and gardening materials at Tongi Bazar at a very economic rate.

Sharmin Rahmatullah, a passionate gardener and a masters student of East West University has created her own little patch of tranquillity in the concrete jungle in the balcony of her multi-storied residence building. Sharmin suggests the young gardeners to keep things simple. She has a lot to say about soil and the kind of treatment it needs for sowing seeds and saplings. “Beginner gardeners do not need to complicate the process of preparing soil by contemplating over the use of chemical fertilisers in precise amounts. Most garden plants do perfectly well on fertile, well-drained soil provided with water and natural nutrients.” Gardeners can either plant the seeds or saplings in containers or if they have enough space they can also make a bed of 10 feet length and 1 foot width in their terrace or any place available. The bed can be made in a tray slightly above from the ground to avoid water stagnation. For best yielding, natural fertilisers like dried cow dung, oil cake (khail) and chemical fertilisers like 250 grams of Potassium and Triple Super Phosphate can be added to the soil. The soil in a bed or container should be watered regularly for 7 days before sowing the seeds or saplings. The seeds should be soaked in water overnight before sowing it into the soil. Both natural compost and chemical fertiliser can be found at almost all the major nurseries. While the natural compost would cost the young gardeners Tk 75 per kg, other chemical fertilisers cost from Tk 35 to 50 per kg.

The duty of a gardener does not finish only after planting the seeds and saplings. “If you wish to have beautiful flowers or fresh fruits from your garden, you need to take proper care of the plants,” says Sharmin. One has to be committed enough to spend at least one day in a week to nurture the tender plants in the garden. Students can take care of their plants during weekends or holidays when they have leisure time. Taking care of the plants involve watering the plants, fertilising it with organic nutrients and controlling the weeds. The plants should be watered regularly or in case of some plants on every alternative day. Natural fertilisers like used tea leaves, vegetable peals, manure or any kind of organic wastes can be a good source of natural nutrients for plants. It is essential to pull out the weeds from the roots of plants and scrape the surface of soil with a fork or knife for the sake of ventilation. Insects and bugs can be a nuisance for your beloved garden, so it is very necessary to use pesticides. To make your own environment friendly organic pesticides, soak 100 grams of dry chilli powder in water overnight. Filter the chilli soaked water with a piece of cloth in the morning, then add some detergent powder to it and your home made pesticide is ready to be sprayed. It is always better to apply pesticides during the day when the plants in a garden get direct sunlight.

Any corner of a house with a good exposure to sunlight and air is sufficient to grow a garden.

Now as you have answers to all the questions, just wait and have patience to enjoy the fruit of your labour. Arafat, another student gardener says, “It gives me immense pleasure when I get fresh supply of vegetables like chillies, lemon and even eggplants from my rooftop garden and can have them with my family. As a hobby, gardening helps me to stay healthy and I believe by planting trees, I am also paying my dues to the nature.”

The colour green is considered to be the colour of youth. Needless to say that this is high time for the youth to go green and plant as many trees as possible, to reduce carbon footprints and slow down, stop and reverse environmental degradation. So start planning your own garden today to eat and live fresh and also to save the planet earth.

Special thanks to noted environmentalist Mokarram Hossain for providing valuable information to write this article.

Copyright (R) thedailystar.net 2012