I would be lying if I said that back then is when my interest for farming started. If you had dare told me to go to the farm, to weed or plant and even harvest, you would have been my greatest enemy! Because, why should I? Why should I make my fingernails dirty? Why should I smell like manure all in the name of farming? But guess who is now addicted to this farming show that is aired on a local TV show every Monday? Guess who is slowly getting the nitty bits of farming ingrained in her system? On thinking about it, all it took was passion. There are just some things you cannot do, if passion is not the constant variable.
The best thing I have come to love about farming is just how diverse it can be. With farming, you do not have to feel like you are walking on eggshells, or like you have everything to lose. It is all about showing your garden some love and all it does is reciprocate the same, right back at you. Amazing right? I mean, receiving the same type of love and care that you give? Isn’t that all what we ever want? So yes, farming will not break your heart.
I remember doing a piece on urban farming and today, I want to expand on it and share with you more skills that I managed to learn since 2020. I want to shine light on it, because not many people actually have large pieces of land where they can grow vegetables and food stuffs. Most people have little or no compound space, hence excuses that go on and on, on how they cannot grow anything for themselves. Thanks to Madam Faith who has been tagging me along with her on farming expeditions, I have learnt new ways that we can embrace when it comes to green leafy vegetables. Matter of fact, we need to know that urban farming is easy ( using readily available materials), environment friendly (helps hugely in recycling of plastic and proper use of non-degradable materials) and it is also a great impact in enhancing food security.
As the name suggests, the green wall is a wall made up of green bottles. Now just picture green leafy vegetables planted in green bottles! Quite a sight to behold isn’t it?
-20-30, 2litres plastic bottles. (if you are unable to find all of them in green, it is okay to mix up with other colours)
-A knife. This will help to cut out the bottles into the desired sizes.
-2 and 4 inch nails. This is to drill holes on the bottle tops, to help the water drip into the next bottle. The same nails will be used to nail the bottles on the pieces of wood.
-A hammer, light stone or a small log. This will help to hit the nail into the bottle tops. ( note that I have listed the three materials so that you can choose what is readily and comfortable for you to use)
-Hot piece of round metal. Helps to burn the bottom part of the bottle so as to insert another bottle into it.
-6 pieces of long straight wood. The bottles will be nailed on them.
-Worn out piece of rubber. Easy rubber, preferably a worn out slipper. The rubber helps when nailing the nail into the wood, to prevent the plastic bottles from breaking since some can be having a very fragile material.
-Take some good amount of soil and manure and mix well. Helps to ensure that the soil is fertile enough
-A spade. Helps to mix soil and the manure. The manure should be from the animals, e.g. cows, pigs and chicken. Reason being, we want to grow clean and organic food, free of chemicals.
-Source of fire. The fire will be used to heat the metal, so as to burn holes into the bottles.
Now, if you have gathered all those materials, we are ready to get to the next step and it is just getting better and more fun! So stay with me, because by the end of all these, I want you to be able to come up with your own green wall garden.
How to go about the preparations:
Step 1: ensure the bottle doesn’t have any sticker on it. Remember we want uniformity and the beauty of it can only be achieved if every bottle is (as naked as it can ever be.)
Step 2: if the bottle top is on, remove it and keep it aside for later use. Now take the knife and cut out the round collar that usually rests at the bottom of the bottle top. Cutting it helps in smooth connection with the next bottle that will be inserted at the bottom.
Step 3: if you look closely and keenly you will notice the bottle has two symmetrical lines, running from top to bottom. Take the knife and slowly but carefully start cutting slightly below the neck of the bottle. (Right where my top 1 sticker is there is a marking above it, and that is where you should consider cutting and right at the bottom where my bottom sticker should be where you cut) I have labelled to ensure that you do not go way below because that will distort the bottle, hence render it useless. The two stickers are to help guide you on where to cut. Cut all the bottles that you have.
Step 4: take all the nails and drill 3-4 medium sized holes on the bottle tops. I say medium sized, because we do not want that much water going through. Remember we are also trying to save on the resources that we are using. The medium holes also help to retain water in each bottle.
Step 5: find a favourable position on a wall. That is the whole essence of it being called a green wall, because it is a green garden, on a wall. Take 3 pieces of wood first and nail them on the wall, at the top and on both sides, such that it looks like you have a straight 3 sided square. Pin another piece of wood at the centre for stability. Lastly, for the remaining 2 pieces, nail them horizontally across such that they run across our three sided square.
Step 6: get your source of fire ready and take the round piece of metal. Ensure it has an insulated end where you can safely hold without getting burnt. Place the metal in the fire till it gets hot enough and start burning the bottom of one bottle and taking another by the mouth and insert it where the hole is, quickly, before the burnt space contracts. Depending on the number of bottles you have, for example if you have 30 of them, divide them equally into 5 bottles per row so that you will have 6 streams. If 20, divide into rows of 5 or 4, whatever you find effective for you. Just make sure the last bottle which will be at the top is not tampered with.
Step 7: after connecting the bottles, now take the drilled bottles tops and close the connected bottles.
Step 8: nail the first bottle that was not tampered with against the top most piece of wood and remember to use the rubber so that the bottles do not break. According to the length of the bottles, nail another one on the second piece of wood and another on the third piece of wood. If one is in a position to have a pipe, they can make a drip, which will involve drilling holes all across the top most bottles, so that the drip can run across.
Step 9: now that the bottles are now secured on the wall, take the soil that had been mixed with manure and fill all the bottles to the brim.
Step 10: fill the top bottles with water such that it starts dripping to the bottom bottles, through the drilled bottle tops. Since when the water gets to the very bottom bottle it will drip down on the ground, it is advisable to have another small garden, so that the water does not go to waste.
Step 11: depending on the seedlings you have, e.g. strawberries, spinach, kales, parsley and many more, take a small piece of stick, dig a small hole at the centre of every bottle, and then proceed to plant. After planting and the seedlings start to mature, ensure to carefully direct the plant towards outside of the bottle, so that it gets enough light and air and so that it doesn’t get squeezed while germinating. After sometime, one can always remove the top layer of the soil and add another one, and add some goat manure, since it helps to add nitrogen to the plants.
On this day that i learnt about the green wall, i also made some new friends.
Trust you me, if you follow through these steps, you will be having your green wall up in no time. Oh! Not to forget, consumption of good, clean and fair foods, at the comfort of your own home. You can use the green leafy vegetables for home consumption, or even for commercial purposes and be earning some money.
This is the part where I sign off and almost go all out like, ‘hey guys, thank you for watching, please subscribe to my You Tube channel and make sure you click on the notification button for more content’ but I realise naaaa, this is not the place nor platform. I mean, you do understand that, right?
But all in all, I feel so exhilarated sharing this information and so, how about you leave me a comment on what you think about urban farming? Would you be willing to try out the green wall technique? What is your take about consumption of clean and fair food?