Do you stare wistfully at the vertical gardens adorning metro pillars, flyovers and high-rise buildings, and wish that you could have one in your home too?
Well, you can!
IFS officer Dr Neeraj Chanchal, who is currently working as the district forest officer of Khowai, Tripura, has designed a vertical garden that is 100% eco-friendly, easy on the budget and quite easy to make!
“I saw a vertical garden made of plastic bottles at the Kolkata airport once, and that became my inspiration. Since Tripura has an abundance of bamboo, I chose to to work with this eco-friendly alternative. So far, we have made about 30 such gardens in parks and around my office,” the IFS officer tells The Better India (TBI).
Here are some tips that Dr Chanchal has shared about how you too can build a vertical garden with a bamboo base.
Tips before you begin to work on the vertical garden:
- According to Dr Chanchal, a 10X10 feet vertical garden works perfectly for outdoor settings such as a garden, park, parking lots etc. For an indoor environment, a garden measuring 7X4 feet should be good.
- Use bamboo species with an inner wall which is at least 2 cm thick. “A thicker wall ensures slower degradation of the bamboo. Such species can last for least three years,” he shares.
- Make sure the bamboo is straight and not curved or bent—a bamboo culm that is about 6-8 years old and is about 25-30 metres tall works best.
- Get raw or untreated or raw bamboo, and submerge it in water for 5-7 days. “This helps dissolve the starch content of the bamboo, preventing fungus from growing. It helps in increasing the shelf life,” he explains.
- The above method will ensure that the shelf life of the bamboo will be about 5 years. Dr Chanchal adds that you can increase the shelf life up to 10 years if you opt for chemically treated bamboo. However, that may be costlier and will be non-organic.
- Do remember to replace the bamboo base once it degrades.
How to build vertical gardens using bamboo:
- Cut individual bamboo in pieces depending on the requirement. (if you want to make a 10×10 feet vertical garden, cut a bamboo stalk in 4 pieces of 10 feet each. Repeat for all other stalks. You should have about 30 pieces of 10 feet in height. The size will, of course, vary according to spaces available)
- For convenience, you can treat the bamboo by dipping in water after this step.
- Remove them from water and start making spaces like pots below each node and make oblique holes that are 6 inches tall and 5 inches wide. You will be putting soil and plants in these spaces.
- Make small holes inside the nodes so water can pass from one portion to the other.
- Arrange these bamboo stalks next to each other and tie them firmly with iron wire or a sturdy rope.
- Add soil and coco peat inside each nook and plant ornamental plants, herbs or flowers in each space.
- You can water the topmost plant and let the excess drip to the bottom ones. Keep observing the health of the plants, so you know which ones need to be watered separately.
- Using the same principles but cutting the bamboo shorter and suspending it horizontally, you can even create mini hanging gardens for your balcony.
While several indoor-and-outdoor plants can be planted in this structure, IFS officer Chanchal recommends the following plants for a vertical garden: Anthuriums (pink, red, white), Crotons, Bromeliads, Orchids, Dracaena, Money plants, Snake plants, Pothos, Spider plants, String of pearls etc.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)