IFS officer Dr Neeraj Chanchal, who is currently working as the district forest officer of Khowai, Tripura, designed a vertical garden that is 100% eco-friendly, cost-effective, and easy to make.

“I saw a vertical garden made of plastic bottles at the Kolkata airport once, and that became my inspiration,” says Neeraj.

He adds, “Since Tripura has an abundance of bamboo, I chose to work with this eco-friendly alternative. So far, we have made over 30 such gardens in parks and around my office.”

Neeraj shares how to make a vertical garden using bamboo. Here are the steps: “A 10x10 feet vertical garden works perfectly for outdoor settings — such as in a garden, park, parking lots etc. However, for an indoor environment, a garden measuring 7x4 feet should be good.”

“Use a bamboo species which has at least a 2 cm thick inner wall.” “Make sure the bamboo is straight and not curved or bent. A bamboo culm that is about six to eight years old and is about 25-30 metres tall works best.”

“Submerge raw or untreated bamboo in water for five to seven days. This ensures that the shelf life of the bamboo is about five years.”

“To increase the shelf life up to 10 years, opt for chemically treated bamboo. However, that may be costlier and will be non-organic.”

“Cut individual bamboo into pieces depending on the requirement. Start making spaces like pots below each node and make oblique holes that are six inches tall and five inches wide.” “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 coco peat or soil and plant whatever seeds you like.”

“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,” shares Neeraj.