Food Security PRoject – Metre Squared of wall space

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Introduction

The most vulnerable communities are likely to suffer devastating food shortages due to Covid, war and climate change. This project aims to try and make a small difference. Please join us.

nay people have no access to land in order to grow food and in many countries, there is no culture of growing plants in urban areas, instead, food is imported or provided from the rural areas. How might we try and make a difference?

Most people have access to an area of wall spaces. If we can create effective vertical gardens, some essential nutrients can be grown. This project aims to find out how we might find the most efficient way of utilising wall space to grow food. The more people who get involved, the more chance we have of finding the optimum design. So please share this and join us.

You can only use seeds and things that can be sourced from rubbish like plastic bottles, buckets, containers, bags etc. Soil can be used or ideally compost or watering can be done with compost tea. We need to buy as little as possible.

The project is split into 5 stages

  • Choose what we might try and grow
  • Germinate the seeds as effectively as possible
  • Grow the seedlings on
  • Plant the seedlings in a vertical garden
  • Monitor the growth and harvest your crop

We will learn nothing if we just do the above randomly. We need to think at each stage like a scientist about how we will find and show evidence to support what we have found out.

Choosing what to grow

This is essential to the whole project. There are many questions that need answering. The ideal crop is fast-growing, nutritious and does not take up too much space. It needs to be tolerant to heat and the seeds need to be cheap and available in areas of vulnerable communities. Plants you eat the leaves of are probably the best bet, but you may want to look at beans, tomatoes, peppers etc that can be grown for cash. Some possibilities are (but do not restrict yourself to these)

  • Spinach
  • Swiss Chard
  • Amaranthus (Pigweed)

Teaching point: You can look at nutrients, types of plants where we eat the roots/leaves or fruit

Germinating your seeds

What do your seeds need in order to sprout (germinate) How might we find out the best way of germinating them? Some options are shown in the gallery, but do not be restricted to these and please share your ideas.

Some questions that you might want to consider.

  • Do they need soil?
  • Do they germinate faster in the dark or light?
  • How much water should they be given?
  • What is the best temperature to grow them at.

growing your seedlings on

NOTE: You might want to skip this stage and plant them directly into your vertical garden

Seedlings like all plants need and will compete for light, water and nutrients so will not grow well if they are too close together. We need to think about how we can give them ideal growing conditions. You may want to set up self-watering plastic bottle systems like the one shown below

Some questions you might want to answer

  • What size bottles work best?
  • What type of soil?
  • What type of cloth? nylon. cotton etc work best to wick the water up (Old socks work well for this)
  • How many seedlings per pot?
  • What is the best to water them with?/. Should you use fertiliser?

design and Planting your vertical garden

Brainstorm ideas before you do research as we tend to be less creative when we have seen ways things can be done. By now you should have some seedlings – If they have died you can buy some from a garden centre.

Some questions to answer

  • How are you going to make the best use of space? (You are limited to 1 metre by 1 metre squared)
  • What design of garden are you going to use?
  • How will you attach it to the wall or window ?
  • How will you keep it watered?
  • How will you keep a regular supply of plants? (succession)
  • How much can you crop without killing the plant?
  • Lots more!!

Sharing What you have Learned

Add this to the padlet embedded below

https://padlet.com/rubbishsci/g4wjzdd7rdq94wvd
https://padlet.com/rubbishsci/g4wjzdd7rdq94wvd

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