Floating gardens are easy to build and can provide a tremendous amount of nutritious vegetables for home use.Read more about this amazing gardens.
500 years back Aztecs amazed the world with ‘Chinampa’, their own version of floating garden and, today you can impress your friends and neighbours by building your own Chinampa. They have particularly become famous in area with heavier and longer rainy seasons. The unique build and design of floating gardens make them an ideal substitute for lands which get flooded even before crops can be harvested.
Vegetable gardens commonly seen in Dal and other lakes of Kashmir Valley are an excellent example of floating garden. For this type of garden first of all a floating base is made from natural materials like dried bamboo sticks or roots of various grasses and weeds growing wild in the lake.
Other than being an edible island, floating garden is also intended as an additional underwater edge for life to live. It is a hotspot for frogs, turtles and fishes. When the roots have really developed, it also becomes a means for additional water filtration, aeration and increasing the waters clarity. The water garden cleans up the canal by filtering the toxins and pollutants out of the water and putting oxygen back into it. This garden can also be used in other water bodies that need cleaning. It is made entirely of natural materials and is fairly simple to make.
Although the floating gardens are extremely suitable for growing several vegetables and fruits, it is more commonly used for growing only five of them. Out of these five, three are vegetables: tomato, pumpkin and cucumber and two are fruits: melon and watermelon.
Building a floating garden
Step 1: Cut bamboos and tie them firmly using twines to form the base of the floating garden. Alternatively, you can also use vines and saplings to build a square frame in a simple crisscross pattern – horizontal / vertical pattern – over under.
Step 2: Cover the frame with palm tree leaves or banana tree leaves. If you do not have access to any of these, use straw. Tie everything with twines to make a sturdy and floating base.
Step 3: Add a layer of planting media and compost on the top of the base and plant your seeds or seedlings into it. It is okay if a little compost falls into the water.
If you have used bamboos, make sure to seal the open ends of the bamboo with wax. Doing this will make the bamboo float better and will prevent it from rotting in water.
After the leaf compost is spread over the base and the seedlings are transplanted, irrigation and other subsequent operations can be done with the help of boats. Seasonal flower can also be grown in these gardens.
You can also attach stakes or pylons beneath to hold the floating garden above the water.
Using a floating garden
The gardens should not be used on areas of water that are affected by tides or currents where they would be vulnerable to erosion and at risk of disintegrating. Flooded land or small ponds can be used. The floating gardens are kept in position by tethering them to poles.
Not all crops do well in the floating gardens; however, small-rooted, short-season crops generally grow well. Crops that prefer wet rooting conditions grow better than those that prefer dry conditions.
In some circumstances the raft can be accessed on foot, or by using a raft or boat if the garden is in deeper water. The rafts can be used for summer and winter crops. Vegetables are harvested two or three time a week or when there is particularly high demand.
Note that growing certain plants like tomato and pepper in floating systems can be challenging due to the higher nutrient requirements. Hydroponic fertilizers can be used to supply the supplemental nutrients.
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