At Nature Seychelles’ Heritage (organic) Garden we are constantly trying to innovate to get people to take charge of what Nature Seychelles’ Chief Executive, Dr Nirmal Jivan Shah calls their own “food system”. One of our main thrusts always has been promoting urban gardening and getting people even in apartments to grow herbs, spices and vegetables to improve their health and reduce their food budget and their carbon footprint.
We recently received innovative gardening kits from our partner Geffroy’s Farm, which are ideal for the apartment dweller and those with no land but who want a small kitchen garden. These are Grow Bags which are stand-alone systems that are so simple children can grow and harvest food using them. Geffroy’s farm owner, Jean-Paul Geffroy visited us to not only donate 5 grow bags but to also give a demonstration on how to use them. These are now on display for visitors to The Sanctuary as well as those coming to stock up on organic produce that we produce.
The grow bags are fully certified organic and the complete package includes a bag of soil which already has peat mixed in, a styrofoam box on top of which the bag of soil is placed, and a bottle of organic fertilizer which is fed through a special hole in one corner of the box. The growing system is semi-hydroponic.
“I wanted to further contribute to the home garden sector in the Seychelles,” Jean-Paul explains. “Geffroy’s has been selling seedlings at an affordable price for those wishing to grow their own vegetables and herbs. With the grow bag we can now offer a better package.”
Jean-Paul (2nd Right) explaining to Dr Shah (2nd left) and Nature Seychelles gardeners (far left and right) how the grow bags work
The grow bags, which were imported from Denmark are suitable for home gardens even if one does not have a backyard. They can be used in apartments, are easy to assemble and require little maintenance once planting has been done.
“Although the grow bag is suitable for those who do not have time to water or tend to the plant regularly, it is not a magic box,” Jean-Paul says. “You still have to give care to the plant. The water has to be topped up and the nutrients as well have to be replenished using the liquid fertilizer. The plant itself needs to be protected from pests, that is why we also have additional products such as neem oil, a bio-pesticide and a growth regulator. We have these available for sale from the farm at 300 rupees per bottle.”
If the bag containing the soil has not been broken or contaminated, they can be re-used for another round of vegetables or herbs. However if the bag is damaged, it is also possible to then later buy this separately from Geffroy’s.
“This is a great initiative and in line with Nature Seychelles’ Green Health Program which aims to encourage Seychellois to live healthier lives and more in tune with nature, for example through creating their own organic home gardens,” says Shah.
“Since we formally partnered a couple of years ago under our network called Sustainable Organic Seychelles, we have received seedlings as well as other garden resources and advice from Jean-Paul at no cost. For a charitable organisation such as ours, this greatly bolsters our outreach, in this case through our Heritage and Organic Gardens.”
The grow bags will be available for sale at Geffroy’s Farm in Anse Royale for 850 rupees for the complete pack. Additionally, also available from the Farm’s stall in Victoria Market for 90 rupees each are bags of peat which can be used for enriching the soil for those already with home gardens.