AMPHIBILIVING: imagining a future living with water

practical action

charity using technology to challenge poverty around the world



Floating gardens

For people who live in areas covered by water during the monsoon season, such as the riverine areas of Bangladesh, it is impossible to grow crops. Practical Action has developed a technology to allow farmers to grow food on flooded land.
The floating garden is a clever solution that employs the use of water hyacinth, which is collected to construct a raft. This is then covered with soil and cow dung, in which vegetables can be planted. A new raft needs to be built every year, but the old one can be used as fertiliser during the dry season.
The rafts, eight metres long and one metre wide, are made from hyacinth which is available for free locally. Soil is put on the surface of the raft and then the seeds planted in the soil. Summer and winter vegetables such as gourd, okra and leafy vegetables are grown.
The floating gardens provide vital food for people even during the annual monga (period of food shortages) and they can also provide an alternative source of income through sale of any surplus in the market. The rafts can be moved from place to place so are also suitable for those that have temporarily or permanently lost their homes and land.
Families are trained in pit cultivation – making 30cm x 30cm holes for planting vegetable seed. Every household has ten pits to grow vegetables and is given ten different high yielding varieties of fast growing vegetable and groundnut seeds.
Training is provided in new techniques to cope with the conditions in order to grow more and better crops throughout the year. People are shown how to protect against plant disease and insect attack using organic control methods (e.g. home made botanical insecticide). Advice is also given in making seed-beds, preparing compost and enriching the sandy soil with compost and manure.



Floating gardens
Practical Action


Other projects on amphibiliving.net by Practical Action:

Saline resitant organic rice




photograph: Practical Action Bangladesh
photograph: Practical Action Bangladesh
photograph: Practical Action Bangladesh

photograph: Practical Action Bangladesh