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  1. #1
    Thailand Expat David48atTD's Avatar
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    The remarkable floating gardens

    The remarkable floating gardens-screenshot_2020-09-28-remarkable-floating-gardens

    In the lowlands of Bangladesh, people are turning to a centuries-old form of hydroponics to keep afloat.

    Ripening squash, bitter gourd and okra loom over a mass of water hyacinth. Birds fly low over the surface of the water.
    Bijoy Kumar, a farmer in the low-lying Gopalganj district of Bangladesh, stands knee deep in water, tending to his plants.

    He and his family could not escape the rising waters in the volatile monsoons – so they abandoned the traditional rice crop. He turned instead to an eco-friendly practice that had been used by his ancestors in the southern flood plains, a traditional form of hydroponics, called floating vegetable gardens.

    The remarkable floating gardens-screenshot_2020-09-28-remarkable-floating-gardens

    Water hyacinth is an invasive weed in parts of Bangladesh, but now it is being used to form soil-free beds for the country's floating gardens (Credit: Getty Images)


    Anatomy of a floating garden

    Farmers stack several compact layers of aquatic weeds like water hyacinth, duckweed or paddy stubs – the stubble of what remains after the rice grain has been harvested.
    They are helped usually by their families and neighbours.
    The weeds are allowed to rot, and then mixed usually with cow dung and silt. Crop seeds are placed in small balls called tema that are made out of peat soil, and wrapped in coconut fibre.


    After a week, when seedlings are about 15cm high, they are transplanted to the floating garden beds. Traditionally, seeds of leafy vegetables, like red amaranth, are sown directly on the floating beds. They are then anchored with bamboo poles, so that they don’t drift away.


    Lots more at ... The remarkable floating gardens of Bangladesh - BBC Future
    Last edited by David48atTD; 28-09-2020 at 04:55 PM. Reason: Images didn't load
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  2. #2
    Thailand Expat tomcat's Avatar
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    ...interesting how humans choose to make a living in the most unlikely environments...

  3. #3
    Hangin' Around cyrille's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomcat View Post
    ...interesting how humans choose to make a living in the most unlikely environments...


    You make it seem like an air bnb experience.

    He and his family could not escape the rising waters in the volatile monsoons

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    So where do they get rice ?
    Swap bitter gourds etc ?
    Or get starch from squash ?

  5. #5
    Thailand Expat David48atTD's Avatar
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    ^ no info about the rice.

    ---

    Many floating farms double up as places where poultry and cattle can also shelter in the monsoons, and where people can fish.
    “Another advantage of these gardens is that invasive species like water hyacinth actually become beneficial, in constructing these ingenious structures, because of their resistance to salt water, buoyancy and abundance, ” says Irfanullah.

    “These reduce the risks of mosquito breeding, and soil borne diseases.”

    At the end of their life cycle, in late autumn when the waters recede, the floating farms are broken up and mixed with soil and used for growing winter crops like Turnip, cabbage, cauliflower, tomato and red amaranths.

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    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    Sorry to bung up your thread, but it reminded me how much I would like to go and see the floating gardens at Xochimilco in Mexico. They are very old.



    Mexico City Floating Farms, Chefs Team Up to Save Tradition

    MEXICO CITY - At dawn in Xochimilco, home to Mexico City's famed floating gardens, farmers in muddied rain boots squat among rows of beets as a group of chefs arrive to sample sweet fennel and the pungent herb known as epazote.

    By dinnertime some of those greens will be on plates at an elegant bistro 12 miles (20 kilometers) to the north, stewed with black beans in a $60 prix-fixe menu for well-heeled diners.

    Call it floating-farm-to-table: A growing number of the capital's most in-demand restaurants are incorporating produce grown at the gardens, or chinampas, using ancient cultivation techniques pioneered hundreds of years ago in the pre-Columbian era.

    While sourcing local ingredients has become fashionable for many top chefs around the globe, it takes on additional significance in Xochimilco, where a project linking chinampa farmers with high-end eateries aims to breathe life and a bit of modernity into a fading and threatened tradition.

    "People sometimes think [farm-to-table] is a trend,'' said Eduardo Garcia, owner and head chef of Maximo Bistrot in the stylish Roma Norte district. "It's not a trend. It's something that we humans have always done and we need to keep doing it, we need to return to it.''

    Xochimilco, on the far southern edge of Mexico City, is best-known as the "Mexican Venice'' for its canals and brightly colored boats where locals and tourists can while away a weekend day listening to mariachi music and sipping cold beers.

    It has also been a breadbasket for the Valley of Mexico since before the Aztec Empire, when farmers first created the "floating'' islands bound to the shallow canal beds through layers of sediment and willow roots.

    There's nothing quite like it anywhere else in the world, and Xochimilco is designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage site.

    But that World Heritage status and Xochimilco itself are threatened by the pollution and encroaching urbanization that plague the rest of the sprawling metropolis.

    MORE Mexico City Floating Farms, Chefs Team Up to Save Tradition | Voice of America - English

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