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Here's a clever idea brought to you all the way from Gideon village in Malawi, where women found a way to grow heaps of healthy greens right beside their front doors. Grace Banda, a 28-year-old mother of four, keeps a line of burlap sack gardens planted with cabbage in front of her house.

To make your own, you'll need a large burlap sack, gravel, a tin can with both ends cut out, potting soil and goat berries. If you're plum out of goat manure, compost works fine, too.

Grace poses with her burlap sack garden.
Grace with her garden.

Here's how to do it:

  1. Put the can in the bottom of the sack and fill it with gravel. Pour equal parts soil and compost around it, up to the top of the can.
  2. Slide the can up to the surface of the dirt, refill it with rocks and fill the area around the can with the soil and compost mix.
  3. Repeat step 2 until the sack is full.
  4. Cut staggered openings about 6 inches long along the sides, and plant seeds in the holes. 

The cylinder of gravel inside the sack helps distribute and drain the water, ensuring that none of the plantings get too wet or too dry.

This week’s article was featured in the May 2013 edition of Heifer International's World Ark Magazine. For more at-home tips and stories of our work around the world, download our free, award-winning tablet World Ark App for iPad or Android! 


Heifer International

Heifer International is a nonprofit, non-governmental organization working with communities to end hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth.