Learning to think inside the box

Conventional thinking is that
planting involves lots of effort harvesting the soil of the land.

However the Cayman Islands Department
of Agriculture recently challenged people to think inside the box, more specifically
a growbox.

On Saturday, 27 March, a seminar on
the agriculture device was held at the Market at the Grounds in Lower Valley.
In spite of short notice a handful of interested souls turned up for the morning
outdoor sessions.

Assistant Director Brian Crichlow
and department officer Raymond Coleman gave the ins and outs of growbox

A growbox is essentially a wooden
box filled with soil that harbours seedlings that eventually become plants.
Generally speaking they are kept outside and are about 12 feet long by three
feet wide.

However growboxes can be altered
and take on many shapes. They can put on a wooden stand, old tires can be
painted white and filled with soil and seeds and bigger plants can be put
together inside a green-house.

Coleman gave a lot of practical
pointers in developing growboxes. Among the topics he touched on were
consistencies in the watering of plants, combining air and soil for plant
growth and using the right soil, emphasising Ph levels.

Many different types of soil can be
used to develop plants within the growboxes. During the sessions the three main
ones that were highlighted were top soil, promix and peat moss.

As Coleman stated, the prices of
growboxes can vary. Converted old tires would be less than $100; a simple
wooden box would be $200 while greenhouses could run up to $2,000.

No matter the cost of getting into
growboxes, the results speak for themselves. A variety of crops can be
harvested using the device such as peppermint, sweet pepper and tomato.

Ultimately many people left the
session with a greater understanding of local agriculture, which Crichlow hopes
translates into more gardening.

“Hopefully we can have talks like
this every week,” Crichlow said. “The next one is planned for April 10 and
hopefully we can get a chance to work with some kids at that one.

“I think these talks went well as
we educated some adults on what goes into buying local produce. The goal is to
increase backyard growing and encourage more home-grown farmers. It also ties
in nicely with the market as the premier way to attain Cayman produce.”

Director Adrian Estwick happened to
be at the second session and primarily inspected the greenhouse.

Mr. Estwick said growbox gardening
could be a boon to local agriculture.

“Growboxes allow you to see how
gardening works on a basic level. I give my props to Brian and Raymond who put
in the time with the growboxes.

“For me it’s all about helping to
attract people to the market and showing how the food they eat is produced.
With a few growboxes one could be part of the market and make some additional income
for one’s household.”


Growboxes can house all sorts of plants.
Photo: Matthew Yates