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Medical doctor establishes vertical farm using PVC pipes in his backyard

Medical doctor establishes vertical farm using PVC pipes in his backyard


A farming technique which would see farmers producing more, while utilizing less land and labour, has been introduced to St Vincent and Grenadines by medical doctor Dr Thomas Thomas.

When SEARCHLIGHT visited Thomas on Sunday at his home at Belair, the tall vertical PVC pipes with various kitchen herbs{{more}} and produce sprouting from them were observed.

Thomas, a tutor at the All Saints Medical School, explained that this method of farming was called vertical farming, which he uses because of insufficient land space around his house to do major farming.

“…the best part of this vertical farming is within a small space you could grow a lot of plants. Within these few towers, we could grow like 500 lettuce heads…. So, that’s the best part of it and you could see that it is not even 10 by 20 area and still I am able to grow 500 lettuce plants,” Thomas explained.

The medical doctor further explained that very little is needed to maintain and upkeep his farm.

“So, that is the best part of this and the next part is you need very little soil; no labour is required; even the nutrients that you would want for the plants you would need very little quantity; water used is in less quantity; so every way it is in my advantage.” The medical doctor explained that his farm is organic and he only uses natural matter in his manure.

“For fertilizer right now it’s organic mostly; the goat manure, so it’s all mixed with the soil, so very little manure is enough; so the whole of the vertical tubes are all full of nutrients for the plant,” he added.

Although the vertical farm takes less time and effort, Thomas noted that the plants take about the same time to come to maturity as those that grow under regular conditions.

Thomas noted that this farming method makes it possible for everyone to get involved with farming.

“[It gives] an opportunity for every person in households… it’s not to break any big farmers’ produce; it’s mainly to help the poorer people, helping them with little support,” he stated.

He noted that while he uses his produce for home consumption, if larger farms use this technique, they would be able to increase their income because of the added output.

Thomas indicated that he would like to grow small kitchen herbs and other crops in the PVC tubes, which he said could have a useful life of up to 50 years.