Men's Garden Club of Houston, Texas

Affiliated with The Men's Garden Clubs of America and The Gardeners of America

Cylinder Gardening is a project started by the Men's Garden Club of Houston in 1984. This Cylinder Gardening program is designed to educate students on plant growth from seed planting to harvesting. By growing plants, children will gain a sense of pride, a sense of responsibility and a sense of determination. This type of gardening eliminates the time consuming effort that is usually needed for soil preparation for a successful garden. Plants mature from seed in 30 to 90 days. Installation and removal of garden is quick and clean.

Cylinder gardening is a method of gardening that uses bottomless cylinders as small, individual gardens. This works especially well in areas with poor soil, such as Harris County with its heavy gumbo-soil, which would normally need extensive amendments and labor to support an actively producing garden. This method, which is not labor-intensive, works well for demonstration purposes for numerous gardening experiments for students. Cylinder gardening requires little land and little pre-gardening preparation or experience. Once the cylinders are filled and planted, the only labor is minor maintenance, watering and harvesting.

It should be pointed out however, that the method of growing vegetables in containers, such as Cylinder Gardening, is not the usual way of commercial vegetable farming. Commercial farmers grow in straight rows to facilitate the use of equipment.

During 1996 the Men's Garden Club of Houston completed four years of activity with the Harris County Master Gardener Association. During the spring and fall terms of 1996, more than 203 classes of Cylinder Gardening were enrolled. Participation of children in Harris County for the two terms amounted to over 10,000. One hundred twenty schools and 6 school districts were involved. During 1996 the Men's Garden Club and Harris County Master Gardener sponsored two teacher in-service training sessions, one in Hermann Park Garden Center and the other at the Extension Service Center at Bear Creek Park.

Materials provided include a pre-test, a Teacher's guide for six lessons, teacher references, study materials, games, post-test, directions for preparation of cylinders, and sources for seeds, fertilizer and synthetic soil.

Materials for the project were furnished as follows: vegetable seed was provided by the Men's Garden Club; fertilizer was furnished by HCMGA; both organizations furnished over 54 volunteer gardener as resource persons, to help with site selection, examination of the garden, help to obtain supplies and to answer questions on gardening. An additional 50 members of these organizations have worked to package seeds and fertilizer, cut plastic buckets into cylinders and assisted with the Poster and Best Garden displays. The schools continue to furnish the soilless mix for the project.

At the present time, enrollment is being taken for the Fall 97 term. Buckets are being collected to provide the cylinders for gardening and the seed and fertilizer is being bagged. It is requested that teachers involved in the project ask their custodial staff to collect and save the 5 gallon plastic buckets for the Men's Garden Club to cut into cylinders. Additional information will be made available as we approach the Fall 97 term.

Visit Our Cylinder Gardening Image Gallery to see Cylinder Gardening in progress.

Links to Other Cylinder Gardening Sites

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Page Prepared by;
Milton L. Pierson

Last Modified September 26, 2001