A 17-year-old from Mumbai started a garden center and named it Planteria. As the name suggests, the initiative emerged from a green point of view. It produces lightweight and low cost grow bags from non-woven fabric. Jinay Gada is a student of K J Somaiya College of Science and Commerce. Last year, after the first lockdown was announced back, he started gardening at home. He grew different flowering plants including roses, plants from cuttings such as money plants, and even fruits and vegetables.
The mantra employed by several urban home gardeners is “reuse and recycle”. Most of them use discarded drums, several household items like refrigerators to grow their plants. These, however, have the potential to add weight to a structure or even occupy a lot of space. Hence, the teen student made grow bags from non-woven fabric as an eco-conscious solution. He launched Planteria in July this year and started marketing the grow bags across the country.
Jinay told The Better India, “The grow bags are made from non-woven fabric extracted from plastic bottles and covers. They are sturdy, regulate water drainage, and promote air pruning. I have sold 200 bags through social media, to date.” When he himself wanted to buy lightweight planters, they were made of all-plastic or were too expensive. So he decided to make his own grow bags, in line with the urban gardener’s mantra to reuse and recycle.
After some research, he realised that grow bags were made using fabric and purchased a few on a trial basis. The first few pieces were too flimsy or had issues like not promoting root growth or water drainage. So he decided to stitch his own by purchasing material. Through suppliers in Surat, Jinay sourced non-woven fabric in April this year. These were made from discarded plastic accumulated in landfills. “I had to test how much weight the material could hold, how porous it was and how sturdy it was before finalising a supplier” says Jinay. All the trial purpose grow bags were stitched by local tailors near his home. Once Jinay was satisfied with a supplier, he acquired material in bulk. The final grow bags could drain water from the sides as well as the bottom. There was air circulation from all sides, owing to its porous texture, which promotes fast root growth.
He made these in four different sizes, and put them at a nominal cost between Rs 50, for the smallest and Rs 120 for the largest. Within two months of launching, Jinay received 200 orders from different parts in the country.