Polytechnic Institute
of Bragança



CIMO - Mountain Research Center. See video HERE


Home organic vegetable gardening book from CIMO researcher published

"A Minha Horta é Biológica" is the title of the new book of Isabel de Maria Mourão and Miguel Maria Brito. Like its predecessor, the best seller "Uma Horta em Casa", their new book is centered in urban, home and community gardens and their benefits for all but directed to helping family members, including children, in the practice of vegetable gardening. The book is already available in major book stores an in the website of the publisher (Arte Plural). It will be launched at the AGROS Fair in Braga on March 30. Isabel Mourão is a Professor at the School of Agriculture of the Polytechnic Institute of Viana do Castelo at Ponte de Lima and a researcher at the Mountain Research Centre. Miguel Maria Brito is a landscape architect and an expert in urban gardening.
The cultivation of food at home, in community gardens or in schools, is a widespread trend in Portugal, Europe, and around the world. In the middle of the XX century, 30% of the world's population lived in urban areas, rising to more than half in 2018 (55%) and is estimated to increase to 68% by 2050 (UN, 2018). The "Resilience of Cities" integrates the UN Sustainable Development Goals (2016), and cities must move towards greater interaction with nature, taking every opportunity to insert nature and encourage people to contact natural elements. Urban gardens meet these requirements and the practice of organic production is highly recommended and essential, due to the need to respect and preserve ecosystems and to be an adequate system of food production, promoting a healthy diet. The great challenge of this book "A Minha Horta é Biológica" was to captivate children and teenagers for an important topic, but at the same time to be attractive and useful for parents and educators. The language of the text and illustrations aims to communicate in a simple and pragmatic way how to make a vegetable garden and, at the same time, with scientific rigor, be interesting for adults. The book aims to serve anyone from the age of 8 to 80 with all the needed information to make their own vegetable garden. It is the responsibility of parents and educators to offer the youngest contact with the soil, living beings and the plants they eat. It is also important to realize that having a vegetable garden is much more than cultivating our food, it is also understanding the environment that surrounds us and how we depend on it. It is necessary to know, for example, that plants produce their own food and feed all other living beings, that there are insects that we call auxiliary, because they are hunting for other insects that eat the crops of our garden or that the worms and soil microbes are fundamental because they are the protagonists that decompose organic matter in mineral matter, which plants are then able to transform into organic food for them and for all of us. In fact, life on soil is fascinating. In a teaspoon of soil we can find over one billion living beings, belonging to up to 10 000 different species, among fungi, bacteria, microscopic algae, protozoa, nematodes, insects, spiders, molluscs and earthworms. The book also includes 43 individual sheets of vegetable crops, aromatic plants and edible flowers, with precise indications on growing season, necessary conditions, sowing/planting, cultivation, harvesting and conservation techniques.