General Technical Documents are resources made available through that are not currently part of an ECHO periodical publication such as ECHO Development Notes or ECHO Technical Notes. These resources may or may not be published by ECHO, but have been made available to the ECHOcommunity as online, sharable resources.

12 Issues in this Publication (Showing 1 - 10)

Keyhole gardens

This resource generously provided for publication by Global Service Corps.

Over the last two years keyhole gardens have been promoted in different communities throughout different programmes in African countries. They are popular and productive across vastly different environments and cultures.

Essentially the keyhole gardens consist of a ring of stones (in other countries bamboo or bricks are also used) about 2m in diameter, and about 1m high. At the centre of there is a stick, wire or bamboo structure that contains organic wastes. This is about 1.5 m high, with the soil sloping a pyramid fashion from the edge of retain wall up to the core. Fresh waste and water is poured into this core on a regular. Moisture and nutrients then seep down from this core into the surrounding soil. Access to the core is provided by a small path way, giving the plot an appearance of a keyhole when view from above.

ECHO Community Garden Toolkit

The purpose of this resource is to suggest several key considerations for beginning a small garden project. This information is meant to be a guideline to better assist you in the organization and implementation of particular elements crucial to making a garden project successful. While each element may initially require a significant time commitment, we believe that approaching these considerations thoroughly and creatively from the beginning will contribute positively to the sustainability of the project.

Technical Details on the Microgardening Production System

By Abdoulaye Seck

The Microgardening technology is mainly based on 1 or 0.5 m2 wood tables and therefore, can be installed everywhere. Land is an issue in peri-urban/urban and even in some rural areas. The technology can be installed everywhere in household compounds (even in terraces and balconies) to replace land. In addition, the reduced area of the tables (a few m2 ) is compensated by the high yield expected. Other materials can also be used (recuperated tyres, pipes, etc.). This is a crucial advantage in built-up areas where already limited space is under rising pressure as urban and periurban populations continue to grow. This can also sometimes be an issue in rural areas where farmers (particularly women) have not yet secured ownership rights over the land they cultivate, and so remain reluctant to invest in inputs and plant crops whilst there remains a risk of their land being taken away from them.

ECHO Crop Information Sheet - 2017-05-08

ECHO reguguarly keeps track of crop porduction records especially for crops disseminated from our Global Seed Bank. This fillable form is the sheet ECHO staff (mainly interns) use when evaluating a crop for it's potential use and distribution to ECHO's Network. This form can also be used to monitor and evaluate new crops or regenerated crops. This form was made specifically for ECHO's use, so it may need adapted and reconfigured in order to best suit your needs and your capacity.

Parthenium hysterophorus - 2017-02-09

Parthenium hysterophorus, also known as carrot top, white top weed, and fever few is a fairly new invasive weed but has quickly become one of the worst weeds to tropical areas(CABI 2015). In Ethiopia it is known as Farmasissa which means “sign your land away” (IAPPS 2016). Originally from Central America, Parthenium has been seen to cause major problems in India and Southeast Asia, Australia, and East Africa. In 2015, Parthenium is said to have invaded roughly 34 countries globally (Strathie 2015). A fast growing highly reproductive invasive species, Parthenium has become a hazard to farmland, rangeland, as well as animal and human health.

List of Short Season Crops Appropriate for Haiti - 2016-10-26

This document was originally prepared in response to hurricane Matthew in 2016.

As organizations are responding to Hurricane Matthew damage in Haiti and in other parts of the Caribbean, they are developing short, medium, and long term plans of how to respond.  With much of the damage in Haiti occurring in rural communities, organizations are considering how to respond with seeds and trees so to help the agriculture sector rebound.  In agriculture there are crops that produce in the short term (various vegetables, beans, etc.), medium term (bananas/plantains, yams, cassava, etc.) and long term (fruit/forestry trees) that can be part of the response planning.  How to properly respond will depend on various factors such as access to land, available seeds/seedlings, time of year, available water (irrigation or rain fed), soil salinity (often an issue after storm events near the ocean), and cultural preferences.

Case Study: Global websites – Improving access for global agricultural extension - 2016-01-01

ECHO exists to reduce hunger and improve lives through agricultural training and resources. Working through the internet and regional impact centers around the world, ECHO connects small-scale farmers, and those working to eliminate world hunger, with essential resources and each other. These resources include a knowledge-base of practical information, experienced technical support, and an extensive seed bank focused on highly beneficial underutilized plants.

The world wide web promises cost-effective access to its more than 3.2 billion users, with more than 2 billion of these users coming from developing countries. As internet penetration improves in the developing world, agriculture extension stands to benefit from its reach and rapid growth. For every internet user in the developed world there are two in the developing world. More than 95% of the world’s population is now covered by at least a second generation mobile data network (International Telecommunications Union 2015).

As internet access has grown in both the developed and developing world, the need for more sophisticated online tools for agriculture extension has become apparent. In 2011 ECHO launched an online collaborative membership community called Since that time, more than 10,000 members worldwide have accessed technical resources, participated in online discussion, registered for events, and requested trial seeds from ECHO seed banks.

In 2014, ECHO saw the need to upgrade the capacity of the ECHOcommunity website to provide a solid foundation for its continued growth. The re-design called for the native support of nine languages key to its current areas of impact, and the ability to effectively deliver rich-media resources and communications tools to internet users with varying bandwidth capacities and devices. This document serves to illustrate the lessons learned in the process of improving the global accessibility of our resources. This is not intended to be an exhaustive list of best-practices in website development for a global audience, but rather a look inside the decision making process behind one site.

Planning for a Schoolyard or Community Garden - 2013-12-01

Brad Ward has many years of experience in agricultural finance as a loan officer and underwriter, and has reviewed and advised on hundreds of business and farm plans. Currently he works on the North Coast of Honduras as the farm manager for Cornerstone Farm/Hospital Loma de Luz. He also works with several school garden projects in his area. His background and experience mean that he has a good grasp of what questions are important to ask when considering a schoolyard or community garden.

When considering a schoolyard or community garden, I suggest that you use the following five steps to organize and guide the planning process. These steps can help you use words to paint a comprehensive picture of what currently exists, paint a picture of what is hoped for, and lay out an organized list of tasks to get from the first picture to the second. This garden plan is not meant to be something done at the beginning of the project and then filed away. It should be a living, working guide, reviewed and updated regularly to ensure that the vision and purpose of the garden are being realized. As much as possible, include all of the garden’s stakeholders in the planning and review process.

The 5 steps for planning are as follows;

  1. Describe the current situation in detail.
  2. Describe the purpose and vision.
  3. Break the plan down into manageable tasks.
  4. Integrate the project components.
  5. Budget

Nitrate Soil Test Instructions (HANNA and Vernier ISE) - 2013-01-31

This is a laboratory protocol that outlines methods of extracting, and analyzing NO3- from soil.

Gardening on Rooftops: the last agricultural frontier - 2008-01-01

Low cost, low technology, lightweight methods to produce food on rooftops and other locations above the ground.


As this is being written, food riots in Port-au-Prince, Haiti are making the news. Food riots and demonstrations are starting to occur in other cities in other impoverished countries around the world. Some food producing countries are banning or restricting exports on important food staples. Leaders have little control over the high prices of food, but are desperate to know what can be done to make more food available, at a lower price.

Quite aside from these problems, there has been a growing interest in urban food production in both economically developed and developing countries. Reasons are many. Ecological benefits to the city. A desire to use more locally grown food. Opportunities for micro farming activities for profit. The wholesomeness of allowing people to experience the joy of gardening. Producing food by or for families who cannot buy what they need.

Several large cities even have some impressive rooftop gardens on large buildings. Rooftop gardening is the primary use that we have in mind for the technologies described in this book.

There is a major difference between ECHO’s techniques and those used on or contemplated by planners for most rooftop gardens in wealthier countries.

The techniques that I will describe can be done at a fraction of the expense that is normally considered necessary. They do not require specially engineered buildings to make sure that the roof can handle the weight of the soil. Gardens can even be grown on the edge of a tin roof of a shanty.