Pumpkin growing using sandbar cropping technique
downstream in the South. Sandbars in the north are dried parts of the river bed and are prone to
erosion whereas the sandbars in the southern part of Bangladesh are less likely to erode and are
permanent in nature.
The sandbar cropping technique opens up these otherwise unproductive lands and is ideally
suited to adoption by very poor, often landless households.
Growing pumpkins using sandbar cropping
The season for pumpkin cultivation normally starts in October-November. After finding a suitable
site, a pit is dug into the sandbar, approximately 1 metre deep and 1 metre in diameter. Pits are
usually dug around two meters from each other. Pits are lined with compost which is a mixture of
cow dung, soil and water. Jute sacks can be used in extreme geo locations where the ground is
very poor (Figure 2). After a few days, seeds are placed into the pit. The compost pits are
carefully monitored over the next five months while periodical nursing and irrigation are required.
Figure 2: Pumpkin growing using sandbar cropping technique.
Illustration: Neil Noble / Practical Action.
Large scale irrigation is not always necessary as the
sandbars are usually close to the river and watering
can be done by hand. In the initial stages, surface
water is used for irrigation. (Where a source is
available. e.g. water channels that are created as the
river recedes. These water channels disappear in the
dry season). Ground water can be used for irrigation
when the surface water dries out. Pumpkin fields
can be irrigated using a pump and borehole. A low-
cost reservoir made with polyethylene sheet can be
used for optimise water use. Water is pumped from
the borehole to the reservoir through polyethylene
pipe/hosepipe and farmers then use buckets to take
water from the reservoir to water the individual pits.
The quantity and frequency of irrigation depends on
the type of soil and season (end stage of the
production benefitted by rain water).
Figure 3: Pumpkins growing on sandbar
(communal) land. Early in the season
showing young plants emerging from
planting holes. Photo credit: Practical Action