Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Recycled Garden beds

We've recycled some disposable containers from Dave's work (broccoli boxes & 10lt ice-cream tubs) to create some instant garden beds. I was tired of seeing nothing in the veggie patch growing, due to a lack of rain, so it was time for some instant results!

I haven't modified the containers in any way, as they're living underneath our verandah and all water will be strictly measured out. Some of you may be wondering why I didn't just plant straight into the styrofoam boxes? I feel a little funny about growing food in styrofoam, in case the food takes up any nasties from the boxes. I don't know if the plastic ice-cream tubs are any better, but at least it's food grade plastic.

I wanted the styrofoam boxes however, to help insulate the tubs from too much sun exposure, as they do receive some morning rays. I managed to fit 2 ice-cream tubs per broccoli box.

Recycled garden beds

Not bad for an afternoon's work, but I have to say I still paid money for such instant results. The containers were free, but the premium potting mix and seedlings weren't. In total I spent $42 at the nursery for a punnet of capsicums, roma tomatoes, spring onions, basil, a punnet of strawberries and 2 bags of premium potting mix.

I'm already layer propagating the strawberry however, and should have another plant within a few weeks. If I keep doing this as the strawberry throws out runners, I should make my dollar value go even further.

Layer propagating, strawberry runner

I must say, it's nice to have something to tend to which isn't being scorched by the sun, or using up ridiculous amounts of water every day. And I made sure I only selected plants I knew we would eat. I even selected the "roma" variety of tomato on purpose - as ordinary as it is - due to it's pest resilience and ability to perform well in extreme conditions. I'd rather have an ordinary tomato growing in my garden, than have none for the summer season at all.

To help them a little more, I'll also be buying some seaweed concentrate to add periodically.

These are just some of the compromises we're learning to make here. Even if we can only ever manage ordinary vegetables, it's still home grown and packed full of goodies. That's what we're aiming for by growing our own. Should the heavens suddenly open up and bless us with more rain, we can then start planning for bigger, more demanding crops.


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