Location: Kachemak Bay, Alaska (usda zone 6, ahs heat zone 1, lat 59 N, coastal, koppen Dfc)
posted 10 months ago
This is my indoor wicking bed planter box.
Its too cool here in the summer to reliably grow tomatoes outdoors, so we grow them in the cabin. The resulting wall of green also keeps the cabin a bit cooler and shadier in the summer, when the passive solar design can make it necessary to open all the windows to stay comfortable. It also allows us to have green growing plants to enjoy in early spring and into the winter. Its made of a piece of 3/4" plywood that washed up on the beach. It is 1' x 4' x 18" deep. Its planted with tomato seeds that my wife's mother sent us from Russia (Agata, Moskovskiy Delikatyes, Imperia), a watermelon (Blacktail Mountain), and a hardy yam that's at least 2 years old. I lined the plywood with a sheet of plastic to create a water reservoir and put a hole in it about 2 inches up from the bottom. I put some rocks in the bottom and an old cotton sheet on top of the rocks, then filled with storebought organic potting soil. Any extra water overflows into a tin can. This design saves water and keeps the house clean. I leave it outside for a couple of months in the middle of winter to freeze any bugs. The hardy yam tuber survives the freeze and grows back (so far). This spring I put about a half gallon of urine mixed with wood ash and rock phosphate into it and topped it up with store bought organic potting mix. I add urine every 2 weeks or so, but there is no smell. I water it with rainwater collected from the roof and also with water from the dehumidifier. We keep track of our tomato harvest on note cards. So far we have harvested over 5 kilos this summer! My 4 year old eats most of them as they become ripe : ) The hardy yam is making lots of little air potatos. And here is a porcupine in the woodshed, just for fun.