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Liz Gattry
Posts: 37
Location: West Coast, USA Zone 10A
books dog urban
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I've just started a nice container garden at my rental (where the LL won't let me put a bed in- plus gophers!). I've been gardening for years, I once had a lovely high yield garden in the ground, but in the old row fashion. I'm new to permaculture, and am spending my time at this rental learning as much as possible. So I'm restarting my garden in containers right now.

I have a area that I've fenced off from my dogs between my garage and the neighbors with a fence behind. The lovely thing is it gets sun all day. So I've set up a trellis using some wood stakes and old bird netting along the fence to grow beans and cucumbers off of (out of containers). In front of that I figure I'll put containers with flowers and salad greens. I'll line the walls with more shade tolerant plants like broccoli and kale.

I'm still working out how best to manage my space on a budget. I'm using cardboard boxes acquired from my work in addition to smart pots for most of my planters. (I'd just use smart pots, but they're expensive!). The local waste management company has low priced potting soil and compost so I'm taking advantage for soil. I've started a compost bin as well so that I'll have my own to use later on.

Hopefully this will tide me over as I learn more and dream about our future home where I can have chickens and modify the yard for permaculture.

Anyone else in the same boat?
 
Shaz Jameson
pollinator
Posts: 146
Location: Hilversum, Netherlands, urban, zone 7
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Yup, also gardening in containers!

Have you seen the hugel pot technique? http://lowcostvegetablegarden.blogspot.be/2013/02/rose-hugel-pot.html
 
Tobias Ber
Posts: 485
Location: Northern Germany (Zone 8a)
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hey liz...

welcome to the forums. sounds like a good setup.

you can try to add different plants into 1 container (polyculture) if space permits.

did you look into square foot gardening? did you think about potatoes in grow-bags/boxes and strawberry-towers?

you can ask at local restaurants for food-grade plastic buckets. just drill some holes into the bottom and you ve got containers.

to amend soil i put some kitchen scraps directly into the pots and buried it. same i do with leaves i collected from nature. i do just a bit. it helps to save on potting soil and creates compost in place.


would you try your own diluted (9 parts of water to 1 part of yellow stuff) urine as nitrogen-fertilizer on your plants?

best wishes for your garden
tobias
 
Liz Gattry
Posts: 37
Location: West Coast, USA Zone 10A
books dog urban
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Tobias Ber wrote:
to amend soil i put some kitchen scraps directly into the pots and buried it. same i do with leaves i collected from nature. i do just a bit. it helps to save on potting soil and creates compost in place.

would you try your own diluted (9 parts of water to 1 part of yellow stuff) urine as nitrogen-fertilizer on your plants?


Around this place is pretty much straight sand- so until I make compost I don't think I can use it too much. I have mixed it in a little with the potting soil, but it doesn't seem like it's very healthy. I ordered worms online to jump start the compost I started.

I have been using the urine to fertilize a little bit, and have added some to the compost, but I'm not sure how much is too much.

I think I forgot to mention, I had a potato with eyes on it, so I cut it in two and planted it towards the bottom of a couple of containers. I also have an old wire bookcase out there that I wasn't using inside. I'll have to get a photo to post so I stop forgetting things.
 
Liz Gattry
Posts: 37
Location: West Coast, USA Zone 10A
books dog urban
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Shaz Jameson wrote:Yup, also gardening in containers!

Have you seen the hugel pot technique? http://lowcostvegetablegarden.blogspot.be/2013/02/rose-hugel-pot.html


That's interesting. I just wonder about finding the wood in the right conditions... I worry if I bought store bought firewood it would be treated(I could check craigslist).

I'm also tentative about investing in anything too permanent. We'll only be here for another year and a half then we're moving to somewhere else based on my husband's job. Which could be another state or country. I keep wanting to buy a dwarf fruit tree of some sort, but I'd hate to have to leave it. My last garden was my baby, and I hated moving away from it.

garden.jpg
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my old garden
 
Liz Gattry
Posts: 37
Location: West Coast, USA Zone 10A
books dog urban
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Alright- below is a photo of my current (growing) set up.

The smart pots on the right have the first crop of lettuce, kale, and broccoli. I'll so more into other pots in a couple of weeks. The plants in the foreground (R to left) tomato, raspberry, zucchini (I was hoping one would sprout, now I have 4! Too much!). The shelving on the Left has daisies, strawberries, aloe, and an attempt at a pineapple. The boxes next to that have potatoes. The box behind the table has carrot seed in. Along the back wall are several types of cucumber, acorn squash, and beans. The seed trays in the front at corn, sunflower, and dill. There's a lavender plant and bee balm as well.
With time it will grow. The great thing about the pots is I can rearrange them as needed!
IMG_5516.JPG
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garden!
 
Tobias Ber
Posts: 485
Location: Northern Germany (Zone 8a)
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hey liz:

thank you for your pictures. looks great.

wood: collect in nature. if it s partly decomposed that will help. you can also collect leaves to add to the pots. on top as mulche and some mixed into the soil.

urine: i think, when there s wood in the pots, that will buffer it. just use the yellow stuff deluted and watch out for leaves turning yellow on plants as a sign of too much nitrogen. as rule of thump i would put more on plants which are growing heavily and have many leaves. legumes would not need any, they ll produce nitrogen themselves. but in the first weeks a bit might help.

have you thought about worm-composting?

blesses
tobias
 
Liz Gattry
Posts: 37
Location: West Coast, USA Zone 10A
books dog urban
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I just got an order of worms. The ground was devoid of worms! So we'll see how they go.
 
Liz Gattry
Posts: 37
Location: West Coast, USA Zone 10A
books dog urban
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So my worms all seemed to die- I had it set up like I have before- coffee grounds, some fruit/veg, grass clippings. It's outside and I see lots of insect life but the worms (250 red wigglers apparently) are all gone. The soil around the pile is all sandy. So I'm not sure what happened- though I'm suspecting the local birds had a feast?

I'll buy some more and try again I guess.
 
Tobias Ber
Posts: 485
Location: Northern Germany (Zone 8a)
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hey liz ...

:-/

did you put them in a pile? maybe it was not wet enough. or they just wandered off.

maybe you could breed them in a worm bin that is more protected. a covering for them (leaves, mulch ... ) might help.

i m not sure if red wigglers are best for garden beds. as far as i know, they live in compost or dung-heaps. gardenworms would do better in beds.

please check these two links:
http://www.wormsetc.com/worms-etc-blog/2010/12/eisenia-fetida-hortensis-whats-difference-red-wigglers-european-nightcrawlers/


http://www.wormsetc.com/worms-etc-blog/2010/12/red-wiggler-european-nightcrawler-part-2/

good luck and blessings
tobias

 
Liz Gattry
Posts: 37
Location: West Coast, USA Zone 10A
books dog urban
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Well it was a compost heap. :/ Thanks for those links. Who knows, all i can say is the local birds were definitely keeping an eye on me.
 
erin counts
Posts: 3
forest garden
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What a nice space,  and full sun! Excellent! You can grow all kinds of things. I had a big container garden in our rental for years.  You can have different layers in a container garden, just like if you were designing an in the ground permacture garden. For your tree layer, there are lots of dwarf fruit trees that do well in containers, as well as fruiting bushes and cane fruits. Look for the container-growing varieties!! You'll get much higher yields with much less input this way.  I didn't do that the first couple years,  learned the hard way LOL I got great results using homemade self watering containers I built using the same food grade buckets a previous poster mentioned. Got them free for the asking from a local restaurant. Just search you tube or Internet,  there's lots of great how-tos to make them. Super easy,  too. And for worms,  you can make a worm bin on the cheap from 2 large Rubbermaid bins, and let it live in a shady spot outside. Best of luck to you in your garden
 
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