a "been-there" mom of six offers encouragement
to wives, young mothers, and those not so young,
and simple common-sense approaches to
the "ings" of life:
child-rearing (hints and helps), homemaking (all areas),
cooking (simple, cheap, and do-it-yourself)
making (toys and gifts), preparing (for the unexpected),
maintaining (sanity and peace in this increasingly crazy world) and more---
all aspects of making the most of making do on little---
and having fun in the process.

Monday, February 27, 2012

How to Creatively Garden in Bits and Pieces

There isn't much better than stepping outside and picking  your own salad fixins'

We are not quite there yet, but it is beginning to look a lot like Spring!

And where we live it is planting time for lettuce, onions, potatoes, carrots, radishes, peas. . .with spinach following quickly.

Last August 18th, when my blog was about a month old, I posted on gardening-in-a-bag, along with the instructions--- and other cheap mini-garden solutions.



Today to start off the new gardening season I have a little tell----along with a lot of show. Our backyard and garden has been, and still is, a work in progress. These photos were taken over a period of three years----with some at various stages throughout the season.

Our back yard is quite small but the bigger problem is everything in our little community is built on lava!

Raised beds or containers are our only option. And the older we get the higher we try to raise them!

If you have the money, the variety of commercial containers is unlimited. If money is an issue, the variety of creative containers is limited----but only by your imagination and ingenuity.

We choose to put our garden money into soil enhancements. I think the plants appreciate that!

Along with the shopping bags, we've used dollar-store pots, dishpans, washtubs, popcorn-type tins, plastic buckets and . . .

I think these are culvert pipe remnants --- pieces left over at construction sites --- that we have put in the strip alongside our carport.  They are smooth on the inside. These were originally black (which is a good heat absorb-er but since we live in a very hot climate we painted ours white to reflect the heat.) 

When using tall containers, only about the top 12 inches needs to be good soil. The bottom part can be filled with non-degradeable stuff --- rocks, Styrofoam pellets, etc. I have read that pop cans work well if you first punch a couple of extra holes in them.  Fill in the spaces with dirt and then top it off with the plant-loving materials.

For nine years we had a large above ground swimming pool, with our garden here and there around the rest of the yard. When the pool "died", we expanded. The stairs lead to what was the deck, half of which is now a green house.

The colorful tubs were a wonderful thrift store find. I don't know what they were originally used for (each one is hooked to the other by pieces of  rope) but with holes drilled in the bottom they are perfect on the steps. In this picture they were filled with herbs.

This year the stairs and deck are white, the herbs are being moved to the square container next to the stairs and come summer, colorful heat-loving vinca will fill the tubs. 

A blue plastic dishpan sits on a chunk of old wood in front of the oddly-placed power box. Previously it held a taller container filled with perennial garlic chives --- another attempt to disguise the box. Last year a green plastic rectangular dishpan filled that spot, planted with colorful decorative sweet potato vines. They were supposed to drape and dangle as they grew. That didn't happen but they still looked nice and drew the eye away from the ugly box (a little).

Tomorrow, Tuesday, I will show you our first larger and semi-permanent containers which were/are very successful.

Friday we will expand into our old pool space.

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