Perhaps you remember I told you I grew up on a farm. Well, big things are happening there this spring (in very small packages).
The real brains of our farm is, of course, my dear ol' dad. Always the innovator, he's experimenting with a no-frills container garden made only of re-purposed materials he had around the house (reusable shopping bags and a puppy wading pool).
Here's the plan:
• The reusable shopping bags are breathable, so they contain the potting soil but provide air and water flow to the plants.
• As their root system grows, the plants will air-prune, or naturally stop growing when they run out of soil and hit the edge of the bag, keeping them healthier and able to absorb more nutrients.
• Regular container gardens, because of their small volume and non-porous materials, are especially difficult to keep perfectly damp and often require water a few times per day. Here, keeping the pool filled with several inches of water means that, through osmosis, the plants will draw just the water they need, avoiding both overwatering and dried-out soil.
As with other container gardens, this set-up is extremely portable and would lend itself perfectly to a balcony or patio. If you're after a more streamlined look, color-coordinating the materials would go a long way and still not break the bank.
It's an experiment, so we'll see how it goes. I'll keep you updated on our little guys as the season progresses.
Aspiring urban gardeners, unite!
(Image: Jim Hunter)