Garden, Plant, Cook!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Container Gardening - Another Idea

Dear Folks,

When I did my recent poll/survey on what you want more information on 52% said "container gardening".  During the last couple of months I have been actively researching on variations of hydroponic gardening (including methods to include aquaponics).  All hydroponics is 'container gardening.'  Along the way I have found some truly ingenuous ideas for growing edibles in small spaces.  Most of the initial information I found was for the apartment/dense city dweller, like window farms made out of recycled 2 liter bottles.  That fits right in with my theme of growing a 'community garden' in an urban setting like an apartment complex or dormitory.  Several 'balcony farmers' get together and share the harvests.

After seeing the 2 liter vertical systems (see my post from June here ) I really felt that something like that was doable outside, but the challenge with 2 liter containers outside is it comes right up against the primary challenge facing those who want to garden, in containers, in the desert -- the heat impact on narrow or shallow containers.  So I went looking further.

The essential fact:  If you want to / choose to garden in small containers you have to limit your growing season to the less than 90 degree times of the year - that equals about October 1st to April 1st.  That is a nice growing season for all the cool weather plant options.  Outside of a green house you won't get basil or tomatoes for very long and only at the opposite ends of that calendar time frame.

So as soon as I made that decision for my hydroponic system search I discovered vertical systems made from 4 inch corrugated drain pipe.  I am purchasing the necessary components and will start blogging on the process over the next several weeks.

In the meantime, a lot of container garden questions are about 'grow boxes' and the limitations similar to what I discuss above.  Too narrow and too shallow for year-round growing.  I am always focused on how gardeners can take advantage of our year-round growing conditions to maximize harvest potential.  You can use the grow boxes in the same time frame mentioned above October through March

However, if you want to use the growbox type concept AND garden year round with it, I came across a site with some cool DIY ideas for building your own grow box, self watering and contained for balconys, patios or even indoors (keep in mind indoor gardens require additional light AND air circulation to be successful).

Insinde Urban Green

From this creative person is a neat way to build a container garden using perforated corrugated drain pipe, some form of a container (so you can choose a larger one more suitable to our heat impact) and some recycled bottles.  Viola - you have your own grow box.  NOTE: Important - for this kind of system you must use perforated CDP.  For the hydroponic system I am designing I have to use non-perforated.  Excellent photos to illustrate the concept.

And finally, a note about why I am going to do a hydroponic system - I'm running out of space :-) and I needed to go vertical with a system which I could automate to some extent.

More later

Have a great day!

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady