Thursday, 9 May 2013

Container planting

Anyone and everyone can have a garden nearly anywhere they live. Even a balcony or a sunny window shelf can provide enough space to produce some kind of edible stuff. At the very least, a little herb garden can be maintained and harvested throughout the year, even in a small apartment.

We are in transition right now and since we don't know when we will have to move or where we will end up, we have been trying to keep most of our plants mobile. We've planted in pots and buckets or barrels and recently, we've even made a small, detachable, living wall. We also wanted to see how much you can grow in the 'microspace" as Geoff Lawton puts it so nicely.

So we want to share with you how we went about this task and we will start with our living wall. This wall is for now attached  to the front of our greenhouse and will house herbs and maybe lettuce. I am not sure yet what and how much will get in there, but let's pack it to the maximum possible. This is the fun side of Permaculture in my mind. The tinkering and experimenting. A whole lot of happy little accidents and sad little failures.

The idea of a living wall (a vertical growing bed) came up because we had some old, odd shaped pallets in the yard that I have salvaged from my work place. We had bought a new instrument at work and, because I was very involved with the decision and purchase of the item, I felt a little attached and took home the pallet the thing was shipped on, as well as the huge cardboard box that it came in. (The cardboard box made a fantastic mulched bed you read about in an earlier post.)

Upcycling, oh yeah!

I closed the pallet off on the open side with some plywood and also closed the bottom so that the soil won't fall through. You cant tell here, but I left a little space which was mostly accidental, but also allows for drainage and prevents flooding of the soil.

Closing off (almost!) all the sides

The next step was to mount the box to the wall (in our case the greenhouse front). We screwed on a plank first, and then screwed the box to that for extra support. We didn't need many screws but made sure to pressure test it (i.e. my wife pushed and pulled on it to make sure that even with a heavy load of soil, water and plants it won't fall down).  

The smaller plant over the plastic is the support plank. 

All secure!

We then filled it with soil and compost mix...

Our amendments and the tub in front is our regular topsoil.

 Those little pots you see are about 90 heritage tomatoes and some melons and things. We'll tell you about the box and buckets in later posts...

And filling...
The tray underneath is to catch any soil that fell through (cos I'm cheap like that) but almost none did. 

And full...

and mulched on top.

And Done!.. Almost

 After the box was filled, I started to drill holes using a hole saw into the side of the box to allow for planting space on the vertical. 

Yep, no wasted space here!

Et voila! A detachable, living wall all ready for seeding/transplanting whatever we choose (provided it does well in a living wall format of course). This would be great for any kind of space where the sun hits and watering can be easily done. That means balconies, railings, or on the wall right beside the kitchen door/window. It's easy access, easily moveable and apparently easy to fill to bursting. We're going to continue this series on container planting and in the process keep you updated on the progress of our new living wall. 

As always if you want to comment use the box below and if you have your own living wall(s) we'd love to hear from you. Happy gardening!

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