Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Bucket Gardening


I have a lousy time with gardening. My husband swears I have a black thumb. Every spring I plant and something always goes wrong. I have learned by trial and error that vegetables do not fair well in my back yard. Apparently I can't grow grass there either. I have a sprinkler system and I would use it if someone would quit running over the sprinkler heads. I turned on the water last week and flooded the front yard. The weeds seem to like my yard better and I guess some green is better than none at all.


I like to think of myself as determined, a problem solver or what my family refers to as hard headed. My goal is to grow fresh vegetables for my family and I am not giving up so I go back to surfing the internet for ideas. I researched raised garden beds but I knew that idea wouldn't work unless I was able to surround the raised beds with a steel mesh cage. My dogs would not let a little height stand in the way of watering my tomatoes or digging them up in search of the neighborhood mole. There is also the problem of invading nasty looking horned caterpillars. !!Yucky!!


I tried an experiment with Aquaponics last year and had very good success in starting several types of tomatoes, herbs and leafy veggies. I tried to grow these starters in containers and I did have some initial good luck. I was able to harvest about a dozen small cracked fruits off my bushes but my herbs eventually died from lack of attention which means I forget to water them.


I tried something different this year with my aquaponics/aquarium system and took a terrarium approach to gardening. I filled the tank half way and floated Styrofoam rafts in the tank using the aquarium lights as the light source. It works fairly well but only on one half of the tank. I have had a problem with too much moisture on the side of the tank with the filter. I was thinking of using a piece of plastic to cover the down spout but I haven't gotten around to that yet. The aquaponics projects have been fun and a learning experience but it can be complicated and is not the best for growing tomatoes and like vegetables.


During my research on youtube, I discovered self-watering containers. Eureka! There was hope for me after all. I proceeded to do a little price checking. I found and purchased 3 small hanging plant containers that were on sale. I also found the large pretty hunter green or terracotta self watering containers that seemed to be the rage but I was not willing to fork out the $50.00 per container price tag. So I went back to researching youtube and I came across several do it yourself containers. I finally decided on what is called the bucket system or "Global Buckets".

Two 5 gallon buckets some pvp pipe and a plastic cup. I like the plastic drive through cups just so I feel like I am recycling. So far, I have made 5 buckets: 1 with my blueberry bush that my husband bought me, 3 tomato plants and the last one is for my basil as soon as its tall enough to transplant. So far my dogs have left the containers alone, there is no sight of caterpillars and I only water the plants every third day or so. The big plus plus is that it is impossible to over water. I think I found the cure to my black thumb back yard gardening problem. I am so excited.

Bucket Gardening_2713

For my next project, I have purchased 2 (two) 50 gallon rubber maid containers I found for $15 each. I'm thinking carrots, radishes and green leafy veggies. I'm on a roll...........