Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

A Few garden visits ago I was able to show people how to build  and grow in their own drum gardens..There has been a few mods for the bigger beds and  successful  ones at that.I am also now growing  produce lettuce baby spinach etc in only 2inches of soil another crazy garden  science experiment paying off.These gardens as far as container gardening go have really changed my thought and ways of doing things even if they are different. The many gardening experts on TV of many that I truly respect and admire would all put their hands in their faces if I told  of my ways.What Ive found  is that all these deep expensive pots one can buy { my opinion only} are not needed for growing a lot of produce except ofcourse the deeper rooted plants and tubers etc.If one can make their own compost and have access to manures then mixing with the best potting mix   much more could be grown for much less cost.and with using far less growing media . These pots I put at an easy working height 'no bending for this little black duck 'I have also designed a stand to hold 3 pots in a step pattern and looking at some other ideas .The produce in the larger beds are kale with a wicking bed the smaller ones have rocket lettuce and spinach.My tubes, another idea are happily growing spring onions .Please check out my photos 

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Comment by Lissa on September 14, 2014 at 5:59

Nice Darren :)

Yep - only need growing medium as deep as the roots go. The drawback with a small amount of growing medium would be keeping it moist.

I have a commercial self watering four tiered garden that I have been playing with. For some reason I can't yet fathom some of the plants (all herbs) die and some thrive. I do find the top layer dries out quickest though.

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on September 13, 2014 at 20:39

I saw you showing them off at Gayle's visit mate.  It's a great little system. I also highly recommend sweet potatoes.  Don't forget, you can also eat their leaves!

Comment by DARREN JAMES on September 13, 2014 at 19:44

Yes thanks Elaine I will give those sweet spuds a go I buried some fish in the bottom of one of them blue drums cut to about a third which equates to about 60 litres of mix .Looking forward to see what it produces

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on September 13, 2014 at 16:43

You're right about the 'experts' Darren. None I've read or seen even talk wicking beds. Well, Costa did when he was on SBS and it was a most complex, costly thing. But a start!

Your drum gardens would be just the shiny shilling for a renter, oldie (like me when I get too ancient for the garden I do have), small to no yard person. I read Anne Gibson's posts she's a great person and so good with showing children how to garden, but a tad set in her ways with micro-gardens being very conventional (imho).

With the deeper gardens, if you want to try Sweet Potato - use Glynth's system. Pix are on BLF. She uses a trellis and has the stems growing up and giving their all to the tubers. Those of us who have tried it, find it a very prolific system with kilos of tubers out of a smallish pot (about 10L). I am hoping bigger pots give bigger results, mine are only in 1 month so far.

As for growing media, look at the Mushroom compost now. The nutrient part of the media is about 25mm thick on top of about 100mm of sterile organic matter. The commercial Mushroom growers have figured out how little they need for a decent crop. The earlier versions of Mushroom compost with animal manures were a boon for the gardener but what the commercial growers gain the gardeners lose.

I have found that drainage in moulded plastic pots is far more than is needed. A wicking bin of 200-300L capacity has one 25mm hole and none of my plants in those bins have drowned after 5 years. Through the dry times and the wet times! Ergo: drainage in pots does not need to be many holes, one small one is just fine.

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