My potted garden

AndrewB

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Around September last year, I decided that I wanted to become more self sufficient. I've been a vegetarian for about 8 years & a vegan for the last 2, so that makes it fairly easy!

I'm renting currently, so decided pots were the best option, so I wasn't wasting time & money if I move somewhere else in 12 months time.

I stopped buying fresh fruit & veg, instead spending the money each week on pots, soil, seeds & plants. The first few months didn't yield much, just spinach, tomatoes & a few capsicums, but as I learn, it is increasing daily.

My previous gardens have been aquaponic or hyydroponic, so switching to dirt was a little strange- a bit backwards I know.

All organically grown, no herbicide or pesticide. I'm using comfrey/grass tea as a fertilizer & plan to add Moringa to the mix once I get a tree established- I just planted one today.




Passionfruit & Peach.
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Sweet potato & watermelon.


Strawberries in hanging baskets, I have a few different varieties growing.


Basil, I grow heaps of this, any spare spots in the garden get basil added. It is so good for attracting bees & here in Perth it flowers pretty much all year round.


My furry little friends busy at work.


I put in a small pond, surrounded by basil, again for the bees, so they could have a drink. I used to see them all the time in my hydroponics systems during the flood cycle, sitting on the rocks to get at the water. The pond has also attracted frogs, I started hearing them at night a few weeks after putting it in.


I planted a couple of Pumpkins & some Fennel in this terrible sand, not expecting much, but they are growing quite well with some hardwood mulch & regular liquid fertilizer.



The corn is done, I plan to grow a lot more next season, I was a bit late this time around, but they still grew really well. I'm leaving the stalks where they are & have planted climbing peas in the pots to make use of them.



Recycled Spring onions. I bough one bunch of these from the supermarket when I first moved in & planted the left over roots after using them. I have let a few go to seed & spread them around throughout the garden. One of the easiest things to grow & something that I use in almost every meal.



My Capsicums are starting to do really well, this one is loaded with about a dozen.
 

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OskarDoLittle

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Othe things that love pots you could try:
- pineapple
- blueberries (love acidic soil, similar to citrus, but too big to pot up together) - but strawberries will do well under-planted in citrus pots
- gingers/galangal/turmeric (makes it easy to access the tuber)
- chili
Actually come to think of it...most things!!
I did once try carrots and parsnip in deep pots...that was a fail - but perhaps that was more to do with me!
 

AndrewB

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I have a couple of blueberries, chili & ginger. Turmeric is something I want to grow, but haven't got around to yet.

I've planted a few different types of Oregano under the trees, as it grows fast & makes a good living mulch. It drapes over the side of pots, which is a nice barrier to the hot summer sun. I'll try strawberries too, my dog loves them & sits next to me licking her lips whenever I go near them.

I have carrots & parsnip growing, but they have been very slow growing. Radish grows great though.

I think controlling the heat & moisture levels in pots is the biggest challenge, having a barrier to the sun directly hitting the side of the pots in summer is important, as that can quickly dry out & kill your roots.
 
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AndrewB

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Thanks all.

Another advantage to gardening in pots is being able to move your garden as the season changes, or even as plants grow & shade out others.

I do have a fairly large backyard for a city block, but I am still limited in the amount of good growing space I have. In summer I was getting full sun all day in the area where most of the plants are, but as winter approaches & the angle of the sun changes, they were becoming more & more shaded.

No problem though, I just spent the morning watching the garden & how the sun was moving across it. A bit of heavy lifting & dragging & everything is back to getting the maximum amount of sun per day :)

I also observed some of my natural pest management team doing their thing.

The Okra is starting to struggle a bit as the weather gets cooler, this one has a bad bug infestation, but over the last few days, the ladybug population has boomed to control them, I counted about a dozen of them on this one plant.

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I have a particularly aggressive black ant in a certain part of the garden. They attack anything that isn't one of their own. If I stand there for a few minutes to water plants, they will be biting me as soon as I stop moving. They ate an entire rat that died from a neighbor poisoning it within a week, stripped it to the bone, not even fur left...

Rather than trying to wipe them out, I have been retraining them for a few months. I drop caterpillars & grasshoppers that I take off the plants onto the ground near their nest . They make short work of them & have now started hanging out on the plants, just waiting for a meal to arrive.
 

AndrewB

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A busy day in the garden. I put together a small raised bed & planted some peas, carrots, turnips, parsnips & more rainbow chard. I used weed mat to fully line the bed, so removal of the dirt when I move will be simple. It drains water well, which is why I chose it over a more heavy duty builders film, which I would have had to poke holes in.

I used a mixture of soil, compost & perlite, as I do with most of my pots.
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I also put together a small hydroponics system & will probably do another one soon to go right next to it. I want to compare commercial hydroponic liquid feed against a home made comfrey tea.

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Everything moved to locations with more sun. I'm finding those green grow bags really handy for moving around. The soft handles are much nicer than the hard plastic when you're hauling around 20kgs of dirt.


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AndrewB

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Had a nice relaxing day, shuffled a few more pots around. I have a large tree that is blocking my morning sun over quite a large area, so I think I need to give it a trim on the weekend.

I planted some more potatoes in a large 200L grow bag. The others I planted in the small bags are doing well, so I thought I may as well expand.


I have a few greenhouse experiments underway to see what sort of results I could expect of a larger one.

The first is a small cheap thing from bunnings that I got for seedlings. I've put a pot in it hooked up to my little hydroponic setup. Temps are great, outside measured 23c, inside was 34c.


The second is made from pvc pipe & builders film. I only put it together this morning & the area was shaded by the time I was done, so haven't seen how well it performs as yet. It was more a test of how easy to build it was before I scale it up.



I only had electrical tape to attach the plastic to the pipes, which I wasn't overly confident in, so I 3d printed some plastic clips to slip over the pipe, they work great & hold it very securely.





Then it was time to make dinner :)
 

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ClissAT

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So this area in your photos in this thread is the area you want to place the greenhouse, Andrew?

Yesterday in Bunnings I saw some electrical fittings for just $2 or $3 each that I instantly knew would suit for attaching conduit to your fence & to the pavers to strengthen your poly tunnel. I envisaged a half tunnel 2m tall at the fence (or whatever height the fence is) & bending down to the pool coping giving you 2 rows of containers with room for an alley way between.
I took photos of the joiners which are on my phone but require me to use my brain to Bluetooth them to my pc so it will be another day or 2 before I put the up here.
But I will do it & it might give you some more ideas.
 

AndrewB

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Thanks, I understand what you have in mind & it's one of many ideas floating around in my head.

I really need to do less thinking when I'm out there to be honest. I was considering today that it would actually be really simple to make a temporary deck to cover the pool & I would have much more growing room.. I just need to put my creative side on hold until I get my own place!

The 3d printing is a bit at odds with my green outlook, but it is a community of amazingly creative, intelligent & open minded people. The technology is for the most part open source & competing companies are actively collaborating on advancing it, which is extremely rare in a world where everyone is chasing the dollar.
 

AndrewB

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I put together another hydroponics system today. I wanted a pond to attract more frogs & other predators to the garden, but figured that I may as well get some food out of it at the same time.

Its just a wood frame with pond liner stapled to it. Water gets pumped up to the baskets, then drains back down to the pond. The baskets are removable for super easy cleaning. Eventually, the entire lower section will be plants for frog habitat.




 

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ClissAT

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So simple & straight forward, Andrew.

How do you stop mozzies breeding in the nutrient solution?
You are also very lucky you don't have toads.
I couldn't possibly have a setup like that here as toads can climb & would inhabit that pond within hours of its initial filling.
Then the mozzies would move in!

I have managed to raise green tree frog tadpoles this year in the bathtub horse trough, but some of them are rather dumb.
They don't seem to be able to get up onto the bricks I have for them to rest on as they grow lungs & legs.
Even though I keep the water height so they can swim onto the bricks to rest, they just keep swimming until they are exhausted.
Other people say they raise tadpoles in completely full bathtub & the froglets just climb up the sloping end to get out.
But mine don't seem to be able to do that.
I have put wide planks into the water for them to climb onto & some do but the rest never get the message.
 

AndrewB

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Mozzies don't like moving water so much, there is enough flow with 2 drains & an airstone that they shouldn't be a problem.

I'm amazed that green tree frogs have survived this long, they are the laziest frog on the planet! When I was living in Townsville, I had to pick them up & move them when I was mowing, as they would not get out of the way themselves.

Do you have any plants in your tub? They give a nice safe spot for them to hang out until they are big enough to leave.
 

ClissAT

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Do you have any plants in your tub? They give a nice safe spot for them to hang out until they are big enough to leave.
Yes I pull whole plants of sedge grass from the edge of my dam & drop into the horse troughs. This enables the tadpoles to develop while the troughs are still in use for horse water.
Then when the taddies get bigger & begin polluting the water & the horses don't want to drink from that trough anymore, I put shade cloth over the trough to stop the birds grazing on the taddies, add the planks & bricks & leave it for them to mature. I keep the water level to the top of the bricks & make sure the plants are settled right next to the bricks.
I feed the taddies lettuce & various grasses.
These tadpoles are the offspring of frogs I brought with me accidently 11yrs ago from Maleny. They were hibernating in my potting mix wheelie bins so when summer came & they emerged I recognized them.
I called the male 'Wheelie Bin', the female was 'Sheila' & the other male was called 'Boof' cos he had a really snub nose.
This last breeding season after they finished using the troughs to breed in, I heard them down at the dam but I never saw them again & younger ones have moved into the verandah spaces that the old frogs previously occupied.
Toads fill the dam with their tadpoles & I wonder if the green frogs ate those because there weren't many insects around the verandahs this year so the green frogs may not have had enough to eat around the house.

But I have so far seen several baby green frogs so I am happy that the numbers will stay good.
 

OskarDoLittle

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Thanks, I understand what you have in mind & it's one of many ideas floating around in my head.

I really need to do less thinking when I'm out there to be honest. I was considering today that it would actually be really simple to make a temporary deck to cover the pool & I would have much more growing room.. I just need to put my creative side on hold until I get my own place!

The 3d printing is a bit at odds with my green outlook, but it is a community of amazingly creative, intelligent & open minded people. The technology is for the most part open source & competing companies are actively collaborating on advancing it, which is extremely rare in a world where everyone is chasing the dollar.
I love you're considering decking over the pool for planting space!! I find myself coming up with all sorts of weird ideas (long planter boxes on wheels that i can stack together on the sunny driveway but still drag them apart to weed, or to get more sun...the other half won't let me do this though!)
 
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ClissAT

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I love you're considering decking over the pool for planting space!! I find myself coming up with all sorts of weird ideas (long planter boxes on wheels that i can stack together on the sunny driveway but still drag them apart to weed, or to get more sun...the other half won't let me do this though!)

Sounds like a very sensible idea to me.
Why aren't you allowed to do that Oskar?
 
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AndrewB

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Yes, that's a great idea. There are so many advantages to a mobile garden.

Nobody to stop my crazy ideas, my dog approves everything, as it means more snacks for her :)