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Monday, February 8, 2010

Container Gardens in Alaska. How you can make it inexpensive.

Container gardens are something I flourish in. I enjoy them as you can move them around your yard or if they need to be in sunlight but not certain types of dirt as well as moving them closer to your house and draping them if the weather turns. Container gardens work for everyone. Apartments or Houses, they are versatile and easy for all.


How I usually start is asking any restaurant or business that uses buckets, if I can take them off their hands, rather than dumping them in the trash or buy them off the business for a small fee. Most restaurants have them in 5 gallon sizes or larger. Hey, you can’t get everything for free. I do not ever go over a dollar a bucket and since I am picking them up they really can’t say it is a bad deal to take them off their property.

When I finally have the amount of buckets I want, I wash them thoroughly with a mild soap and warm water and use a spray bottle with a little bleach to kill any mold or bacteria that may be bad for my soil and plants. In which after I wipe them down well and let stand and dry overnight. I then grab a cordless drill, and find a good drill bit in which to drill holes in the bottom and on the side of the bucket no more than an inch from the bottom of the bucket. Good drainage is always wanted with container gardens. Make sure to have at least 10 to 20 holes in the bucket, depending on size of the drill bit.

Now, with that done, I usually mix my own soil. I have a wheel barrel (or you can use a tarp) and put 3 buckets of soil, 2 cups of lime, 2 cups of fertilizer (your choice), half a bucket of peat moss, and my secret ingredient…. 4 cups of ash from a wood stove. I take my shovel or spade and mix all these ingredients in. If the soil is for tomatoes or peppers, I make sure to add some egg shells, and some “moose nuggets” as it will help with the growth and drainage.  You can always call around to the gravel companies and ask how much they charge for good soil... it will depend on the time of year but May is a good time to call since they are not selling the soil as much or fast as the summer.

Fill the buckets till you have about 2 inches from the top of the bucket. You want to make sure you have 2 inches as it will give you space if you need to add extra soil later in the summer as the plants will absorb quite a bit of the nutrients. It is almost like a natural fertilizer that they have been already cultivating in.

Do this will all your buckets and however much soil you have. Leave out for two days in the weather so the lime in the soil can perforate the bucket and the plastic as well as whatever was in the buckets to begin with can transfer their properties and not kill the plant. After the two days, plant no more than two plants of your choice in each bucket. If you have a lot of seedlings…. You will need a lot of buckets!

Water normally, check the soil once a week (as it will settle) and add soil as needed or if needed and make sure to follow the directions via the seed packets.

The best types of container plants are lettuce, spinach, kohlrabi, herbs of all kinds, broccoli, cabbage, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and you can go on and see. I do not recommend doing this with carrots or potatoes in large bunches…. As they will rot at times.

Good Luck and have fun with it!

If you are looking for more information.  There is something called Bucket Brigade which is based out of Seattle Washington.  It would be good to start a preppers bucket, me thinks.  Anyone else up for the challenge?

3 comments:

Gen-IL Homesteader said...

Great post!!!!! I love that bucket brigade program! That is too cool!

So, I think that this year I'm going to plant spinach and heirloom tomatoes in buckets near my house. Spinach because it'll be closer since I use it so often and the garden is at the back of our first acre. Heirloom tomatoes because they're supposed to be far away from hybrids and I'm going to have hybrids in the garden.

Another plus with buckets: when I did potatoes in them (thankfully they didn't rot--I didn't know they would!) I did NOT get slugs on them! That was a relief as very often I'll get slugs on potatoes in the garden. Don't know if the buckets help keep other bad bugs away or not.

Cordless 659 said...

Your absolutely right! Gardening with these buckets is a lot of fun and they are so versatile. I like the idea you had about picking the buckets up at restaurants because that saves a bunch of money over buying them at the hardware store.

Badrockbilly said...

Great article. I have been using rubber conveyor belt for raised beds. I cut a ten foot length then two loops of bailing twine to keep it circular. They are two feet deep. I have poor soil but I mix peat moss and fertilizer added to my topsoil and rotted hay and manure and get pretty good results. I wondered about any leaching from the belt compounds. I grew corn as a clump in these circles and did all right

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