Sunday, March 06, 2011

(our) first bath tub vege gardens

Here's the raw fing. Yes that's Zeke's feet in the corner of the pic as he swings by in the hammock/swing (we have both up in the lovely old tree).

SO we started with two of these and by the end of the day had two lovely straw-mulched (very) raised garden beds, ready to rock'n'gro! Admittedly, this is the first time we've done these so we'll let them be for a while, then decide whether we need to change anything before we plant more out. Today's two turned out well, I think. They went from that above, to this:

and here's how...

ooh fancy frame - diamontes anyone? LOL this will need some cross-bracing across the legs eventually. One more bit of someone else's 'junk' that won't be needing to hit the landfill just yet. Michael (DH) did the hunting and collecting for the two baths, the two old tables that we used the frames from, and the scrap timber for supports/that will be cross-bracing on the legs.

the space we had in mind, standing behind the shed and looking roughly North. NB it's quite early morning taking these. The spots actually get good full sun for most of the day.

the space we had in mind, standing up by the chook yard looking West.

Bath-tub bed 2 sitting vaguely in position on various improvised 'chocks' with bath-tub bed 1 in the background closest to the cubby. A few extra holes it in it but that's no prob. Two bath-tubs not taking up space in landfill somewhere. good stuff.

The curly-haired assistant. Hides bolts and things very well and good at re-arranging socket sets like you've never seen before. Adds ... 'interest' to any project.

the supervisors. of course.

in position. Black plastic down, getting ready to tuck in. In hindsight I should have left the overhang as it was hanging right over the frame, to protect the frame. Eventually I want to clad one short and one long side (the sides you see most) in either reclaimed colourbond or similar. I did think about that... reed stuff (people use it on their fence?) but that will just have a fat time growing redbacks (spiders) here. So will plan for colourbond or similar on just one end and one side facing out... it will look a little 'neater' but I'll still be able to store stuff underneath the beds.

strawberries in the fruit tree bed in the background. Foreground - bath-tub bed... almost ready for the 'top layer' of goody-growing stuff!

For now, where the bath-tub plug hole is, we're using it to drain the beds so they don't waterlog, and just catching it in pots/bucket/watering can and returning it to the garden (this one had the worm-poo-soup in it so was rinsing as well as making a lovely prep for the fruit trees).

I had thought about trying to run the drainage water from bath-tub 1, into bath-tub two via pipe and gravity feed, but (a) that would have required more pre-thought and I was in a 'do it now' mood AND DH was on board hunting down materials so why waste the motivation, and (b) it would have meant a pipe to step over each time I walked between the beds and (c) we liked the height of the first bed.

Eventually the plan is to run some pipe to take the water directly from the bottom of the bath-tub beds, to the fruit trees, gravity-fed. Prob need some mesh stuff at the start of each 'plug hole' somewhere as a filter, that's easy to disconnect and clean out if needed.

Top layer of good stuff on bath-tub bed 1. Seedlings ready to go in. I know I know. I have enough seed here to seedling half the street. BUT it's costing every time we have to buy toms and capsi (even though we have a wonderful f&v it still costs). So I went half-half. I'll plant half as bought-seedlings a little more mature and earlier to fruit than from seed sewn today, and the other half are 'from seed' - some of which I planted a few weeks ago and are ready to transplant, some will be staggered plantings with the seed not yet planted.

As you can see bed2 is still on temporary chocks. Another table frame was found (go DH), the water damaged top taken off and the frame fit just about perfectly (don't you love it when that happens!). And now... here tis! Full of good stuff, some seedlings and straw mulch.

Into the 'guts' of the bath-tub bed went black plastic (to line and help ease my mind on issues of lead paint and nickel leaching), old straw and stuff at the bottom, then manures/compost/mulchy stuff, donation from the worm farm and some sludge from there too, and a decent helping of worm-poo-tea :) The plants will LOVE it (hopefully)!

Here's the view looking towards the cubby house. Swept up but still needs a final tidy. The unmulched part you can see on Bed 2 closest to the camera, is where I put in about 20 lettuce and 30odd spinach seeds. Once the little seeds come up I'll mulch them with straw too. In the mulched part is seedlings left from the punnets bought today, tomato, capsi and some seedlings from the colourbond bed, tomato (could be several varieties from the seed packets we have).

To the left of the beds are our fruit trees and the strawberries and lavender are doing very well under those - the best strawberries we've ever had actually. Heaps of runners coming off the sides now which I am very pleased about! Should still get enough sun to grow stuff. I weeded in there today ready to chuck down some good stuff, and put in some more seeds. Alyssum and a few others were scattered round while I was there.

The space underneath the (very) raised beds, will be used to store spare hay bales (off the ground on bricks) to keep them dry, and eventually the chook pellets once I can re-purpose some decent size pickle/fishing buckets with lids. Very handy as the chook yard is right there.

This is Bed 1. Chives, tomato and capsi for now. When the first lot of seedlings are getting bigger I'll start the next lot that will go in for planting. The light
wasn't quite right this afternoon for the final 'after' photo so I'll do that in the next day or so (translation: when I remember), for comparison.

Estimate Total Cost excluding fuel and time:
  • bath tubs - free - reclaimed
  • frames for stands for tubs - free - reclaimed
  • timber for bracing - free - reclaimed
  • 2 bales of straw - bought but most of it's for the chook yard
  • 2 bales of that yummy stuff for the top of the soil - bought
  • 1 punnet tomato, 1 punnet capsi, one pot chives - bought with the rest being done from seed.
  • worm-poo-soup, mulch, compost and manure - free from our garden and lovely animals :)
TOTAL: $ [I gotta add this up lol]

And a few 'while we're here'...

This is the garden bed by the chook yard that I re-did yesterday.

I pulled the rocks forward, and 'backlined' behind with lengths of overlapping cardboard. Since there are no mortar joins, the 'sand' (because it is sand here) just filters through the gaps as does the water. As we improve the soil this will lessen but for now, cardboard box strips it is. These rocks were in the garden when we first moved in here all those years ago, when there were about five levels, a dissused pond and who knows what else... oh and before the five truck loads of sand were removed, and Mum, Dad and DH put in all the paving, the retaining wall, the steps, the ramp and before the patio went in, the door was re-set, and the wierd up the steps down the steps in/out of the back room re-aligned.

'because they felt like it' plants growing up the chook yard outer, in the tiny tiny space between the 1-1.5m retaining wall and the fence. I staked them as every time they crawled up the wire the chooks nibbled the tendrils.

Here's that assistant again - Master Quinn! Michael put a bike together out of bits found, for Jake.

and finally... patiently we wait. This mandarine tree (a gift to DH from me on our anniversary some years ago) has been saved each year from threats by DH of 'it's useless pull it out and put something else there!'... last year it got fruit but some little child who will remain nameless, pulled all the green ones off. Not happy stan. We opened one of the too-early-picked ones and boy it tasted so GOOD even if it was a little tart from being too early. This year we started out I think with about 60/80 odd blossoms. We're down to maybe 30 or so (wind, heavy rains when the blossoms were out) and here they are. Are they meant to be so slow? They're almost full size now and I *think* on some of them, their bums are beginning the hint of orange!

Quinn keeps saying 'wait... onange' he knows he can't have them now because they are green and he's to wait until they are orange. Although sometimes his impulse control is not quite 'there' and he has picked a few green ones *sigh* they smell LOVELY though. So patiently we wait. There's plenty to do in the meantime and boy will they be worth it!


Lesley said...

Wow you are a blogging queen of late, love the garden beds, I bet they will be awesome!!

Mich said...

Looking good Kristy, love he stands that you found to raise them.
Oh and yes the mandarins do take a while, ours are at about the same stage as yours.
Have you had tomatoes growing during the summer? How have they gone? Ours did abysmally this year, I think the heat has been too much.

Kristy said...

I d'no about 'blogging queen' Lesley lol but I certainly have the 'bug' to get stuff done atm, maybe because of my Project June but maybe 'just because'... who knows. I've been drooling over some of the recipes on your blog... mmm!

Ta Mich. Michael found the stands and yep, good score!
Nice to hear someone else with mandarines at the same stage. Having a rethink about what other fruit trees we plant and where.

Tomato... no we didn't have many in this summer, and most just didn't make it because the kids were too busy picking all the darn leaves (where the buds start especially!) to give to the chooks! *sigh* LOL

I know my Mum put up a 'shade' (temporary) for some of hers but I think when it's hot even in the shade that's hard eh.

I wanted to not buy lettuce or tomato this summer and just didn't succeed. Re-evaluating and trying again. Good luck with yours :)

lynetter said...

That is an inspired idea. I've seen bathtubs used for planting before but they were buried... putting them on legs so they're raised up not only makes for easy gardening and protected from chooks(!), but I love the idea of having the underneath being like mini-sheds if you blocked it off. Sort of like cupboards for the garden. I shall have to look into this. :)

Kristy said...

these went really well and are still going strong all these months later in August :)

If you do table/bathtub garden beds, I'd really like to see how they go, if you get the time to pop in with a link :)

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