Elevated portable micro gardens like this will not only produce a ton of fresh vegetables but you will not strain your back growing them.
An elevated planter like has a second major benefit. The valuable space under it is available for storage. Remember that the sub-irrigated planters above are self-contained. There is no drainage to damage what is under them and if located on a balcony annoy the neighbors below with dripping water.
I would not make the tote box planters as described from the Instructables directions. It is an outdated method. These photos show a much simpler DIY tote box SIP made with recycled plastics, in this case ½ gallon milk containers. You could also make the water/oxygen reservoirs using inverted recycled nursery trays, or other recycled plastic food containers. The fill tube is made from recycled water bottles nested to fit.
The partial amount of soil is there to demonstrate the wicking system. Fill the SIP to the top before planting. The soil mix surrounding the reservoirs creates the wicks. It is a good idea to tamp the soil down with your fingers to improve the capillarity of the wicks. You do not need any yoghurt containers, pond baskets, PVC pipes, etc.
If I made this table I would hide the tote box SIPs. Draw curtains would be a simple way to do it and at the same time allow easy access to items stored below. Incidentally, the green tote shown was a Christmas item from a local dollar store. I do not like looking at blue or gray plastic boxes. I know…picky, picky.
This is clearly the rock star of the urban greenscaper photo collection. There is no close second. People from all over the world have viewed it 26,738 times as of today.
There is good reason for calling it the Rosetta Stone of container plant growing. Whether growing houseplants, herbs or vegetable starters it makes plant growing so much easier. You do not need a mythical green thumb to grow healthy plants.
Even with almost 40 years of horticultural experience, I continue to learn new things about plants using these recycled (or upcycled) soda bottle sub-irrigated planters.
They are not only better for plants than drain hole planters, they are free and you are helping the environment by using them. They are clearly (pun intended) better than what you can buy.
You can use them to propagate cuttings or seeds. Grow vegetable starter plants in them and then move them into raised bed, utility bucket, tote box or EarthBox portable micro gardens (aka sub-irrigated planters, SIPs).
Stay tuned for recycled glass wine and beer bottle versions of these planters. A YouTube instructional video is also in the works.
This looks like a traditional raised bed planter but it is not!
This portable micro garden (PMG) is equipped with a simple to make sub-irrigation system. It is far more effective and productive than a top watered raised bed. That includes those that are drip irrigated.
Think of these PMG systems as intensive care units. They benefit from the best of two worlds. Nature provides the sunlight for photosynthesis and technology provides water and oxygen for the root system.
All three are critically important for growing healthy plants and the production of abundant fresh food.
You don't need a white picket fence and a kitchen garden to grow strawberries on a fire escape either. I took this photo up on the roof at Frieda Lim's Slippery Slope SIP Micro-Farm. These are small alpine strawberries but they could be any variety.
You can see how easy it was to make this window box sub-irrigated planter (SIP). One section of perforated corrugated HDPE drain pipe cut in half lengthwise, an overflow drain hole and a recycled water bottle fill tube and you're done. You're good to grow!
Wake up America. The USDA is leading us all down a dead-end dirt road and they should be held accountable for their misleading propaganda. What are you going to do about it?
There are millions of people living in cities who don't live behind white picket fences and have space for a kitchen garden.
This is a real world alternative. It isn't legal to do it but this "salad bar" sub-irrigated planter would fit on most fire escapes. You can grow a bunch of salad greens or herbs in a no-drip SIP like this. Read on and see how to make it. See the sources below.
The location is up on the roof at Slippery Slope SIP Micro-Farm in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Frieda Lim put the SIP together in no time, while I photographed what she was doing. It was late in the day after a reception for some media people and there wasn't much light.
This SIP is as simple as salad to make. The planter is a mortar box. The air and water reservoir is made from three one half round sections of 4" diameter perforated HDPE corrugated drain pipe. Note that the one with the fill pipe needed a quick-fix piece of duct tape to cover an errant cut. There is an overflow drain hole in the side of the box located at the top of the middle pipe.
The fill pipe is one recycled PET water bottle with the bottom trimmed off. It fits into a hole cut in one of the drain pipes.
Add the soil mix to the box. Tamp it down between the pipe sections to ensure good capillary wicking action. Add the veggie starter plants (or grow from seeds) and you'll soon be eating delicious fresh salads.
Mortar box - 26"x20"x6" - Lowe's $5 and change Perforated, corrugated (HDPE) drain pipe - 10' length - Lowe's $5 and change Fill pipe - recycled (PET) water bottle - free Media - Fafard Container Mix (or equivalent), no top soil -30 dry qt bag - $7 Vegetable starter plants - Silver Height's Farm, Union Square Farmer's Market, NYC
One of the ways for retirees to cope with reduced income and an empty nest is to downsize. My family grew up on many acres of land devoted to orchards and my grandfather and father always allotted an acre or so to growing our own food, as well. So when my folks retired, they “sold the farm” and moved into a modular home. Not only was their house now much smaller; their land was also drastically reduced. In spite of that, my dad commenced to garden in the space available.
He now harvests fresh vegetables or greens almost every day of the year in a plot of land measuring a mere 18 feet by 22 feet. When he moved in, it was covered with plastic mulch and topped with large pea gravel: a pretty desolate place. He raked back the gravel, cut through the plastic and dug down to create several raised beds for vegetables and flowers, and even planted four dwarf citrus trees. In between these larger areas, he set up five EarthBoxes (earthbox.com)—a self-contained gardening system—that he had already found productive and efficient for selected vegetables.
This video isn't about pretty pictures gardening, it's about food and human survival. There are people all over the world who are dealing with these issues in an intelligent and environmentally sound way. This is just one of the many examples I discover in my research. Meanwhile we wax nostalgic about primitive gardening methods from a prior century.
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