Sunday, June 1, 2014

Sunday Stroke Survival~ Gardening 2014

3 sisters planting
Last year's garden was a make shift of what I had on hand in an attempt to regain a joy and necessity in my life. My allergies were considerably lessened by eating my organically grown vegetables.

I never stop researching. I believe death is the absence of learning and believe you should learn (relearn) one new thing a day. Or at least I try too. I spend hours on the internet in Google, Youtube, Pintrest, and assorted other sites just researching possibilities.

I'm fairly open to new things. I tend to be an innovator and try new things. If it makes my life easier...BONUS!

So after dealing with bread flats, bag gardening, and milk crates last year, I'm trying some new things this year. I've got all my compost and all those bags of organic soil from last year.

This year I'm trying something different. I decided to do vertical and raised-raised bed square foot gardening to see which method is simpler. If I don't try, I won't know. I surfed the web and found the cheap alternative, because finances are extremely tight. Whose aren't, right? .

3x5 pallet raised bed
I hit upon this site. How to make raised bed gardens out of old pallets. You know me...recycle mama and squeeze each dime into a dollar bill. Pallets are free and this keeps them out of the landfills. This particular one my grandson built for me for corn and tall stuff (green peas, tomatoes, okra, black eye peas) that requires a trellis. It's 4x8 feet.

I've got another one that is 1x16 feet to take the place of my Boxwoods out front. My poor Boxwoods were infested with bore worms and had to go. This raised bed stands two feet high but has a slat shelf bottom one foot deep. You gotta love scrap wood! The front bed will hold my Nasturtiums, Pansies, Marigolds and other edible flowers. I still have to bend over to harvest them, but not as far as ground level.
Not mine but close

Now for my shorter vegetables and fruits, I have some raised-raised beds on legs or milk crates. These are also made from pallet lumber. Yeah, I used a good truckload of pallets with this venture. My grandson was a happy camper to have something to build with power tools! He's almost 15 and the more time he can spend outside creating the happier he is. He also gets time with Grandma which doesn't break his heart either.  He spent three glorious weekends with us tearing apart, sawing, and drilling to make me four 4x8 and one 1x16 boxes.

On the underside we used scrap lumber as braces, chicken wire for stability, and cardboard boxes courtesy of our neighborhood grocery store. Now eventually the cardboard will decompose but we also added some landscape weed barrier fabric between the cardboard and wire. On these will go my asparagus, carrots, radishes, bush green beans, squashes, strawberries, and herbs etc.

For the upper divisions into one foot squares were  mini blind slats that we Gorilla glued and riveted together. They were "trashed" because of assorted kids, remodeling, and pets over the years. We stockpiled them thinking if we ever needed a couple of slats we'd have them...Ah, come on, we are only talking about five sets. I'm not a true hoarder.

One box is exclusively rabbit and chicken friendly weeds, grasses, and seeds that didn't germinate. Every couple of days, I can move the chicken tractor that my grandson is building for me which fits over the top of it. This for when I don't what the rodeo of dogs and cats wrangling chickens and rabbits. Sometimes it is easier to keep them penned when time is of the essence.

I also found something else that peaked my interest...pallet vertical gardens. We planted several of these with lettuces and microgreens (radishes, kale, mustard greens, spinach, etc) This is strictly for salad munching and the rabbits. Needless to say I planted two of these. One for us and the other for the rabbits. We do love our rabbit food in this house. These are leaning against the house in the space between three windows. Our pallets chosen for this venture were 4x6. My grandson had to move a few boards around to get the proper spacings. We just stapled landscape weed barrier cloth to the inside to make sure the soil didn't wash away. I'm also planning on expanding my herd this year to include a breeding trio of Angoras.

Another thing we are trying on the wooden fence is this...
When we replaced the roof, we also replaced the gutter system for a rain catch system. The old gutter was screwed to the fence in four foot sections. After a little discussion we staggered the layout on the fences to make it more artistic looking. I also used replaced oxygen tubing to run in between the gutters so as I water the top on it flows down into the others. Wire caps make a great substitute for drip funnels. I did have to buy a few new end caps for this project but most of it was recycling what I had on hand. In two four-foot sections I have strawberries planted since they are perennials.

Yep it's been a busy couple of months for my grandson, but he loves it. All in all, my total cost, besides gas picking up the 16 pallets, was under $50. Here's hoping this new adventure in gardening works out well. Just think. If I hadn't had my stroke, this adventure would not be happening.

Oh, for another recycled gardening tip...
KFC Snack and Go cups make an excellent seed starter. Just remember to punch holes in the bottom for drainage. The handy plastic cap makes for a great humidity control cover for seedlings and it's divided into two sections for different plantings. No fuss, no muss instant seed starter. Trash to invaluable treasure.

I planted my seeds and placed them in a long plastic container with about an inch of water in the bottom. The plants pull water from the bottom and the extra humidity waters them from the top. They grow in them until transplanted into the garden bed.

So this year I'm gardening with two fingers, a pencil and a spade. Final tally at the end of the season.


  1. Nice pallets and nice rain gutter! I’ll come for lunch, I love fresh radish, kale, …

    John A. /

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Well come on down John. I'll be expecting you in, what 18=20 hours. LOL

  4. Looks great! I can't wait to see pictures of your harvest :)

  5. Oh, my! The ingenuity you have to tackle such an interesting twist on gardening. Grow, food, grow!


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