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Know How, Know More

Thinking Outside of the Garden Bed

After one more round of snow last week, it looks like the weather will probably hold for the gardening adventures to expand.  Take a look at what's taking shape at the Piatt County Extension Office.

With very little investment, we have started constructing various demonstrations around the Extension Office in Monticello.  So far, we have a pallet A-frame, numerous bucket gardens, a vertical gutter garden on a "fence" and a potato planter.  (Pictured above for your reference)  Still to come are the Earthboxes and the straw bale gardens.

We were able to find slightly damaged pallets at a local business available at no cost to us.  The pallets provided us with material for the potato planter, the A-frame & our fence panel for our gutters.  If you are on a quest for pallets be sure to find those with HT (heat treated) on their inspection stamp.  Some pallets are fumigated with methyl bromide (MB) which makes them undesirable for gardening purposes.  A volunteer had an old section of gutter available for re-purposing and we still make a weekly visit to our bucket supplier at the local grocery store bakery.

We did have to purchase a roll of landscape fabric, a roll of wire mesh & plenty of potting soil.  We also made the investment of adding a very basic drip irrigation system so our plants would not succumb to the neglect of the busyness of spring.  The landscape fabric was used to create the back & planting pockets of the A-frame planter and also used to line the potato planter.  The wire mesh was used in the bottom of the potato planter under the landscape fabric to provide support for the potting soil.

We will talk more about the potato planter in a future post.  This idea was derived out of plans for a pallet strawberry planter.  We planted radishes on the surface of the planter while we wait for the potatoes to grow.  No use wasting good planting space while the potatoes take root.  Radishes are a very short season crop that can be harvested about 30 days after direct seeding.

Although it doesn't look like much now, an array of lettuce seeds were planted in the gutter garden.  Given the small area for the roots, care should be taken to choose crops that do not require a large amount of space for root growth or that will be very tall.

If you love to tinker and construct things, these ideas might be right up your alley.  We are looking forward to seeing how everything grows in the less than traditional growing environment.  We are 100% surrounded by concrete and asphalt!  Check back throughout the season to grow along with us.

And a picture of our previously mentioned Broccoli Bucket Garden is above.  It's growing rather nicely.