Thursday, March 29, 2012

Pallet planter

Post image for How to Turn a Pallet into a Garden

I don't do a lot of reposting, but this idea of using a pallet as a sort of tiered mulitpot is really smart. I like in particular the fact that you could tilt it, overcoming the problem of plants casting shadows on plants below them. Watering would be tough, particularly in late spring and summer. But it would work very well in the winter/spring period if you were willing to hand-water the lower tiers. I imagine chard and small greens (Tuscan kale, say) on top, mixed lettuce greens below that, then herbs and finally nasturtiums and small, mounding flowers flowing out of the bottom rung. Very pretty, and very efficient use of space.

I would definitely use a well-drained mix, in any case. And perhaps lining the back not with cloth but with a thin plastic sheet, with abundant holes in the lower tiers to encourage wicking downward, then upward.

Adding... Thought about this more. Pegboard and penny nails for the back, that's what I'd use. Yeah, the pegboard would only last one or two seasons, but that's what would work best. And it's cheap, readily available, easily cut. More structure, better water retention. 

Monday, March 19, 2012


Typical spring broccoli. I've been harvesting heads from the same plants for months now, and each time they produce a head, it's a bit smaller than the last. These plants are still healthy and productive, but I'll probably only take one or two more cuttings from them, as the stems are getting woody and the yield is decreasing. That will leave me more room in my main bed for... I dunno. Cukes? Squash? Something...
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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Spring's arrived...

... and I know it because I saw my first Black Racer and... first Florida grasshoppers...  

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sprinkler solution for Florida garden...

Someone in the comments asked for a picture of my DIY sprinkler system. Five minutes, a few dollars, and no tools (except a hacksaw or PVC cutter). The hose-to-PVC adapters can be hard to find in the hardware store. Just ask. The Orbit flush head 360° is attached using a slip-to-thread, which is nice, since Orbitz sells a lot of different risers, allowing you to change the height of the head without redoing the PVC. The sprinkler head is adjustable, allowing you a narrow or broad circumference of your irrigation field. So, in other words, like all good plans, later adjustment is built in. In the lower right picture, you can see that I've split the water flow between the overhead sprinkler (perpendicular) and a Mister-Mister system that waters some corners of another bed that's beyond the reach of the overhead. More than enough water pressure to run both. In fact, my back bed (which is larger, about sixty by thirty) sprinkler system consists of two of these overhead sprinklers hooked into a hose (and ultimately into a timer). Water pressure is more than high enough to run both Orbitz heads at full capacity... Later this spring I'll cut another split into that back-bed system and run some drip heads to water my apple and persimmon trees. 

A quick garden update in pictures...

What's going on in your garden? 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Just before the rain...

I transplanted another dozen tomatoes into the garden, transplanted some nice little cukes (pum ae, southern delight) and squash (pum ae slick-pik)... divided out an overgrown snapdragon and stuck it in the corner of my front bed, fertilized everything... and walked in the house as it started to pour. Well played.

Beans are up! Everything's growing so fast... I love early spring in Florida. No bugs, no disease, and now a nice shower. 

Tuesday, March 06, 2012


Since some people actually read this blog who want to garden better. I'm no expert, but I've learned a lot of lessons about what it takes to garden in Central Florida. All the time people write me and ask why their garden doesn't grow, and more times than not, the root of their problem is proper watering. I wrote a long post about proper watering last year, and it's worthwhile posting again as we move into the very dry and hot and sunny months of April, May and June. Suffice it to say: Ignore what they say about watering up North. Water often, mulch heavily, and additionally hand water seedlings and transplants. Every day. Especially windy, sunny days like our early spring.

Adding... Overhead sprinkling works best. I've tried everything--microsprinklers, soaker hoses, every hose-end attachment made in heaven or hell. Each has some advantage, but their disadvantages outweigh the advantages.

In the end, a super simpler, $3 solution works for me: a tall (four or five feet) standing PVC topped off with a 360-degree sprinkler head, attached to a hose and a timer. The best way I've found to water small gardens like mine. One of these setups will water a space roughly fifteen-by-thirty. I run mine once a day, early morning, for fifteen minutes or so. 

Monday, March 05, 2012

Early spring garden...

Most of my tomatoes are in the ground. Beans in the ground. My squash and cuke seedlings are up, only cotelydons for the moment... maybe another week before they're ready for transplant. I dumped something like twenty-five bags of oak leaves in my main garden beds, improved my irrigation "system," and shoveled half a yard of compost... Been harvesting beets, potatoes, carrots...