Since I work so much I spent some time on the web looking at ways to garden that not take a lot of time and would reduce weeding and watering. Since I do not have a tiller at this point in time, the Rain Gutter Grow System I found interesting. It has been three weeks since I started and my first post about it and I must say I am a bit impressed. Even with the crazy storms and over abundance of rain, the garden is thriving. This photo is the first tub of potatoes I planted. There are five seed potatoes in that tube as well as the tub behind it. Those are just now breaking through the dirt as I planted them last weekend.
The tomatoes are really growing. This is just three weeks after planting in the buckets and adding to the gutter system. We have some yellowing of the leaves that I and researching to address.. but overall they are doing well and we have lots of blossoms and beginning tomatoes.
The root system in these buckets is insane. I have two clear buckets and you can see the multitude of roots growing in the buckets. The idea behind the system is a cup in the bottom of the bucket with medium like peat in it that wicks water up and into the soil. That way the plants have a continuous supply of water as they need it.
I ran out of dirt to do an entire tub and this is all that I had left. I added it to this tub sitting in the gutter system. The cup is in the center and then I added the remainder of the dirt on top and forgot about it. Shortly the wicking action brought the water up and moistened the soil. It is not sopping wet or muddy.. instead it is slightly damp. This is what is going on in the full tubs and buckets.
We are also seeing some roots in the gutter. They are growing out of the net cup in the bottom. When we get a day without rain the top inch or so of the buckets does get a little dried out. But the plants are still getting all the water they need from the bottom. I will be mulching the tops of the tomatoes here shortly to reduce the moisture loss. The tomatoes can reduce a full gutter of water by a half in just a days time and since I do not have the float valves hooked up yet I am adding the water every night when I get home from work. And we are not really into the super hot days Texas is know for so I need to get those valves up and operations soon.
The first tub of radishes is halfway to maturity so we started another one. I plan on alternating these tubs with radishes to keep the harvest coming. I do not think one tub will be enough radishes to last me two months.. but it is a good start to see how well they grown and what my needs may be.
With the rapid growth of the tomatoes I need to come up with some trellises quick. Always looking for cheap I think I am going to use PVC. I am looking at a variation of this.. where I am going to use T’s to create some structure. I plan on having it come both sides of the tomatoes. That will cut down some on the row space where I have to move around. I think come next year we will probably change the spacing between rows to allow more work area between.
Not only are we going to change the row spacing next year but also the supports. I bought skinny cinder blocks and they are ok.. but I would much rather the support have a bit wider base. My concern is wind or a larger animal knocking things over. I do like the height they provide as it get them away from the rabbits and have the veggies at a very comfortable height for working on them.
I still have some peppers to grow as well as cukes and the peanuts. I have a friend saving the cat litter buckets for me and I have been getting litter in them myself. I am always on the lookout for cheap containers to grow things in to try in this system. We are growing this system out a little at a time and playing around with what grows well in what in this area. I hope to have some things figured out by next year and a much more productive garden a year from now. This growing system can easily be adapted to have a few veggies on a patio in an apartment or be large enough to feed a large family in some one’s back yard. I really like no turning the soil, no weeding and auto watering. If you put in a good quality soil you get healthy and happy plants. If this sounds interesting I recommend checking out Larry Halls YouTube channel then joining his FaceBook group.