Urban Homesteading and Self-Reliance, Gardening, Vegetables

Plans for the Garden Barrels

The Garden Barrel’s first year

I have a shocking confession to make:  I have left a potentially productive area of Half-Pint Homestead sit idle for two years.  To my shame, the Garden Barrels have been left empty of vegetables, allowed to sit untended and forlorn in the middle of the lawn, bearing only a crop of wood sorrel (actually quite tasty) and wild violets.  I could tell you that I was concentrating on the animal facilities, or that I just had too much going on in my life, but the truth is; I just didn’t bother to put anything in them.

As far as gardening goes, the Garden Barrel is the least labor-intensive method I know.  You simply pop the plants in the pockets, hook the drip system to the hose, set the timer, and reap the harvest at the appropriate time.  There is an occasional weed that slips easily out of the moist soil.  Slugs don’t bother it and ants can be kept at bay with a little tanglefoot paste spread on the legs. The perfect garden for someone like me who definitely doesn’t have a green thumb!

I have big plans for my Garden Barrels this year.  I am going to move them to a sunnier spot and put each one on a post with a turntable so they can be rotated every other day for the best sun exposure.  The drip system will be redesigned to accommodate the rotation and the worm tubes, which I found more trouble than they were worth, eliminated.  Since I need to empty the barrels and replenish the original potting soil with compost, I am going to experiment with opening the pockets even wider by heating the plastic again and reshaping the pockets with a round pipe rather than the 2×4 I used initially.  This should make for easier planting.

I loved these barrels for growing strawberries  so I will dedicate two Garden Barrels to those delicious, ruby red fruits.  The planters are also wonderful for early spring for salad fixings.  I have harvested peas, beans, zucchini, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, radishes, beets, celery and turnips from these barrels so they are extremely versatile.  They work well for succession planting and, if I am careful about planning, I can have a crop most of the year.

Now….for a nice day to dig post holes…

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