Out of Space Farming (finding garden space in unusual places)

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We need a bigger garden in the next house!  This is always our mantra.  The next house will indeed have a bigger garden and I will inevitably run out of space.  We have already begun saying it again.  This quarter acre garden is the largest we have had and succeeded at but the drive to farm and garden and grow more veggies and succeed at the farmer’s market and at filling the root cellar leaves me looking for nooks and crannies of dirt.  I need more space!  Our lease doesn’t run out for another garden season or two so what is a farmgirl to do?  Find space.

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A palm reader once told me that I would be farming in pots.  Yeaaah, sure.  Pots of farm vegetables are reserved for the day our kids stick us in an apartment.  Pots of vegetables are for when you don’t have a yard to tear up.  And pots are expensive!  I don’t want to go out and buy all those pretty ceramic pots.  They would break in the first hail storm anyway.  (You can see my wheels turning here, can’t you?)  What about five gallon buckets?  I could put them between the rows of the garden!  I could line them up the driveway!  I could fill the porch with them!  So, off to Walmart we went to get five gallon buckets.  I needed over two hundred dollars worth.  Yikes.

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I wrote on our website and on our Facebook page our wish list for the farm including five gallon buckets.  Two different folks wrote back that we should check the bakeries at the local grocery stores.  That seemed odd, but the frostings and other products come in those buckets and they just throw them away.  (Read the ingredients on those suckers and never buy a cake or donut again.) So, back to Walmart we went and scored a few buckets.  Every time Doug thinks about it, he pops by the bakery and gets me more buckets.

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I have nine buckets of peas going next to the house and they are coming up wonderfully.  If an impending hail storm were to come, I could easily move the buckets to the covered porch.  Twenty seven tomato plants and ten peppers will hop into buckets of potting soil as well.  Okra, green beans, pinto beans, and more will find their way in a cushy bucket to grow.  They will line the house and wherever I can sneak them in.

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The other place I found was this patch of driveway.  It is a hill of sand and ants.  It has been overlooked long enough!  I will plant medicinal herbs there.  I will dig a hole, put some garden soil in it, then drop the plant in.  I plan on this being a spiral design down the little hill with thick hay in between the plants.  (Speaking of which, the hay was free too.  It was sitting at the feed store, moldy and unwanted.)

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One could also use a children’s swimming pool with a few holes drilled in the bottom filled with potting soil.  It could easily fit in about any size yard.  Most any large container or few feet of overlooked ground can hold vegetables and fruits.

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Anyone can grow vegetables.  A south facing window can provide all the salad fixings one would need.  We new farmers just need to look at space with new eyes.

8 thoughts on “Out of Space Farming (finding garden space in unusual places)

  1. There is a guy on Craigslist who gives away tires that have been cut down to make raised beds. I got 6 from him. He is east of Fountain. (look in Colorado Springs Free ads)

  2. I worry about possible leaching from plastic into food grown in plastic pots. I avoid plastic and wolmanized wood in my garden for the same reasons, chemicals transferring into the food we are eating….(Think of BPA in baby bottles and cups) Do you know something I do not know?

    1. The BPA is indeed an issue and some food grade buckets contain it. However, with that being said, any container that I chose to use (particularly free ones) will have their own potential toxins. In fact, the city water I use to water it may have contaminates, as well as the soil, the proximity to traffic, and any number of issues. We used to be very particular about toxins and tried in vein to eliminate and exclude any possible endocrine disrupters and poisons. It was exhausting. I have to pick my battles. I farm organically, I use organic seeds, I provide an oasis for beneficial insects and birds. So, is there a possibility that the BPA will be present, then will get into the soil, and then into the plants? I suppose so, but I will pray that the food grown will be blessed and healthy for those who eat it.

  3. I’m expanding our garden this year as well. I hesitate to expand too much since we hope to move to a much larger piece of property in the next 1 – 2 years, but I have so much I want to plant and we do have the room. If we’re still no closer to moving this time next year, I’ll expand again I’m sure.

    1. Since there is a good possibility that we are moving next year, it made sense for us to do a lot in pots. The perennials can be loaded up and moved to the new house!

      1. I’m using pots for my herbs this year. Fortunately, I have many that aren’t being used, so no need to purchase any and it is nice that they can be moved with us.

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