If you want fast results for little effort, then here’s an easy way to start a quick veggie (or herb) garden in a box – one you can make yourself in about 15 minutes. The bonus is you’ll be eating the rewards in just a few weeks for only a minimal investment of time AND money. Sound good?
This is a system I’ve used for years with great success and it’s so easy. Even if you’re a beginner gardener or on a budget and need a thrifty solution, this is it!
Materials you’ll need:
- A table or workbench (I line mine with some newspaper to keep it clean while I’m putting my micro garden together).
- A new or undamaged, clean polystyrene box (Tip: I get mine free from local green grocers or supermarket, but you can try fish mongers or stores that sell fresh fruit and veggies – you’re doing them a favour by repurposing boxes that would otherwise end up in landfill).
The bottom of the box below:
- A suitable quantity of potting mix (I make my own – you can use my easy DIY recipe or a mix you are happy with but I suggest you include suitable soil food like I do).
- Paper towel (about 4 sheets).
- Selection of healthy seedlings (if you choose to grow climbers like peas or beans, you may also need a tepee or support stakes with ties).
- A few handfuls of organic mulch.
- Optional: Shade cloth or exclusion netting (depending on your situation and climate)!
Step 1: Wearing your gloves and mask, line the poly box with a couple of strips of paper towel to cover the drainage holes in the bottom and prevent the potting mix escaping.
Step 2: Tip in sufficient potting mix to sit about 1-2cm below the lip of the box.
Step 3: Using the handle of the trowel make a small hole for each seedling. (Tip: How close you plant depends on the variety – skinny chives can be planted ‘up close and personal’ but leave more room for veggies that like extra ‘personal space’ to mature.) See the spacing example below:
Below: Garden in a box a week later.
Step 4: Pick up the pre-soaked* seedling and gently lower into the hole. (* See Tips below)
Step 5: Repeat until all seedlings are planted and then water in with seaweed/molasses solution.
Step 6: Finally top with a few handfuls of mulch (about 2-3cm deep), leaving about 1-2cm gap around the stem of each seedling.
Celebrate your new garden – add your plant labels!
Tips for a Successful Instant Veggie Garden:
- Use a Moon Calendar to plant at the optimum time for an abundant, fast growing healthy crop.
- Baby Love: Just like you wouldn’t throw a baby into a cot, you need to handle your ‘baby plants’ with care as they move from one ‘bed’ to another.
- Vertical Veggies: Want to grow climbing veggies like peas, beans, tomatoes or cucumber? Easy – add a tepee (get my free instructions on making yours from bamboo stakes for under $1) or portable A-frame trellis to your Instant Veggie Garden.
- Good Looking: Want to make it prettier? Get creative and give the box a coat of paint or choose another container you like better.
- Potting Mix: If you choose to buy a bag of organic potting mix, you’ll probably need around 15-20kg depending on the size of the box you use. Remember to add soil conditioners to feed the plants – I add these to my home made potting mix to save time when I want to start planting my garden.
- Soak or spray your seedlings: To avoid transplant shock, sit your punnet of seedlings in a shallow container for about 15-30 minutes with a strong solution of seaweed (kelp) or add some to a recycled spray bottle and mist the seedling roots before planting (this takes longer though!)
In Part 2, I talk about a variety of plant combinations to grow in these micro gardens for best results. For video instructions on my planting system for seedlings plus a barrow load of tips on organic vegetable growing, check out the Give It A Go DVD.
Related: Micro Gardening; The Benefits of Container Gardening; Getting a Small Kitchen Garden Started; Choose the Healthiest Seedlings; Harvesting Vegetables & Herbs & Tips for Growing a Garden in Pots.
If you don’t want to miss future posts, subscribe to my newsletter at the top of the page (and grab your free eBook) or click on the RSS feed below or to the right. Please share this post on your social networks!
Copyright The Micro Gardener 2010-2012 – http://www.themicrogardener.com. All rights reserved.