In 2013, we had an old wire and metal pipe greenhouse that was showing its age. We took it down and were planning on taking it to the dump. However, part of our spring garden was peas that love to climb. My wife, Rhonda (the brains of the operation), figured out a way to keep this out of the landfill while putting it back to work.
She took the wire shelves and some old tomato hoops from the green house and created an attractive and stable structure for our peas to wrap themselves around. The structures made it very easy to harvest the peas once they were ready.
There are a lot of books and magazines on gardening in the Pacific Northwest, but save your money – if you plant to start from seed, all of the instructions including when and how to plant for your specific region, are on the back of the packet. This would have saved me some money because I bough about a dozen heirloom tomato seeds anxious to get them going earlier this year but found it was too late. Oh, well. I’ll save them for next year and start them in egg shell starters.
Using the poles from our old green house, we divided our beds up into sections for spinach, beets, onions, kale, and carrots. A common mistake is to plant your crops and then forget to mark them. They all look alike as seedlings and you won’t know what’s what until they are mostly grown. For our spring garden, we simply followed the directions on spacing and number of seeds to plant. We then looked around the yard for more material that would end up in the landfill. We found some old boards from a planter box, broke them up, and then wrote on them with a green wax pencil to identify our different crops.
Now that the seeds are in the garden, make sure to water them well to wake them up. Follow watering instructions for your plants, making sure not over-water, which will drown those new roots reaching down into the soil.
You can also be very strategic about planting certain types of plants in close proximity to one another. Tomatoes and basil do well together. Marigolds planted in your bed near your crops will function as a natural pest repellent and helps gauge the health of your garden. There are many other tips and tricks to planting crops which we’ll cover in the coming weeks.
We’re so passionate about using recycled materials that we started a Kickstarter Campaign, where we are raising funds to bring our very first product, TogetherFarm Blocks™. Made from food safe recycled plastics, it’s an easy way to quickly build a garden bed in a matter of minutes. If you have a small space you can use these to quickly build a custom garden box without tools or carpentry experience. Check them out!
TogetherFarm Blocks – Modular Garden Box System