Gardening...Meet Your New Master

Sunday, June 1, 2008

It is finally up, the basicfinancial garden along with a mostly self watering system. And it didn't cost me a dime.

Well, technically it did cost money, but something good had to come out of me turning 30 *gasp/cough/weeze*. Although I think I now have some joint pain I wouldn't have had if I had done the work last week.

As I have posted before, I have been planning on turning a dog pen with a concrete slab in our backyard into a garden area.  So with my birthday fundage, The wife and I headed out to Home Depot, and I priced most of the items, and bought the clear plastic to wrap the dog pen.  I wanted to wrap the dog pen for two reasons.  One reason was to keep the wind to a minimum inside the area, and 2 so that when it starts to get cold later this year, I will build an A frame roof to keep the heat in, allowing me to grow a little while longer.

The other big thing I wanted to do was to make it semi self watering, as long as it rained.  That is where the orange bucket, tubing and 20 oz bottles come in. The rain will fill the orange bucket, and will flow down the 1/4" tubing that I connected by drilling holes in the bucket and caulked. The tubes are then connected to rag filled 20oz bottles with 4 slits each in the sides of the bottom halves. I tested this method with the bottles outside of the soil and it does give you a very slow drip. I am banking on the dry soil to suck the water out to balance the moisture pressure. It should work. I had 4 bottles buried, but I cut the slits ine one of them too large, so I now know how to make a lot of mud.

I am practicing the Square Foot Gardening approach, with a few differences. I was not abe to find vermiculite easily, so I used Miracle grow soil, and my box is 8" deep becuase I feel more comfortable with that depth since I am not using the best soil mixture. I also did not use permanent barriers between each square foot. I just used twine. SO I guess really I am using a square foot spacing technique on a garden box that is raised, but still, close enough in my book. The dimensions of my garden ar 2'x8', which gives me 16 plots. Currently 2 are empty, but I will fill them with lettuce seeds within the week.

Here's the money breakdown:

(2) 2"x2'x8' $12  - I used these for the bottom part of my box.
(2) 2"x10"x10' $18  - I had these cut to 8' and 2' pieces for the sides


  • Screws and Nails Free  - I had these laying around
  • Sawhorses $20
    A-frame on left side $5 - I bought this and when I got hom I realized I had lattice from a previous job
  • Right side lattice Free
  • Orange Bucket $5 - This is to gather rain water
  • Tubing $7 - To distribute rain water
  • Plastic liner $12
  • Soil $21 - I don't know why i am using this as it still lets water through, it just makes me feel better about the setup
  • Staple gun / Staples $12  - Ours was missing a piece I couldn't find, and I used it to attach the plastic I am not sure I needed.
  • 4 mil Clear liner $40 - This is used to minimize the wind in the former dog pen, and I can use the rest ot make a roof to grow a little bit longer in the fall and a little bit earlier in the spring
  • Zip Ties $5 - To attach the clear tarp to the fencing
  • 3 Bell peppers $9
  • 2 Melons $6
  • 4 Tomatoes (differnt varieties) $12
  • 2 more tomatoes and jalepenos $4.50
All in all it ended up costing $140 and about 5 hours to get the plastic up and the garden built.  Since I got $175 in birthday money, I came out way ahead.   I feel a little guilty since I bought plants that had already started instead of seeds, but I'll still get good veggies in the end.  I was able to plant on plot with my pepper seeds I got awhle back that sprouted, although they look much more sickly than the other plants, so I don't kow if those will last.  Only time will tell.  Wish me luck!