For being a rainy Saturday, yesterday turned out pretty sweet. It started when I went to look at a motorcycle. I can’t really explain why I went or what’s up since it doesn’t make much sense to anyone- especially the guy who was showing it. He made eye contact with me maybe three times and talked to my dad the rest of the time. Guess I asked for that when I signed up for girl parts.
Things really got fun though when I went to the Clintonville Farmer’s Market. There were so many gorgeous plants there. I got super excited about it and bought some. Even though the real reason I was there was to buy some bread from some super cool people. That bread is freaking delicious! Buy some bread!!
Although I was seduced by the siren song of some tomato plants. Then I remembered, didn’t I kill a hosta last year? One of the heartiest plants imaginable, dead and withered outside my door. I knew that if this was going to even fake happen I needed to enlist the help of my mother-in-law.
This lady knows how to garden. She got to thinking and right away came up with one of the most genius solutions I’ve heard to my gardening wants and needs: a portable garden. That’s when Operation Market Garden commenced:
We live in an apartment and while they allow and encourage us to make good use of our gardening space, the soil has too much clay in it. She said that instead of putting a bunch of time and effort into soil that you can’t take with you, make something you can take with you. So here’s how we made our impromptu portable garden:
1) We got an under the bed storage container and drilled holes in the bottom for drainage. Since we were going to be transporting it, I taped over the holes with duct tape. Also, since we didn’t want the holes to just leak out stuff, we covered them with pieces of bark, so water could drain through but the soil and gravel would stay in.
2) We filled the bottom with pea gravel, which was also to help in the draining process. Then put top soil on it.
3) Plant time! I planted my two tomato plants. I asked the guy for the heartiest and most stalwart of plants that he had which he claimed was the Mexico tomato. That thing wilted two seconds after I touched it so I’m a little worried. He also gave me one called a ‘Green Zebra’ which he totally had a crush on since he couldn’t stop gushing about it. I guess it never turns red- sure fine, I don’t care, I’m just glad it’s still standing up. Then Becky gave me some basil and impatients. She told me I needed to plant some marigolds to keep the bugs away and she also gave me some geraniums… mostly so my box won’t look so sad and defeated if half the stuff dies in it.
4) We layered on the straw just to make sure the stuff doesn’t freeze. I’ve never done the straw thing before but it seems like a totally cool idea. Then Becky reminded me that tomatoes need to be staked. I joked that we should make a bridge and bring the two plants together to stop adversity but she got excited and said that she’d seen how to make a tomato bridge on some home and garden show so she was excited to try it out. Hence the tripod thing.
5) I was already feeling some protective instincts toward my baby plants. Which brought my thinking to the rabbits I’ve seen around. So she brought in a whole bunch of chicken wire they just happened to have hanging around and the whole family worked together to fashion that cute little fence. At one point John’s dad said that a rabbit could easily jump into my little box and have its way. I realized then that if a rabbit is willing enough to jump into my fenced box, I’m going to take one for team rabbit.
Some other notes: we propped it up on 2×4′s so that all of that work we put into the drainage will come to fruition. It didn’t make sense to drill holes and put in gravel just to sit it down on the ground and let the water get backed up. Also, there were three dudes who are into scouting and they all balked at me when I went to tie those tubes together. In the end John tied it up but even he started judging himself and muttering about not having enough ‘fraps’. Scouting dudes are weird.
I hope this works! I was just getting tired of feeling jealous over other peoples kick ass gardens. Now I have one of my own and I can even take it with me when I move!