Container Gardening

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by newcroft, Mar 5, 2008.

  1. newcroft

    newcroft Junior Member

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    I really like the idea of container gardening for areas around established native trees. I hope to do this over a fairly broad area of the backyard to increase food productivity.

    Eg see here; https://www.arts4all.com/elca/

    But using kiddies wading pools looks pretty expensive. Anyone else got ideas or tried this?
     
  2. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    I'm looking at doing some container gardening because I live on sand. Old baths are the things I'm thinking through at the moment (should I sink them into the ground or not, will they get too hot, that sort of thing). Old metal baths here are pretty cheap, say $10 each.

    I get the initiative in using something like a paddling pool, but I do have a problem with gardening in something that is not good for the earth i.e. plastic that will degrade and be unusable - not sure how long a paddling pool would last with soil and roots in it. Although it makes more sense in a city. I won't use old tyres because of the toxicity. I like the website though, interesting.
     
  3. JoanVL

    JoanVL Junior Member

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    I just use the usual poystyrene boxes, poked with holes and stood on bricks. I fill them with a mixture of home made compost and dried grass cuttings, water them with a weak liquid manure mix (from soaked chook poo), and grow both seedlings for transplanting, and herbs. My brahmi seems to love containers, for example, and my silverbeet seeds just shot up, and are now transplanted.

    My back garden has a big concrete slab on it, put there by the previous occupiers, and without my boxes on it the space would be wasted.
     
  4. newcroft

    newcroft Junior Member

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    Pebble, you've got a good deal on the baths there. Worth trying out.

    I'm concerned about plastic degradation too, especially with degradation from sun exposure. But I wonder if there are types of plastic lining that could go underneath that would be OK. I was thinking an option might be to extend my strawbale garden, but have a thick plastic lining underneath. After all, decent plastic pots are OK aren't they?

    Tyres are definitely out!

    Polystyrene boxes are commonly used, but again I wonder about contamination there too. Is that an issue?
     
  5. trippytoads

    trippytoads Junior Member

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    Container Gardening

    I live in a city where the dirt hides decades of trash. Historically when the town was growing into a city they didn't have a garbage collection system setup for the outskirts. The residents just buried their waste and ruined the soil for generations. There's no way I would eat food from urban soil like this. Last week I broke through a mercury thermometer just a few inches under the topsoil. Container gardening seems to be the only solution.

    I've been making containers from bamboo fencing that I have fashioned into tubes that stand on end. A row of these make a solid wall. My plants grow from the opening at the top and the tubes or columns allow me to build short walls for privacy, wind screens, or other aesthetic uses. Originally I was going to only use this method for potatoes because I can just break open the column at the end of the season. After building a short wall to separate off a part of my yard for bikes, gardening equipment, water harvester, and other stuff I decided this worked so well that I'll continue the rest of the back yard with these structures.
     
  6. newcroft

    newcroft Junior Member

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    Nice first post Trippy! Welcome to the forum.

    Got any pictures?
     
  7. ppp

    ppp Junior Member

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    far out trippytoads. Honestly, I think I would just leave. A thermometer! what else?

    Any chance you can put two metres of clean clay ontop of your entire block and start again? I am serious... ok, what about 1 metre?
     
  8. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    The problem with any kind of plastic is what do you do with it once it's no longer functional. With the baths I'd be reasonably happy to let them rust away (not sure about the paint or enamel though).

    I did buy a large plastic planter a while back, secondhand, that I should get quite a few years from. So it's not black and white, but I'm very reluctant to buy new plastic now.
     
  9. trippytoads

    trippytoads Junior Member

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    Trust me there would be nothing That I would like better than to either have a place that isn't scarred from generations of consumption. Over the last year I've pulled out of this ground an amazing assortment of trash. Everything from boots, tin cans, plumbing fixtures, electrical wire ( which is a bit of a scare because when you first hit it with a shovel you're not sure if both ends are cut or if they are connected to something), toys, I'm sure every consumable waste is under that soil.

    Putting new dirt down isn't really an option for several reasons and money would be the first. I have thought about it and logistically is would work. I don't plan on being at this location for long but I would like to reintroduce a roll of a garden to this city house.
     
  10. milifestyle

    milifestyle New Member

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    When used correctly i wouldn't say Polystyrene is a bad choice. Its often used in commercial potting mixes in place of (or in addition to) coarse sand to aid drainage and make the mix light and "fluffy".

    I made a container garden once by half burying poly boxes in the ground and covering them entirely with hessian (to prevent contamination if the polystyrene broke).

    I filled the polystyrene boxes with layers of lawn clippings and grass hay and threw in heaps of old potatoes. The crop was beyond what i expected.
     
  11. ColinJEly

    ColinJEly Junior Member

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    Container Gardening

    Hello Newcroft

    I do a lot of my gardening in good old plastic pots for two reasons; I am only renting and may want to leave and take my garden with me one day, and I have a stupid dog that delights in digging in my vege patch! :(

    I saw someone once down on the coast who dug 'pots' in their sand! Just fill the holes with good copost/organic matter and plant in them

    Cheers

    Col
     
  12. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Location:
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    Polystyrene toxicty:

    https://www.ejnet.org/plastics/polystyrene/health.html


    There are places in the US starting to ban polystyrene because once it's made you simply can't get rid of it. Councils hate the stuff.

    I guess if you judge the risk of toxicity low and use secondhand polystyrene then using in for containers is useful in a permie sense. But new polystyrene is a pollutant. Even old polystyrene is horrible to deal with because it breaks into such small pieces and once in the ground you'd never get it all out again.

    It's very commendable Eric that you covered yours :) , although surely there are easier ways to garden :wink:
     
  13. milifestyle

    milifestyle New Member

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    Getting rid of the stuff in a way that does not harm the environment is more important. Thats why i use it as containers.

    From my understanding there are 2 times styrene is toxic... 1. When it is manufactured and 2. When it gets to extreme temperatures i.e. melts causing gas (smoke) etc. I am not aware of any leaching (toxicity) when its in its finished state.

    I would be interested in finding out if my facts are wrong. Please advise.

    ... mind you I am NOT advocating the use of anything toxic, just looking at ways to get rid of the product to avoid environmental contamination.

    If we could stop its manufacture... all the better!
     
  14. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    I have mixed feelings about reusing stupid technology to protect the environment. One the one hand you're right, it's good to find another use for styrene other than the landfill. But on the other hand, it kind of obscures the need to just stop making the stuff fullstop. eg when recycle centres encourage second use for the stuff rather than lobbying first users to use something else.

    It is heartening to see bans coming in though.

    I'm not sure about leaching. I was thinking more about when it breaks down into little pieces and gets into the food chain.
     
  15. greenmachine

    greenmachine Junior Member

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    Re: Container Gardening

    I recently lived in an area with many Eucalypt trees that would invade my vegie garden with their roots. It was a standard four sleeper square raised garden. what I did was dig the dirt out lay down some heavy black plastic sheet flat on the ground placed the sleepers back on top and then placed the dirt on that. It worked out well. I made sure the plastic stuck out about 5 cm from under the sleepers so I could see if any roots tried to get in. This also let any excess water drain out .
     
  16. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Re: Container Gardening

    I'll amend what I said about being happy to let baths rust into the land. Enameled baths apparently have lead in them, or some of them do at least. I'll do a lead test on any baths I get now.
     
  17. newcroft

    newcroft Junior Member

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    Re: Container Gardening

    I've been thinking using black sheeting as well (builders plastic), and came across this discussion from the backyardaquaponics forum. It has some interesting info about using various types of plastics. https://backyardaquaponics.com/forum/vie ... sc&start=0
     
  18. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Re: Container Gardening

    Cool, thanks newcroft.
     
  19. newcroft

    newcroft Junior Member

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    Re: Container Gardening

    Beyond Zero Emissions has an excellent talk with John Hermans discussing 'Drought Proof Beds'.

    The concept is similar to container gardening, except that there is a layer of small rocks over the lower plastic sheet for water to flow through, above that there's a permeable membrane for the soil to sit on. The water is fed through a pipe down to the rock layer, spreads out across the rocks, touches the soil, is 'wicked' up to the soil and plants above. Requires very little water.

    Anyway, have a listen;
    https://podcast.beyondzeroemissions.org/index.php?id=49

    I'd still like to know more about plastic breakdown and toxicity before preceding further though - or am I being paranoid? :?
     
  20. newcroft

    newcroft Junior Member

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    Re: Container Gardening

    Apparently not! I was listening to Tony Delroy (ABC radio tonight) with Author Rick Smith and the tests he did on his body consuming 'ordinary' household products in the recommended manner, and measuring blood levels.

    https://www.penguin.com.au/lookinside/sp ... 0702237645

    At some point I'll get around to downloading the podcast of tonights broadcast (Thurs 12 Nov) and mention what he said specifically about certain types of plastics.

    https://www.abc.net.au/nightlife/
     

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