I wrote a post that linked to some blogs that used pop bottles as planters...and mentioned that I have used milk gallons as greenhouses and planters. Here is the follow up to share old pics of what I have done. The laptop that had farm pics crashed and I did not save greenhouse pics- so if the pic was not on line- I lost them. These were from my homeschool blog 2007.
Before we bought our farm we rented to get to know the region we had just moved to. We are from the southwest but not from NM so we wanted to get a feel for the area before we purchased a place. These photos are from the rental we lived in while in town. The back yard was trashed and rough so we opted to plant a small patch of grass, lay some paving stones, and make a "secret garden."
This photo is how I gathered water- we have serious water restrictions in the town(Alamogordo) and we were only able to water 1 day a week in 2007. I then began learning water collection etc. We eventually stopped watering our teeny lawn and converted that to a watermelon patch.
Another photo of gathering water from the monsoon. See my lovely paving stones? I loved that grass did grow between them...I watered it using a water spray bottle!
I planted 300 sunflowers...and in this region of town many began to refer to our home as the sunflower house! I just wanted to increase the privacy fence and we love sunflowers!
Here are tomatoes and zucchini...I maximized space by creating garden beds that we made trenches in so we could incorporate flood watering.
Here is one of my potato bucket plants. I love growing potatoes by this method because potatoes are finicky to the southwestern sun, so we move the plants to follow the shade around the house. Btw- this is a GREAT workout!
My photos are out of order so enjoy jumping around with me! These are sunflowers breaking through on my east wall of my yard. The lot was a 1/4 acre lot to include the house, garage, and front desert landscaped front yard- translation, my back yard was small but grand enough to grow a tremendous amount of food!
This is the view that I had from my rental kitchen sink- you can see why the mountains captivate me! Note the center area never grew anything as we did not water. I collected tons of rocks to make walking trails and to out line the garden beds.
Here is the first week of gardening in 2007. As you can see from the previous photo, it was very drab before we began our Secret Garden.
Even after I planted my garden I continued to baby the plants and would cover them at night with my milk gallon green houses. I used skewers to place the tops on...as then I would not crush any small plant...or if the wind would pick up the top would stay on.
Here are some green houses with the lids in back. During warm sunny hours I took the lids off, and then at night I would cover them. Yes that is an old ironing board. I am a bit eccentric and like how it looks with plants on it!
Here is a view of more milk gallon green houses. The milk cans(hmm sense a theme?) hold up the board with the plants on it. I grew so much it would be hard to list. If you look at the yard we grew you can note it was even larger than the first photos. We slowly reduced its size as the season went on so we could maximize our water allotments. As a former Ohio girl I just love walking barefoot. In NM for my feet it is somewhat hard on my soles. My kids are used to this region and do not miss a grassy yard...oh it is so funny how opposite our memories are!!
Check out my blooming garden! Pumpkin bed in front, peas, green beans, and broccoli in the middle, and tomatoes and zucchini in the rear. The sunflowers follow the fencing. The bucket gardens were along the paths and well everywhere.
This photo shows both my bucket garden method, and the greenhouse method. I grew herbs, potatoes, marigolds, and cucumbers in this years bucket garden...but I have grown everything in the 5 gallon buckets. In my city-fied days I spray painted the buckets to have some aesthetic beauty...but since moving to the farm...I find the beauty in the plant and no longer use the facade. Perhaps when we can slow down from projects I may begin this again.
Close up of the green houses. Usually I stored the tops behind the container, unless it became too windy.
As you can see many things can be taken from this post. Water conservation is important- not because I am a green crowd fanatic- no water conservation is important as every year in nearly every region of the world there is a drought of sorts. To learn how to collect rainwater or implement grey water you can be prepared for anything.
In addition to water conservation, one can see that living on a farm or in the sticks is not a requirement to gardening and prepping. To be honest many neighbors were amazed at what we did, and almost all have begun doing the same thing in their small spaces. While we were seeking our humble farm- I still was enacting my plans. We must not put off plans but live and change as we go. Do not wait...start today.
One can also learn that container gardening need not be store bought-recycle containers. We had a friend save milk gallons for us(and I did too). The fast food restaurants utilize many containers that are tossed daily. We have a fast food place in town still gather buckets for us. We use them for planting, animals, and because they are food grade I store beans, flour, and sugar in them.
Please remember that prepping is not something to do as a fad. It is a wonderful amazing way to live and it is a present tense word...so be a continuous prepper- live it, do it and enjoy it. I must confess that it has made all the difference in my life!
(c) Double Nickel Farm
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