Everybody likes fresh veggies, right? Tell me I’m not wrong on this. I mean, I’m a bit overweight, but meat and potatoes just don’t cut it by themselves.
I grew up in the country, so living in the city the past 8 years has been a major change of scene. I have enjoyed it, but I did miss the garden at my Grandparents’ house where I used to live. I used to help them quite a bit with it, and have a slightly green thumb myself, if I dare say so. Unfortunately, when you live in rented apartments there’s not much you can grow other than maybe some herbs on the windowsill.
Fortunately I just moved into a townhouse with my girlfriend. We’ve got a nice little ‘patio’ concrete slab outside sliding glass doors in the back. It’s small, but the thought occurred that I could put some planters there. Grandpa always kept his picky vegetables in cut-in-half 55 gallon drums, so it made sense we could put some barrels or buckets out there and do a little growing.
Grandma instructed me that a lot will grow in a simple 5-gallon bucket. You can find these used and thrown out all day long, which makes this a recycling job as well. All you need to do is use half plain dirt from a clean place out in the country, and about half potting soil. Mix it up in your bucket or keep the potting soil mostly on top. You’ll also need to put drain holes in the bottom of the bucket. About 20 1/4th inch holes scattered around the bottom will do. Keep your soil damp but not soggy. If it gets dusty on top it’s too dry, and if your veggie’s leaves get wilted, it’s too wet. In a warm, humid climate like Kentucky, our buckets will probably need about a quart of water 2 or 3 times a week. In drier climates like the southwest, shoot for a quart every day or two.
So, what can you plant in there? Tomatoes work great. Peppers, cucumbers, and zucchini will grow well. You could squeeze 2 to 4 carrots into a 5-gallon bucket, but you’ll have a low yield. These are also great for herbs. If you need something a little bigger than 5 gallons, but still cheap, you can cut the height of an outdoor plastic trash can. Just keep a lot of holes in the bottom for drainage.
What are we growing? We’re starting out with a tomato plant, and a yellow Bell pepper plant. We would have preferred orange, but Grandma actually surprised us on our last visit to their place by starting these for us. We’re going to see how they do, and keep the blog posted.
Happy Urban Gardening!
Our tomato and pepper plant the day we got them home. It’s only been a week and they’re already bigger and still looking healthy.