POSTED BY: Stefanie LaSalle
PLANTS NEED WATER. Lots of it. Last year, one of the things that limited my garden was the lack of an easily accessible water source. There is no outdoor hose or hose connection at our apartment, so all the water has to be lugged down from the second floor.
Container gardens dry out faster than traditional gardens because there is less soil to store water for when the plants are thirsty.
And sometimes I get lazy in the morning and just can't make another trip upstairs.
Needless to say, you get what you give, and vegetable plants that are thirsty produce less food than those that are properly hydrated.
I did a lot of research over the winter. Luckily container gardens (usually discussed along with "urban gardening") are very popular and there are a lot of resources. I specifically looked for ways to help with my water problem that didn't require a lot of tools (which I didn't have) or money (which I didn't want to spend). The best project I found was in the book The Vegetable Gardener's Container Bible. I first took it out from the library, and then I got a copy from Rob's brother as a Christmas present. You can also see the step-by-step instructions here.
The basic idea is you use the cover of a storage container to create a false bottom, under which is a sizable reservoir that you fill with water. This water is wicked up through PVC pipes that are tightly packed with dirt, and the plant's roots draw the water up through the potting mix when it needs a drink.
Several gallons of water can be stored in the reservoir at a time, and only need to be topped off as needed. MUCH easier than carrying 6-8 gallons down the stairs every single morning.
Fast-dry caulk keeps the PVC pipes in place.
This picture was taken right after I transplanted everything. Look at how LITTLE everything is! Look at the tub on the left...
This is what it looked like only two weeks after transplanting! Plant-splosion!
So far, I'm very happy with my two containers. If all goes well, I will probably make two more next year. I still have caulk, and all I would need are the storage bins ($5 each at Target) and more potting mix.
GARDENING IS ADDICTING. Hopefully I get a couple of tomatoes and a zucchini out of all this!