We received a lovely update from former Fairfield gardeners Andrew and Sarah. They have recently relocated to the West and are currently without community garden or backyard. But that hasn’t stopped them growing things, and they have set up an impressive milk crate system on their balcony. Andrew shared with us the following update and photos. Maybe this is something for other gardeners to try, especially given the changes currently happening to our own spaces:
The crates are lined with landscape fabric to keep the soil in but let the water out. I’ve then filled them using a no-dig lasagne method with cardboard on the bottom followed by alternating layers of lucerne hay, newspaper, organic fertilizer pellets, old potting mix and fermented kitchen scraps from our bokashi bin. I’ve then made and filled holes in the top layer with compost that seeds and seedlings have been planted in. We’re growing broccoli, coriander, parsley, spinach, lettuce, silverbeet and are looking forward to planting out the rest of the crates when it gets warmer! The plants in the pictures are left-over chilli and oregano from our previous soil-filled crates.
The system took a while to figure out but we’re really happy with it. It’s not too heavy or messy, and portable in case we move again in the future.
The idea and inspiration came from here: http://modernfarmer.com/2013/08/meet-tom-colicchios-urban-rooftop-farmer/
The milk crate planter technique came from here: http://www.instructables.com/id/Milk-Crate-Air-Pot-Square-Foot-Urban-Container-G/
Filled using the no dig method from here: https://deepgreenpermaculture.com/diy-instructions/no-dig-gardening/
And planted out using the square foot gardening method, which is perfect for the crates’ dimensions: http://thefoodproject.org/sites/default/files/GrowingGuide2010.pdf
I’m also considering a gravity-fed drip irrigation system for summer!