During these difficult times due to the difficulty of getting fresh food due to the Coronavirus more and more people are taking a leaf out of Richard Briers & Felicity Kendal’s 70’s comedy The Good Life (watch episodes on youtube)
A lot has changed since the 70’s with the biggest change being the lack of space to be able to grow your own, the lack of access to allotments as well as the costs of buying all the materials and the premium of space as one of the biggest problems.
Here are some tips on how to grow your own vegetables and herbs in your garden space at virtually zero cost upcycling old waste items like plastic bottles.
Raised vegetable trough planter
The first example here is a simple idea to build a raised vegetable trough planter. This was entirely created using old wood I had left over in the garden that I was able to make without leaving the house during my home isolation with the family.
In my case I had a dead spot on the side of an extension in the garden that was perfect for creating a little vegetable and herb garden in taking up very little space. I built a solution that allowed me to continue to use the space without limiting access but utilising the walls either side of the walk way.
Materials: Old loft joists, left over wooden posts, left over battens, old unwanted glass shelves & some screws
3 old loft joists that I cut on my bench saw lengthwise in half, the longest length joist determined the length of the trough. I cut a few post ends into 4 equal parts to bake up the 6 internal corner and centre supports, then cut posts to size to make the legs. I had to use different length posts of the legs as it’s on a slope.
An important consideration is how to prevent all those pesky slugs just eating your fresh herbs and plants. So I created the width of the planter around some old glass shelves I had in the garage and fixed the battens on top of the trough with a tight fit around the glass, making sure the middle support posts were level so you can just lift up the glass like a lid to water your plants and then close the glass lid making it totally safe from slugs as well as creating a little green house effect to help germinate and grow your plants.
All in all this project was totally free as I created everything using just the materials I had available in the garden.
Vertical Pallet Planters:
I picked up these pallets free from a building site around the corner where I live by asking the builders if I would have them for nothing. I then found the style of vertical pallet planter design and style that I liked and would work with the pallets I had. Just Google “vertical pallet planters” in Youtube to find lots of good examples on how to make yours.
Materials: Pallets, weed membrane, old decking curved balustrade, screws and nails.
In this example again all the materials I needed to create these to planters that I’ve positioned so the top planter received the most sunlight and the one below received the over spill of water to preserve water and save time. As I also had some old balustrade I used that to give these a little more of aesthetic effect I liked.
So now I needed to sow some seeds and fill the trough with the right compost mix to grow my plants.
Instead of using unsustainable peat I used :
Seed Growing Mixture:
1 part : Coco Coir Bricks 8L Hydroponic Soil Growing Media £10 off eBay including delivery.
1 part : PLANT iT Perlite 10L Bag Propagation Cuttings Potting Hydroponics.
1 part : Garden compost i already had.
When you get the Coco brick, just put it into a bucket of water around half the height of the brick and after 5 minutes it swells up to around 3 times the original size. This keeps the moisture moist and provides the stability needed. Then just mix 1 third of each into a container and you have your cheaper growing mixture that your seeds will love due to the extra drainage provided by the perlite.
Seed Growing Containers:
Here I used a mixture of old plastic food containers drilling a few holes under each carefully and using the lids as saucers to stop water overflowing. I used old milk bottles again making holes on one side and cutting out the other side carefully with a sharp blade and I also used old mineral water bottles, just cutting off the bottom sections and again drilling holes at the bottom for drainage. I also had a few seedling trays and bits left over that I re-purposed.
I did purchase some of these small Garden growing zip up systems from Lidl that were only around £20 that also come with a plastic zip-up cover to help keep in warmth and keep away slugs.
Hope this helps to demonstrate how you can create and grow your own herbs and vegetables in the smallest of spaces with a very small budget.
Greenwich does have some great local projects like Maryon Park Community Garden, the Good Food in Greenwich Network and you can also get tips from the RHS.
Perhaps if we can get enough local to start producing vegetables from home we could create a Charlton Community Vegetable & Herb network. With a little coordination we could all grow a balance of produce and share the crops in exchange to become more self-sufficient and get all the other benefits of community and well being associated with growing stuff 🙂
View and download lots of garden planters and garden furniture totally free from GardenPlansFree
If you don’t have the skills or desire to make any of these yourself, get in contact with us as we can commission any of these for you for minimal costs.
We can also help with any Art Commissions or any other projects.