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IIB Urban Garden 2010

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posted on Apr, 28 2010 @ 05:27 PM
Here goes some fresh photos from my year long effort. Been doing all this for just over a solid year now. This is all actually at my work. 'Thanks' to the economic situation I'm in effect the last regular employee, so I get a sort of 'free reign' around the shop, but my project here got me thinking: it may be possible for many others out there whom live in apartments etc, who cant grow food at their homes, to get together at their workplaces to grow a plot on any unused earth on the company property.

I suggest people try to experiment with growing things now, even if you dont intend to go all out yet, as there are many lessons to be learned via trial and error that you would want some experience with ahead of time (i.e. "preparedness").

Sector A


Bean types:
Pinto, Black, Dragon Tongue, Gold Rush, Contender, Golden Wax, Royal Burgandy, Adzuki, Yard Long, Lablab, others


Squashie Types:
Straight neck, crook neck, zucchini, acorn, spaghetti, calabash, "winter squash" (Granny Warrior heirloom seeds),
Straight 8 Cucumber, Kiwano (horny) melon, GIANT cantelope, sweet baby watermelon, Winter Melon (asian), bitter gourd (karela),

Notes: I have many more types of cucumber seeds, but you can only grow one type per season due to cross-pollination. Luckily in FL, we get 2 seperate 'warm weather plant' grow seasons.


These images show most of them. I'll spare you all from trying to list each type. Currently there are 23 different types of tomatoes, and about 60 different peppers. Just about every pot is a different variety, except the strip on the outer edge are new okra seedlings being about all you can plant this time of year.

The tomatoes are pretty much all growing at the same rate, but the peppers are at all different stages:
Being true perennials, I plant peppers in waves as I have time and dirt. You might be able to tell from the pics that everything in this section is stacked on pallets. During the winter I was able to forklift the peppers into the warehouse during cold nights and had peppers all winter. What sucked was I got real busy during Jan-Feb and leaf mould dropped most of my leaves by March. When ever your peppers get funky you just chop most of the branches and leaves down near the soil (not all the way down!) and they regenerate back even better & bushier about 90% of the time (but it takes them a few weeks to really get going again). Another mishap was during my first planting wave in Feb. the soil mix I had available at the time ended up being not so good for the peppers. Was too sandy but I figured they would go for it. Ended up having to scoop as much out as I could (see next paragraph) and replant once I got a choice soil mix a few weeks ago. Argh.

Companion Planting: Note the 'extra' plants growing in those pots. In pretty much all of the pots (especially in this section) I plant garlic, green onions and marigolds. All 3 repell pest insects, and inject these chemicals into the soil. So I plant all 3, although the marigolds I intend to remove once I get seeds out of each plant. The pesticides stay in the soil after the plants die. The green onions can be topped off over and over again once they're big enough to be worth bothering with (just dont uproot the bulb!). And if you intend to make organic solutions for pest/fungus problems (and cook tasty food) you cant have too much onions/garlic around. With bigger pots than those pictured you could have a different type of bulb oinions in each pot.

The white 'risers' are 1/2" PVC. I decided that 8' tall posts for the tomatoes is superior to "cages", and 18+ cages is getting up into $100 territory for less quality. Each pipe was only $.88, and the cable would have been cheaper had I not bought stainless steel. I think the whole thing cost maybe $35-40.
Here is how its attached:

Cable clamps, brackets are 2x4" WOODGLUED and screwed together, mounted with TAPCON's, zip ties snug on each side of the pipe after lining up "plumb" with a level. Pipes are just shoved thru the dirt into the bottoms of the pots. Pre-drilled holes about every 8" down each pipe to then loosely tie the tomatoes to with zipties. If you've never grown tomatoes be sure to read about how to properly prune them!

Irrigaton system:

275 gallon water "tote" tank ($60 on Craigslist) hooked into the gutter (about $5).

1 1/4" ball valve drain, a regular 'spigot' type faucet, and a drip line filter. I have 100% of Sector A run off drip line from the gravity fed tote tank. At the other end of the line I have the option to tie it into the city water hookup, but havent had to so far.
The ball valve drain literally fills an entire 1 gallon hand watering can in 5 seconds flat. This system is high volume low pressure, where city water would be high pressure low volume. None of my city water hookups could ever hope to fill 1 gallon in 5 seconds, but the gravity tank cant push uphill.

Sector B
This sector includes "The Wall" and the loading dock.

The Wall

The wall is a 60' block wall that is roughly the same height as the loading dock (about 4.5' over the pavement). Actually, the wall is vastly longer than 60', but it just so happened that this section ideally wasn't filled in with mortar. So I filled the cells about half way up with crushed up junk styrofoam last year, and added compost and I've been growing in the 80 different cells ever since.

Note: Last year I bought a cheap 'spongy' 'foamy' soaker hose to run along the wall. after a few days it started blowing leaks and letting water everywhere. It became the 'wall of neglect' for a better past of last year as a result being a real pain to water it by hand. Learned some plants that can endure extreme odds in teh process. Now I have a green vinyl flat hose with the little tiny holes in it pointed down, and everything is great!

The Loading Dock:
This is harder to show in one shot than Sector A.

This is where I've been growing my various greens and other oddities that dont fit into Sector A so well. The tall nappy looking stuff is what lettuce or other greens looks like when you let them "bolt" to seed. I have 12 different types of lettuce seeds, so I start those big pots every couple weeks with about 6 different types each, and then I have a constant flow of of fresh tender leaves. I never uproot or chop them down, I just pick leaves at random from them as I wish and then eventually they go to seed. I do the same thing with my array of other greens, and things like radishes carrots etc.

The small pots along the wall are mostly Goji berries. Have about 20 of them. Need to plant more...

This is my Sector B rain tank. But due to the height of the loading dock I'm much harder pressed to tie it directly to irrigation. After a year a couple of the pallets I've elevated it with are smooshing, and you can see where the height of the outlet pipe is now higher than the tank outlet. To fix it I'm going to have to drain about 275 gallons from it first!

Despite the 'infrastructure I've built up, you'd be suprised on how small of a budget I've built this all up over the past year. The outlet manifolds from the tote tanks, and the drip irrigation is where things got pricey over the past year. NOTE: If you intend a garden this big you had best implement some type of irrgation or else forget about it.

On another thought, if you're an avid gardener central Florida is the place to be. Grow time is year round, just not for all things.

The pots I got all for FREE from a landscaper. Landscapers go thru pots constantly and either throw them away or GIVE them back to the landscape supply.


I finally got my soil loaded with a prime mix into thsi large crating I beefed up. Now I can forklift the dirt around, and it mixes better this way. A big pile of dirt on pavement sucks when it rains.

[edit on 28-4-2010 by IgnoranceIsntBlisss]

posted on Apr, 28 2010 @ 05:39 PM
What a fabulous piece of work and a complete inspiration...thank you so much! I will be reading for hours.
Starred and flagged.

posted on Apr, 28 2010 @ 09:47 PM
reply to post by caitlinfae

Hey thanks! I didn't really expect to get any flags for a 'show off' thread

Here some more detailed shots:

Lemon Grass (good for cooking, and mosquito repellant):

Dragon Tongue beans:

Royal Burgandy beans:

Golden Wax beans:

With beans and peas, and many other things, I'll plant 12 or so of the same type in one big pot. This works better than when I tried growing them each in their own 12" pot. They support each other and the megapot is far deeper than a 12".

In those 'panoramic' views almost literally every pot has a different type of -whatever-.

Napa Cabbage:

Chives, Garlic Chives, Leeks & Chinese Leek Flowers:


These were a nice 'bush' until recently. Now they're at the end of their cycle. Each lentil seeds is seperate in a little paper thin pod. Soon the remaining top will be dried out and ready for harvest. Seeing how small lentils are I always assumed they'd be a major pain to 'shuck'. BUt now it appears as all I'll have to do is shake the mass real good and have the lentils drop out into something. Cool weather crop, been growing since last fall.

Swiss Chard, multicolors. Been growing since last fall:

This tough little swiss chard is literally a year old... still no seeds. It's been thru hell: both the scortching FL summer, and winter, thru all sorts of neglect, weeds, and related perils of the long stretch where I had no irrigation on that tedious to hand water wall.

Goji Berry:

These grow long and tall, single stem, and eventually lay down from being too long. Now this and some of the smaller ones are starting to bush out from the base with multiple stems.

"Purple Beauty" Pepper:
This is cool with fresh leaves starting off dark purple and then getting green highlights. Purple flowers (most peppers are always white). The peppers are that dark color until right before the end the turn a more orange-red. I'm letting some pictured of those fully mature to save the best seeds, before I start having all the other flower and risk cross-pollination.

Soon I'll have tons of different peppers flowering at the same time and I'm hoping theres a way to build a screen netting over to keep the bees from cross-pollinating, to save some of my more exotic seeds.

Marigold Pesticide:

I started placing clumps of fresh marigold folliage under the drip lines, in the pots that dont have marigold growing in them, figuring the pesticide will leech out into the soil. All my marigolds are getting big enough that I'm able to rip off clumps fromt eh plants (need to anyways) and scatter the remains in othe rpots. But today it seemed even better to put them right in the drip outlets.


These are a nice, tough plant. Read about containing them if you intend to plant them in your yard, in the ground. Just get a root from the grocery and chop it into sections. I havent harvested any root yet. Instead I just rip leaves from the thing to put on sandwiches, burgers, etc. The leaves are much more mild than the root. Cant buy these greens at any store I've been to!


AKA Malanga. One of my favorite plants. Malanga is actually a different genus of this 'elephant ear' plant. The leaves and bulb-like roots are edible. Popular with Latino's, in all the markets in FL. This cluster of plants wa s annihilated from the frost, but has sprung back even better than last year. I see smaller ones growing in dicthes etc all around FL, and I know where monsters with 7' leaves grow wild.


Straightneck squash:

[edit on 28-4-2010 by IgnoranceIsntBlisss]

posted on Apr, 29 2010 @ 01:54 AM
Thank you IIB for presenting this"Bragging" rights thread and your setup is awesome.

You deserve the flags and stars

I have a few questions though:

Why did you choose containers over raised beds of some sorts ?

Do you PH test your soil in each pot or do you just make a batch and go from there?

Do you try and make the right PH and soil type for each container ?

posted on Apr, 30 2010 @ 03:34 PM
Outstanding thread.

I have been stating for years that we all need to work growing our own food.

Thank you for proving that it can be done in a non-traditional area, and with heirlooms to boot.

I will referance this thread everytime I post in a gardening thread when I get replies such as, "thats great, but I live in a city" "or what about people in apartments".

People just need to stop making excuses and take care of themselves. You are proving it can be done.

Oh, and great find on the water container.

posted on May, 21 2010 @ 07:56 PM
reply to post by The Utopian Penguin

Sorry for allowing this thread to go derelict. But at least the garden hasn't!

I had to do containers to be able to do anything. It's all at my work, a commercial property of pavement and concrete loading dock. Plus I lucked upon virtually unlimited access to the free containers. I also enjoy the ability to forklift the pallets around. Additionally, if SHTF the containers are mobile

No, I actually have a pH meter but everytime I've used it it read out baseline or whatever. Probably the biggest area I'm slack is in knowing specifics for each plant. I need to print out a list and go thru them all one day. I bought the meter originally to make sure the pH wasn't alkaline in the 2nd water tank. It was originally full of lye, from a chicken egg 'factory' they use sodium hydroxide to clean the eggs. Got a decent amount of gallons of lye (great for cleaning tubs and sinks), and then pressure washed them out. After the first rain fillup I waited several days and then tested the water. It read neutral.

reply to post by salchanra


posted on May, 21 2010 @ 08:11 PM
Very nice job. I've been gardening all my life and can really appreciate all of the hard work I see here. You are my hero.

I also see some good ideas, always looking for good ideas....

I have also worked at nurseries and am wondering... how do you keep the sun from baking the dirt/plants in your black pots? Do you need to water constantly? I know placing them close helps, but there are a lot of exposed pots to that warm Fla. sun.

posted on May, 21 2010 @ 08:23 PM

Okra (in front):

In the "Peppers / Tomatoes"image way above these okra's were just sprouting. Here in FL Okra are one of the few things its recommended to plant this time of year.

Note I've had almost zero pest problems in Sector A this season, while lots of pests in Sector B. It could be the fact that I have marigolds, lemon grass, green onions and garlic planted everywhere thru the section.

Bastard CUTWORM:

These hide in the dirt during the day. So what I do is flood the pot and try to spot them. It's usually obvious when they're around. These like to CUT the leaf off at the stem, and suck the juice out like a straw. They waste the leaf. Tomato Hornworms do the same, only more destructive.

Renegade Tomato:

This tomato managed to sprout up in the beans section. Will know what kind it is soon.

Making a run for it:

These squashie plants are trying to take over the tomato section.

Stevia (sweetleaf):

Perennial. They charge about $2 for EIGHT seeds. Mine never sprouted. Another friend ordered some from an heirloom outlet and said they sprouted, but they still charged the same price. I finally bought some seedlings, and now I have about $800 worth of seeds. Maybe more.

Malabar Spinach:

Perennial. I need to get some trellising worked out for these still.

Shallots & Yellow Onions:

The 2 most healthiest onions. There are 2 compounds in onions that are especially good for you. Shallot has the most of one and yellow onion has the most of the (better) other. These were store bought that I planted. Once I get seeds I'll be able to eat them or repeatedly harvest the greens.
Look at this shallot seed pod:

Crazy root-less weed:

I dont know what it is. Kind of cool but an annoyance.


Gorgeous, massive, edible plants, that literally grow like a weed. And they drop something on the order of hundreds of thousands of seeds per plant. Got the seeds from a Vietnamese grocery.

Bastard Flea Beetle larvae:

These love NAPA cabbage and anything related to broccoli. Had 0 problems with them last year, all the sudden tons of them this year. Also getting hassled leaf-rollers like a tag team.

Bushiest pepper plant ever:

"Missile Pepper". Plant is over a year old, but it got mangy and I had to cut it way back a couple months ago. Now its back with a vengeance. This plant is cool the peppers start out totally white, and as the sun hits them they turn purple. Then they ripen to orange and then red.

Non-Annum SPecies Pepper:

Crazy Spanish name. Annum leaves (most peppers you ever encounter) are rarely so broad. Got the seeds on trade from a guy in Brazil. Need to contact him to find out more. Guy had the best handwriting a few of us had ever seen.

"Horny" Mellon:

Kiwi Horned Melon: Bought one of these from the only grocery I've ever seen them in. The little thing cost SIX dollars, but it gave me something like 400 seeds.

[edit on 21-5-2010 by IgnoranceIsntBlisss]

posted on May, 21 2010 @ 08:29 PM
Fabulous thread! I love the idea of the container gardening. Just goes to show you don't have to live on a farm to
Stars and flags to you. I love gardening and working in my flower beds and it warms my heart to see someone else who likes it too. There's just nothing like getting your hands dirty and getting some fresh air and sunshine and watching something grow. Your beans look great as does everything else. Thanks for sharing and God bless you.

posted on May, 21 2010 @ 08:44 PM

Originally posted by AlreadyGone
I have also worked at nurseries and am wondering... how do you keep the sun from baking the dirt/plants in your black pots? Do you need to water constantly? I know placing them close helps, but there are a lot of exposed pots to that warm Fla. sun.


Plus the pavement in front of them...

Last year this time I hadn't begun on "Sector A". The loading dock (now sector B: for in the back) and "the wall" came first. I didn't build off the pavement until last fall. I basically have to water EVERY day, or there's problems. This especially goes for the squashie plants. On hour 25 of no watering they're wilted. But the squashes I had on the loading dock did the same thing this time last year.

And it hasn't rained for *%*& the past couple months. My front tank is almost empty again.

reply to post by maybee


I have to say it's all been some of the most fulfilling stuff I've ever done. And the fridge stays packed. I make mega-batches of stew'esque foods and freeze the excess in ample-serving ziplock bags. Last fall I had the freezer stacked to the top almost the whole thing. Just had some Seafood Gumbo today that I made last fall (and blister burned my face making a ton of Roux [no scars]).

[edit on 21-5-2010 by IgnoranceIsntBlisss]

posted on May, 21 2010 @ 08:50 PM
This is incredible. I'm truly jealous. This is what I've been envisioning myself doing for quite some time. You sir have a leg up in the coming years!

posted on May, 21 2010 @ 08:54 PM
I love the idea of the container gardening.

posted on May, 21 2010 @ 09:13 PM
You might try setting some of your containers in some sort of pans or trays to help keep in moisture. The trays will collect even heavy dew fall and may help with your limited water situation.

posted on May, 23 2010 @ 12:05 PM
reply to post by maybee

Good idea for certain applications, but not feasible at the scale I'm operating at. And it's be a huge hassle whenever I tried to change anything. It would probably be cheaper to just add more 275 gallon tote tanks.

posted on Jun, 14 2010 @ 11:48 PM


4 gallons of salsa!!

I'll post lots of new photos of the garden soon. In the process of overhauling it to the next level, again...

posted on Jun, 15 2010 @ 12:14 AM
What an beautiful and abundant garden, IIB...I'm really impressed and inspired. I have been moving more and more into container gardening I've had lots of mistakes and failures strictly organic garden for the past three years but I really consider any yield not a failure at all! I have rain collection system from my gutters but being in an arid climate it isn't quite enough.

It makes a lot of sense for me to be able to move the plants as I have gotten some kind of fungus or blight in certain areas of my larger in the ground garden so I just moved everything for this year, not solving the problem yet but just leaving it behind. My operation is tiny compared to yours but I encourage everyone to try it.

posted on Jun, 15 2010 @ 12:27 AM
reply to post by ChrisCrikey

Hey thanks!

Containers also provide other little perks like moving certain plants into shady spots as the seasons shift.

That 275 gallon tank only waters for about 4 days in Sector A. And it hasn't been raining for &(*% for months. I'd need about 10 of those to water that sector for a month. Watering once a day is hardly cutting it. Some stuff is going into states of decline from only watering once a day.

I'm preparing to move the Sector B tank up onto the loading dock ramp and tie in a new downspout above it so I can actually utilize the damn thing. A major ordeal, and I'll be basically dumping the 275 gallons to be able to do it. I have to do something with it anyways: 2 of the pallets in the stack are crushing...

In case you missed it: you might be able to get free pots galore from any local landscapers.

posted on Jun, 15 2010 @ 12:51 AM
Nice job! it just shows what a little bit of ingenuity can do! There is almost no excuse for not having a garden. If folks don;t have the space then find an empty lot but most apartment complexes have some dead space somewhere.

Another thing is get on craigs list and offer to tend someone else's garden for part of the produce. Some elderly folks might let you use thier back yard and appreciate the produce but can't get out and do it themselves. You can do a lot even on a city lot check this guy out:

[edit on 15-6-2010 by hawkiye]

posted on Jun, 24 2010 @ 04:20 PM
reply to post by hawkiye

I love that video!!!!!!!

posted on Aug, 30 2010 @ 06:27 PM
I need to upload some newer pictures...

but it should be on the next page since so many photos are already on this one...

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