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").
Pinto, Black, Dragon Tongue, Gold Rush, Contender, Golden Wax, Royal Burgandy, Adzuki, Yard Long, Lablab, others
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.
PEPPERS / TOMATOES:
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.
: 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!
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.
This sector includes "The Wall" and the loading dock.
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
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
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
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]