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EASY GARDENING CONTINUED. . .

Photo taken at the Garland Community Garden - W. Brand and Naaman School Road 

Wire Container Gardens

With wire container gardens you can garden until you die if you want.  With this garden design people in their 80’s and 90’s can still garden.  If you can walk or get about in a wheelchair you can garden following this method.  If you are a busy person with little time to garden, you still will have enough time to garden using the wire container method because there is little to no weed pulling and very little time spent watering.

Purchase or Build a Wire Container

1. Purchase a Wire Container

(The really EASY way is to purchase wire mesh compost container such as the one show in the photo.)

2. Make a 3.5 x 3.5 foot wire container.
            Material

  • 14 feet of wire mesh three feet wide
  • 5 zip ties
  • 5 six-inch pieces of wire
  • 4 rebar 4 feet long

            Tools

  • Small sledge hammer
  • Wire cutters
  • Measuring tape

Build the wire container

Choose a sunny spot in your yard.  For markers, find four rocks, or tiles or bricks.

1. Place markers at the approximate four corners of a square with 3.5 feet sides. 
2. Use the tape measure for indicating the exact distance of 3.5 feet and move your markers accordingly.

3. Pound each of the four rebars 12 inches into the ground at each of the four corners.

4. Wrap the wire mesh around the outside of the four rebars.

5. Secure two ends with tie wraps and wire.

Variation:
Use five-foot rebars.  Drive them a foot into the ground.  This will leave a foot of rebar over the top of the wire mesh.  In January you can duck tape cardboard over each of the four rebars (so the rebar won’t cut plastic sheet) and lay a heave gauge clear plastic over the entire bin, securing at the bottom with duct tape and you have a greenhouse to start plants for the spring.

 

Fill the wire container with growing medium.

Materials for growing medium:

  • Four leaf bags of brown leaves each bin
  • One five-gallon bucket with lid filled with spoiled raw produce
  • Enough hay to cover the top surface of the bed. (It’s a good idea to get a small bale of hay and keep it nearby.)
  • Rotten logs (not totally necessary but good addition).
  • Water
  • Composted soil (about 10 gallons) – Purchase a medium bag of garden soil or mooch some compost from a friend’s pile.

    INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Put the logs/wood in the bottom first if you have them.  Logs are good especially if they are rotten as they will hold and release moisture.
  2. Put a layer of mulched leaves on top of the logs.  Hay is also good.  Some say it contains a lot of seeds but Ruth Stout wouldn’t agree.
  3. Water thoroughly
  4. Put a layer of green manure (green leaves spoiled fresh produce (no meat or cooked veggies) on top of the brown.  You can also add rabbit or horse manure. 


One of the best things about rabbit manure is it doesn't need to be composted. Rabbit manure is organic matter and improves poor soil structure, drainage and moisture retention. ... Rabbit manure is higher in nitrogen than sheep, goat, chicken, cow or horse manure. Plants need nitrogen to produce strong green growth.

  1. Continue layering and watering each layer until near the top of your container.
  2. Top off your container with about 6 inches of garden soil or composted soil.

Install transplants and plant seeds

Now for the fun part: You don’ t need a shovel or a hoe.  You don’t need to make your back sore bending over.  All you need is about a six by six inch square of garden soil for each plant.  Scoop out a hole in the top of your garden plot.  Imagine it as a pot for your transplant.  Put some of the soil in the hole. Insert the plant.  Put a little more soil around it to secure it.  Water.  Repeat for all transplants.  The process is similar for seeds as well.  When finished. Use hay, straw or wood chips to mulch around the top and give one final water application.


Maintain Wire Container Garden

Like all gardens you should check it daily—if for no other reason than to make yourself feel good and accomplished.  During the first three weeks after planting, stick your finger into the soil up to about the knuckle of your middle finger. It should be moist.

After the plants have a good start and your seeds have grown their first set of true leaves, you may only need to water once every two weeks.  Here is another test:  When it is really hot, towards the end of the day you can expect your plants to droop.  However, in the early morning if they are still droopy, they need to be watered.

Moving Plants Around

Another great feature of these beds is that if you want to move a plant over to make room for another one, you can do this in a matter of seconds without harming the plant.  Make a hole in the bed with your hand where you want to move the plant.  Then using both hands scoop gently underneath the plant down to about the area where you think the roots will be extended and lift up and transfer to its new spot.  Fill in the hole you left with some soil and put your new plant in there. 

Replenishing the Soil

As time goes on you will find the level of your garden sinking.  Use your hands to dig in places between the plants and insert a mixture of brown organic matter and spoiled produce.  Make sure to cover well with brown organic matter such as leaves or hay.

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