Bags of potting mix or even compost can make great gardens – really good if you just move into a new home or rent or don’t have any soil to garden in.
Even better placed on something so they are at waist height!
Start making the garden in its final (sunny) resting place as it is easier to move an intact bag than one with holes in it.
Cut holes in one side of a large bag of potting mix or compost – to be drainage holes.
Turn bag over. Cut more holes in top side big enough to plant seedlings into and to water.
Place bag on a mesh or frame of some sort so it can drain.
We trialed a ‘wicking’ system to water plants from a bottle. We usually used a watering can instead. Poke a finger into the soil and you can feel if it is moist or dry and needs water. We checked daily.
These bags grew great lettuce, greens, broccoli, kale.
We planted a range of lettuce seedling varieties to see the best options for winter supplies in 2014, Auckland, New Zealand.
Best by far is ‘Lolla Rossa Foxy’ with crinkly broad soft leaves grading from bright green to brown edges [back row of garden bed].
The cos [front row, 2nd from right] were a sad second last. Last were red cultivars which rotted through the stems and died before producing edible leaves [they were in the middle of the front row].
Oakleaf lettuce forms are slowly growing. Direct seed sown Oakleaf lettuces are doing better than seedlings transplanted.
All were covered by a plastic poly tunnel and treated equally.
This garden is near the harbour and soil is clayey with bought compost over the top. Garden bed faces north-west, is brand new, raised, and beside a fence.
Different varieties really do provide different outcomes depending on climate and soil. Even if I prefer one type of lettuce, I may have better production from a less favored variety when my favourite dislikes the conditions. I love growing a range to see which do best for us.
Our best raised beds were easy to construct, are easy to garden in, and are weed free. The plants grew really well and vegies were ready early, with good size and taste. The bases have wooden slat frames with overlapping joints, and were a bit over 2m×1m in size. Each bed was quick to put together and we customised them to add extra protection from the weather.
The corners were held together with metal bolts – which we extended to be 3× height of the bed and covered them with black irrigation pipe hooped over to the opposite side.
This frame supported bird-net mostly, and a plastic cover underneath the net in winter. The net was looped onto screw heads around the outside of the bed to firmly hold the plastic in place even in strong winds.