We are finally able to (almost) go full throttle into our gardens! This means we now have the ability to illustrate how we handle our somewhat large container garden!
To start, we store our container garden soil in Geobin composting containers. We’ve been re-using the same soil now for over seven years and the Geobins are a great storage solution, plus it helps the roots compost down over the winter. Some years we’ll refresh it with compost, but with the growing solution we use in our containers, it’s not always necessary. It’s really nice to have a ton of soil to fill all of our food and flower growing containers!
Our actual growing solution are five gallon buckets with what’s called a GroBucket. This is a commercial solution that transforms a standard bucket into a sub-irrigated growing container. This basically means that our plants are watered (and fed) from underneath the soil. It’s an absolutely fantastic growing solution that we’ve been using for 5+ years now and is quite possibly the best container gardening solution we have ever used.
The primary reason we use the GroBuckets is for water conservation. Traditional container gardening, in general, is highly inefficient in it’s use of water and we’re entirely off-grid as far as water goes. We primarily use rain water catchment in our gardens, so the GroBuckets allow us to effectively use almost 100% of the water for our actual plants, no waste! They reduce drought conditions in our containers and just overall make having a large container garden relatively easy for us.
As we’ve grown with this solution, we’ve adopted what you could almost call a hybrid soil-hydroponics approach with them. We effectively use a constant feed fertilizer in the containers, allowing us to turbo charge our container garden’s growth. This also helps us get long term growth from a container, even when they become heavily root bound, since the plants have plentiful access to nutrients. We have also centrally irrigated two of these GroBucket gardens, which basically puts our container garden on auto-pilot for most of the season. We’ll show you more about that in a future post!
We primarily grow our greenhouse tomatoes using the GroBuckets as well as the bulk of our pepper crop. We use black (or dark colored) buckets to maximize the heat absorption and for that reason, we use them for a few other things like herbs, corn, bush beans and a handful of other crops that benefit from warmer soil temperatures.
We’re excited to get started on our container garden. We’ll be transplanting most things out this weekend, but we’re still holding our peppers back until we’re confident we’re not going to see dips into the low 40’s. Considering it snowed just yesterday, that seems wise this year!