Every year I plant seeds, some in the greenhouse (the coldest and draughtiest greenhouse I have ever known), some by mid May straight outside in the beds of the Veggie Patch. This was cobbled together last year to be the same size as an average back garden so that I could see how much productive space I would need at our forever home to grow enough for us and the chickens to eat throughout Summer and as far beyond as possible.
Last year was a poor year to do any sort of experiment and we were lucky to get anything from it. This year it is in the process of being made ready, with the paths being weeded and the raised beds weeded and turned over ready for the seedlings from the greenhouse. The fruit trees and bushes are looking good and up to now (touch wood) we have had no hard frosts since the blossom appeared, so we might stand a chance of getting more than one cherry and more than the three apples we got last year.
As well as having the Veggie Patch I have pots of herbs and other edibles nearer the house and last year I planted Tomatoes in this old tin bath. They didn't do too well, it was too wet and chilly for them and I think we only got about a handful to eat. This year I pondered what to do with the bath, after all it was half full of reasonable compost and just begging to be used.
Then I had a little brainwave.
So many of my lovely readers say how they wish they could grow just some basic crops for themselves but that they haven't got the space to do it, so I got to thinking what if I had only a tiny yard or a picture perfect garden that I didn't want to turn over to veggies how much could I actually grow in a tiny space to feed myself and my family and for how much investment.
And so was born .....
This tin bath was here at the house when we moved in so it cost me nothing, I guess you could find something similar if you put your mind to it. At the tip, at a car boot sale, rotting in someone elses garden. If you can't find something similar think differently what have you got that you could use, plastic boxes, old washing up bowls, the children's old plastic bath or paddling pool, whatever you choose all you have to do is put in some drainage holes, tip in an inch or so of stones gathered from around the garden, it's amazing how many you find while you're weeding just keep a bucket next to you and put them in, (or raid the gravel on the drive, no one knows if you smooth over the holes you create). This Challenge has got to be cheap and easy so rather than tip in more compost to fill it up to a more plantable level I tipped in one full lawnmower bag of grass clippings and stirred it all around, it made the soil more aerated and less dense, better for little seeds to grow.
Then I looked through my stash of seeds and picked out the real basics.
Lettuce (Lollo Rosso) - Free when I joined in with 'Dig-In' last year
Spring Onion - 50p (bought in the August seed sale last year)
Radish - 50p (ditto)
Half a pack of Peas - 25p (ditto)
10 Radish Seedlings that I couldn't fit in the bucket with the others - 5p
Pretending I was a bit more of a novice at this planting lark than I am, I simply made a line in the compost at the back and sprinkled in all the peas. Then two more lines for the Radish, and the Spring Onion seeds and then I got arty and made two circles of seeds with the Lettuce seed at either end. I planted the already growing Radish seedlings in a line along the front, I wanted the bath when it is in full growth to look nice as well as being productive. I covered all the seeds with a layer of sieved compost and then gave it a good water. Then I put another layer of dryer compost mixed with some of the grass clippings on the very top to stop the water evaporating (believe it or not the sun was out when I did all this, totally unlike today).
So the cost of planting out my free tin bath was £1.30. The price of a single lettuce in the supermarket last week. Lets see what I manage to get out of it, I will post pictures of the bath weekly and keep tabs on what and when I harvest from it and we will be able to see what value of crops we manage to raise in this small space.
You know how much I like a good challenge and this is a good challenge. Have you ever done anything similar and did it work well?