Saturday, May 19, 2012

Garden: Phase 2

Today I started my actual garden! I am, to say the least, EXCITE.

I hired Dani from Yard to Table Gardens, who came up with an ingenius wicking bed design that utilizes kiddie pools. Wicking beds are, well, totally wicked! In short, you fill up a reservoir with water and the soil (along with the help of other materials) wicks the water up gradually.  This means I water once a week; it's very resource-efficient and low-maintenance.

We filled a kiddie pool + tumbled, broken glass from the City of Austin (free) and a pot with soil that's in contact with the bottom of the pool/reservoir. You can do this with pool liner or even a big tupperware.

We put some burlap over the glass and stuck a PVC pipe into the glass. Then we layered horse manure and leaves. "Like lasagna," Dani said. And then topsoil. Here's what it looks like all finished with sweet potatoes planted. We sprinkled a type of protective fungus on the roots before we planted them.

That's an ugly rock covering the reservoir tube but I'll find something more attractive later. If I don't cover it, mosquitos may breed in there, which is my worst nightmare.

We went down to Natural Gardener in Oak Hill for the soil as well as all my transplants. I have:

  • Kefir lime tree (for Thai food)
  • Lemongrass (for Thai food)
  • Garlic chives (for yummies and pest control)
  • Rosemary (for yummies and protecting me from pests)
  • Sweet basil
  • Sweet pepper varieties
  • Serrano peppers
  • Cucumber
  • Amaranth (ancient grain, from seed)
  • Sweet potatoes

I'm also going to try to plant ginger from an existing ginger root. I also get to transplant my marigold, tomato, and AngelMist, which I introduced here. I can try to plant my arugula, although it seems pretty done, but I also have some seed pods from it that I can try to plant. Who knows, it could work!

Dani is a big advocate of planting varieties together instead of monocropping, although the sweet potatoes were an exception.

Later today, Kamon and I will get more wood for the rest of the beds, and some rocks to top off on the 5th, small kiddie pool that my neighbor donated to me today. He said a friend came over last night with a kiddie pool in his backseat, took it out so they could go somewhere, and then left it in the carport. That's kind of a ridiculously awesome coincidence. Makes you believe in stuff.

Phase 2.5 will be underway shortly! Phase 3 is probably not killing them.


  1. This is amazing! May I ask how much the Kaffir lime tree cost? I've been thinking of restarting my garden. I had a huge lemongrass, but it was killed when we were on a cruise and the winter was so harsh. :( Your idea is amazing and it looks wonderful!


    1. They had two sizes at the Natural Gardener. I got the small one, which is 3" tall, and it was around $5. Then they had larger ones for $12. Really quite affordable! I can't wait for it to get bigger so I can start pulling leaves off :)