Thursday, May 26, 2011

Homestead Experiment #21-Our FREE, Instant, Portable, Garden Beds

We are currently renting our wanna-be homestead. Since we found out we are going to be staying in this home for 4 more years, we wanted to expand our garden beds, but didn't want to invest in expensive lumber that we may have to tear apart, or give away down the road. So my wonderful hubby, Farmer Brent, went on line and found this great idea: upcycling old plastic kiddie pools into instant raised beds! Brilliant... except for one flaw: Those pools are bulky and as a result, cost a lot more to ship to Alaska than elsewhere in the lower 48. The pool I bought my 4 year old last year for $23 was the same size and shape of the one I had bought previously in Texas for $10.  This garden idea could be downright pricey; hence the experiment.

I decided to post 'wanted' messages on the local Juneauparents and Freecycle yahoo boards, as well as Craigslist.  As a result I ended up with 3 pool offers! I could only use 2, so had to pass on one.  People were thrilled to find out there was another use for their leaky, cracked pool, and I loved knowing I was keeping it out of the landfill while keeping my cash in my pocket! It's a win-win situation for sure!  Even better, one of the pools I was given was not only completely in tact, but was an upgrade from the plain ol' pool that we had for my daughter. This one had a slide, railing, and a drain plug!  Anyone who has tried to manually flip over one of these pools in order to empty it will appreciate my joy at a drain plug.  Obviously I decided to switch out her old pool for this better one.

Before I filled the pools with dirt, I punched holes all over the bottoms with a drill. It took me a whopping 2 minutes to do both pools.  Before I drilled holes in our old plain one, I had the kids test out the integrity of the new slide pool.  As you can see, they did a very thorough job.
It was a balmy 58 degrees that afternoon!
Yep, it'll hold. So I proceeded to drill away...
Little holes sporadically punched all over the bottom

Then, I simply put them in position, filled them with dirt, and began to plant. How easy is that? It might not be the most aesthetically pleasing garden bed, but I figured I could always run some little border fencing around to pretty it up. I probably won't bother, but knowing I could makes it better, doesn't it?
2 weeks later: Onions are sprouting!

If you are having a late start in getting your garden growing this year, I hope this will give you a kick start and maybe even a little inspiration.  Do not overlook the great resources that are found in your local yahoo groups and wanted boards. They can be a trove of free, or discounted, treasures for your homestead!

Hillary At Home

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