Portable Recyclable Garden

Hi there. It’s been a while. A lot has happened since my last visit, notably my lanai garden needed to be (re)moved recently because my building refinished all the outdoor spaces.

But after several months, my lanai garden is making its return with a new focus: portable recycled containers. The idea was inspired by my recent garden rennovation — we got warning that the building painters were going to be working on our apartment while I was on a two-week business trip, so my sweet husband had to move all of my pots over to my parents’ house by himself. The ordeal would have been easier if the pots were lighter and easier to move (well, and if I was there).


My new lanai garden setup

Lots of people put raised beds in tires and barrels, but they’re just too big for my little lanai and too heavy to move. So with some google-/pin-spiration, I came up with this plan for now:

  • Grocery bags: I started with some swiss chard in grocery bags — reusable grocery bags lined with recycled plastic bags to keep the water from escaping. These guys are really light and have handles…handles!
  • Small thrifted pots: Also put out strawberries and basil (seed) in garage-saled pots I’ve used before (that counts, right?) and green onions in a spaghetti sauce jar.
  • One-gallon juice/milk jugs: My next installation will be a passive hydroponic system for lettuce (with a recycled 1 gallon container). Something like this (pdf).

I was also thinking about trying a cardboard box planter, inspired by this. Might also try to find some tea tins (isn’t this cute?!).

Swiss Chard Growing Requirements
(from Oahu RC&D pdf)

Light/Soil Requirements: At least 6 hours of sun. Soil should be well-drained and moist.

Planting: Sow swiss chard seeds 1/2-1” inches deep. Thin seedlings or transplant 6” apart.

Watering/Fertilizer: Moisture fluctuations cause leaves to become tough, slow leaf development and contribute to off-flavors. If soil test has not been taken, apply 3-4 lbs of 5-10-10 fertilizer per 100 sq ft.

Harvesting: The most common method of harvesting chard is to cut off the outer leaves 1 1/2” above the ground while they are young and tender (8-12”). Be careful not to damage the terminal bud.

Container Growing: One plant per pot, 8” deep pot