Saturday, April 21, 2012

Making a garden from styrofoam containers

Recently I got sent some things in a huge styrofoam box, and when I posted a picture on Instagram, a friend of mine told me I could make a garden from it... so I immediately got all excited and googled and found these instructions on the Gardening Australia site. I totally could! Huzzah!

I honestly (being as naive as I am in the ways of horticulture and general growing of things), thought you could just put some potting mix in and grow some stuff.

Apparently, you have to make drainage holes (duh!), cover those drainage holes with something so the dirt doesn't fall out (oh my lord Stacey, really?) and then prop them up on bricks or something to let the air flow. Really. Not even hard, and pure common sense.

So I poked some holes.

And laid down some black stuff (technical term).

And put in some mushroom compost from our big garden that is being overhauled and filled with new stuff. This is rich with nutrients and wiggly worms. My seeds are gonna love it.

Indoctrinating her early.

So. Much. Rain. has resulted in crazy overgrown garden bits so Veggie Dad cuts it all back while I pull everything out of the big garden (including that massive pile of parsley there, and a huge basil bush that had gone a bit woody. Pesto FTW!)

Veggie Dad built me that raised bed garden for my birthday last year. He is seriously the awesomest ever. EVER. Then he and a friend made a no-dig garden behind it. 



Because I let my basil and mint go to seed, they've sprung up elsewhere in the garden so I'm repotting them to halt their crazy invasion of everywhere.


We ended up with one basil pesto, two parsley pestos and the biggest bowl of tabbouleh ever seen by man. or woman.

Less than a week later, we have life! I get all Dr Frankenstein for a minute, proud of my creating something from small bits of something else. 

Grow little dude, grow!

In readiness for the new big garden and the no-dig garden, I have snow peas, onions, lettuce, spinach, rocket, broccoli, beetroot, and strawberries to try. In my styrofoam funboxes I have parsley, rosemary, oregano and thyme, growing from seed.

And I'm getting a lemon tree in a pot for my birthday next week... may or may not put in a request for a lime tree, depending on how well behaved I am.

Imma put them next to my avocado tree and have a guacamole party. Ole!

Are you growing stuff? Can you tell me what? And how not to kill ma shiz? I'm a slow learner!


  1. i wish i could help. we have a few planters on the deck. nothing fancy.

  2. hey at least you're doing SOMETHING! I used to live right on the beach, and the sea air killed everything we ever tried to grow. so excited I have a back yard now :)

  3. Tara @ Mum-mentsApr 20, 2012 09:36 PM

    I cant wait to start our vegie garden but i have no idea what to plant at this time of the year and is potting mix all you need??

  4. I have grown plenty of things with potting mix! cherry tomatoes, herbs, lettuce, spinach, snow peas. Gardening Australia has a good website, and I often just buy whatever Bunnings or the markets are selling, because it's likely they're growing things in season xx

  5. I love your gardens!
    We have 2 raised bed veggie gardens here, as well as a space in our garden which is where I grew our corn. Right now all we have is a shitload of eggplant (that I don't eat, or really know how to cook because I don't eat it so all i've done is grill it for the kids, which they haven't seemed keen on it so I'm sure I'm not cooking it right), and lots of green tomatoes that haven't been going ripe? Not sure why, they were ripening fine over summer. We pulled the rest that was zucchini, and then lots of overgrown not producing green whatever, and replanted a tonne of seeds, but 2 days after the chicken  decided to have a dig in the garden and we just haven't gotten around to planting again. I need to get seeds anyway. I might take a walk this arvo and work on it tomorrow.
    I have no tips as I am shit at growing anything, so I plant, water and cross my fingers something will come of it. Mr Black does most the work I guess?
    I am jealous of your lemon tree. I've wanted one since I was a kid. Actually I've wanted all three (lemon, lime and orange tree's). I want to try and plant them out the front but see above regarding my great green skills. I have big plans, I just need someone else to make them happen. Lol.

  6. I kill any living thing (except my children and pets). I have admitted defeat and instead graciously accept everything from my fathers immaculate, huge thriving vegetable garden. I am sure I am a huge disappointment to him, as he has no one to pass on all his amazing gardening knowledge. I WANT to garden, but I just can't. :-(

  7. Our lemon tree is just about to yield lemons! I use "our" not in the strictest sense of the word - Kester is our resident gardener!

  8. Oh this is really cool. Everyone has a veggie garden these days, I feel so not with the times having a garden that consists of mint that has taken over. You made it look easier than I have been anticipating.  #gottagetmyacttogether  #inspired

  9. I too have grown vegies this way and it is great because you don't need a big garden to do it!! I grew leeks, carrots (the short variety unless you get deep boxes), various types of lettuce and silverbeet....I found the birds loved it even more though, so I had to put a mini shade cloth over mine...but aside from that it worked a treat....I gave my vegies a watering with the old charlie carp occasionally to keep them nutrient happy, but you do also need to water more often because the boxes dry out quicker...good luck!! jahna

  10. Elizabeth HardingApr 21, 2012 01:03 AM

    First of all I've got to say... your blog has made my week. Clicking on my bookmark with fingers crossed i will see something new has kept me sane and brought a smile to my face every time (except the night i checked twice and was sorely disappointed there was nothing new, but i guess thats my own fault!)

    I have also been the lucky recipient of a vege garden from my darling and the only little snippet of advice i have is BEWARE OF THE LEAFY GREENS. Unfortunately the snails got to my spinach and no amounts of squirting lemon juice or diluted dishwashing detergent kept them away. The rocket however went BA-ZURK (does anyone else say that or is it just my mum?). I couldn't eat enough to keep up with it.Also found out rocket will wilt within 12 hours so you really have to pick it as you intend to eat (which really makes me worry about why the greens from the supermarkets will stay crisp and fresh in my fridge for up to a week...what are they putting in that stuff??)

    Tried to grow garlic...didnt work. Snow peas were fabulous but never had enough! And definitely be extra good this week and add on that lime tree to your birthday wishes. You would know better than any how versatile they are and how they always make dishes extra special- I'm thinking a yummy curry  with a gin & tonic! Good luck- I let out a little squeal when i scrolled over the picture of the little sprouts can't wait to watch them grow through photos! 

  11. Thanks for the post - I'm inspired to get outside and plant the leek seedlings and coriander seeds that have been languishing on my kitchen bench for weeks! I've got a raised veggie bed very similar to yours (love those helpful husbands!) with some tomatoes, snowpeas, spinach, chard, asian celery and sweet corn. I'm a bad gardener though because I don't give things enough veggies are all stunted!

    In the garden i've got a lemon tree, nashi pear, pink lady apples and an orange tree (or was it mandarins...not sure) but they're all yet to bear fruit. 

    With strawberries the birds always get to them before we do, so it sounds like you're doing much better than me! 

  12. Congrats on a great garden! I love a no dig garden. Currently we are growing beans, cabbage, parsley, tomatoes, lettuce, beetroot, silverbeet, rocket, thyme, lemon thyme, rosemary, marjoram, sage, shallots, catnip, stevia, bay, feijoa, strawberrys, aloe, mint, lemonbalm, lemons, & potatos. My best advice is to water at least once a day, and don't be afraid to plant anything  - you never know what might grow!

  13. You must have a warmer climate . Our basil has already been killed from frost. I could only dream of growing it year round (perhaps I need a green house?) I will miss the pesto. I once grew tomatoes in polystyrene boxes and they were the best crop ever.

  14. Oh my god eggplant. It. Is. Delicious. I am pretty sure I have eggplant plants but just forgot they were there! You sound very busy, and I'm dying to grow corn - is it hard? we want to get chickens too, but I am scared they will undo all my good work!

  15. Hah I just harvested some of my avocados today, will send some over when they ripen a bit!

  16. Oh it's way easier than I thought! Honestly. and I felt silly buying herbs from the supermarket for eight million dollars when I knew how easy they were to grow at home. It all spiralled from there!

  17. thank you! I've been watering them like mad. I'm glad when they move to the big gardens I won't have to be so vigilant. but all babies need lots of attention :)

  18. Haha my mum says berserk too! She is crazy. And that's hilarious you tried twice in one night... I'm not likely to do two posts in one day! I used to just post whenever I felt like it, and then people told me they checked every day and I was all "oh my god! I'm so sorry!"

    Snails and SPIDERS totally ate all my greens when I lived at my old house... they ate whatever the salty sea air didn't kill. We lived right on the water. I will totally be careful, but all my mint and various other bits and pieces were eaten by some crazy bug that just lived underneath the leaves last time. I had no idea what they were or how to get rid of them. I'm sure they'll come back so I should probably try and combat them before they start.

    I'd really like to grow garlic, but it looks hard and I've no idea how to do it. I'll just keep buying it from the markets instead! And you should see the little guys now... growing up big and strong!