How to Make a Water Retaining Milk Carton Garden August 22 2014, 0 Comments

Jackie French

Earth Garden 162

Step 1. Gather four to twelve large milk containers. Larger ones are too unwieldy – it’s best to make several smaller ones if you want more.

Step 2. Cut off the tops with scissors. Don’t cut too much – the tops need to be slightly curved to help retain moisture and heat. You just need a hole big enough for the plant to get its leaves through.

Step 3. Pierce holes about four finger widths up from the bottom, at least three on each side. If you don’t do this the containers may fill up with water and the plants will rot. But you do want some ‘stagnant’ water in the base.

Step 4. Place gravel or coarse sand in the base, right up to the level of the holes.

Step 5. Top with compost, good potting mix or at a pinch, good soil.

Step 6. Use duct tape to bind rows of three, then to bind those rows together, or use wire or even binding twine.

Step 7. Plant seeds or seedlings. Water and keep moist. The extra heat and moisture will help seeds germinate faster.

Step 8. Keep watering as necessary and feed with an organic liquid fertiliser. You can make your own – soak compost in water and use the tea coloured liquid as plant food, or pour water over manure in a bucket, let it settle and use that ‘tea’ too.

Problem sorter: If they fill up with water, add more drainage holes. If the snails find them, surround with a ten cm wide barrier of shell grit – snails don’t like it on their tummies – and pick off any in the garden and squish them, or soak them in the fertiliser water so they feed the garden they have eaten.

If the garden begins to smell sour, throw out the contents, add more drainage holes and start again – and make sure you have a good layer of gravel.

Within three weeks from planting seedlings in mid-summer you should have salad greens, basil and other heat lovers and the roots of the silver beet should be poking down into the reservoir of water.

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