Planting fruits and vegetables raised beds was never a problem but keeping those puppies properly watered was another story altogether. After looking at several demos on self watering containers, I found Grant and Max Buster's website called GlobalBuckets.org.  Their mission is to create easily replicable self watering gardening systems that can help ease malnutrition all over the world.  Did I mention that these guys aren't even 18 yet?  Talk about initiative! 

I loved their ideas so much that I set out to combine the fashionista's homemade grow bags with their global bucket system. I shared the details of that success on their website.  First, I used the $2 pickle buckets I scored from Firehouse Subs to plant tomato seeds in late January/early February.  G, its too cold even in South Carolina for tomato seeds to germinate in winter.  Not if you use the winter sowing method. Trudi Davidoff developed a method for sowing your spring seeds outside in perforated covered containers (wintersown.org). They stay wet from condensation and germinate when they're ready.  The bonus is that there's no need to harden off your plants because they've been exposed to the elements all winter long.  Colleen Vanderlinden has a great article on the subject.  In our backyard, Our system used plastic water bottles with the lids cut off (and then scored with a knife in several places) to give the tomato seeds the desired environment. Anyway, after the tomato seeds started to germinate, I covered them with new water bottles with the caps off as a sort of mini cloche.

We salvaged a discarded footlocker to produce the second global bucket style system in our yard. Along with those pics I'm including more photos of our homemade grow bags in action.  Since I couldn't get the lid off the footlocker, I used cardboard, newspaper and scraps of plastic chicken wire to craft a makeshift bed for squash plants that grew in our greenhouse.
By the way, the http://www.tomatoville.com/showthread.php?p=199465 clued me in on the reusable shopping bag, lead connection.  Read the information for yourself.
 
UPDATE NOTE: Shout to everyone's favorite Lowcountry Clemson Extension Horticulture Agent, Amy Dabbs for sharing my trench composting information.  Unfortunately, when I changed the name of this blog from 'urban gardening' to 'urban homesteading(TM)' my old posts lost their link.  Given all the recent controversy on the subject, I may be renaming this blog yet again. All I'll say is that there are very few new concepts under the sun and urban homesteading (TM) ain't one of them. Anywho, here's the information on trench composting and a couple other cool methods, along with more pics from the yard.

G, I don't have time to make my own compost!  Sure you do.  Here's the first of two quick and easy compost
methods.

#1) Trench Composting

Supplies you'll need.  Garden bed or container garden; shovel; food scraps (think produce peels, coffee
grounds, tea bags, and unbleached paper plates, towels, etc.).
Optional supplies: Newspaper (unending supply from my food coupon adventures) and/or hay for the lasagna
style layering affect.

Step one: Dig a hole.
Step two: Add your food scraps.  I chopped mine up with a shovel.
Step three: Bury your food scraps. (I've added some shredded paper and hay as a compost 'coverup' that
should attract worms and keep pests from digging it up.  Like the layered garden technique I learned about
and used in my asparagus beds last year from an article on Lasagna Gardening).  My asparagus beds look
amazing right now, so let's see if my lazy variation works).  Oops, I forgot the blood and bone meal.  No
worries, I'll mix it in with the growing medium.
Step four: Get to planting.

Want to learn more about lasagna gardening?
Then go to the site that documents the authentic lasagna garden method.  Patricia Lanza's website (which lists
her as the first lasagna gardener) is loaded with step by step instructions.

Extra Lazy Urban Garden Ideas
That rosemary bush in the center of it all is actually housed inside the stump of a tree we cut down to get more
sun for growing food.  We reused pieces of the tree's small branches to form these and other beds.  After
using  bamboo we scored on Craigslist to add structure to the ginourmous newspaper pot for a dwarf
grapefruit tree, I camouflaged the tree stump in the same manner.  I'll do the same for the banana tree that's
living in the small shelf a neighbor tossed out as trash. 

#2) Worm Composting or Vermicomposting
What can be simpler than that?  Glad you asked.  I'll come back with info on making a worm compost bin that
you can keep indoors.  March 2, 2010 update: I so forgot about adding the stuff on worm composting, but here's a link to Garden Girl TV guide on worm bins to help get you well on your way to vermicomposting fabulousness.  If you want to go a whole nutha level with it, here's amyoung's worm bin bag instructable for ya. Somewhere online another guy worked this type system into a table. Pretty cool, huh?

Since I'm doing the update anyway, I had to add pics of our large scale composting efforts.  Lots o chicken poop and so little space. Taking a cue from Will Allen, my favorite gardener over 6'5" (sorry hon'), we mixed the fragrant chicken coop straw with food scraps, leaves and water to passively heat our greenhouse and literally overnight that bad boy was cooking - to the tune of 75 degrees or higher right in the middle of the last major cold snap in Charleston. So much fun to turn that joker and see smoke rising up from the poo ashes.  The pile has cooled and we're going to throw it back in the coop with lots of pine shavings and a little diatomaceous earth so the chickens do the work of breaking it down even further and keeping their coop fresher longer - deep litter method at its finest.

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Last Updated December 12, 2011
Original Web Site Content by Mrs. Germaine Jenkins (gwhiz@germainesolutions.com)
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