Tomatoes with self-watering system

Simple Ways of Growing Your Own Food at Home

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could grow your own fresh vegetables and herbs right at home?

Well, you can, and you don’t need a large garden or any experience.

Growing food at home is easy, has so many health benefits and takes the guess work out of knowing the quality of your food. You can get a steady supply of fresh vegetables and herbs right at home and the best part is, you know exactly how they were grown.

So, your first thought might be… I don’t even have a garden…

No problem!

Your second thought might be… I have never grown anything before…

No problem!

It’s amazing to see how people around the world are finding ways to grow food in places that we would never think of. They are growing in every way they can, coming up with inventive ways of producing food, in sustainable ways. These clever techniques are especially effective in places where people don’t have a lot of land, capital or even experience.

This article will show you some of the amazing ways to grow your own food at home. The focus here is to grow plants in very little space, using very little resources, getting maximum results.

The best part is you can start at any scale, large or small.

Believe me, it’s very common to get hooked when you taste the difference!

Growing tomatoes with a built-in watering and fertilizing system

So, this subtitle may sound really fancy but keep reading…

It’s a very simple way of treating tomatoes in the way they like best, having plenty of water and adequate tomato feed, without wetting the leaves. And, the watering you have to do is quicker!

My favorite part, is that it can also be built using items you have around your house. I built mine with a discarded fish container, a large flower pot and organic tomato plants I started from seed.

I’m sure you know the health benefits of eating tomatoes, as they contain vitamin A, C, beta carotene, and lutein. Mix it up and eat some tomatoes fresh and some cooked, to reap all the benefits.

Growing just a few tomato plants in your kitchen garden, in a container or hanging basket on your balcony or even in a sunny spot in your home can give you great results. There are many different varieties of tomatoes available on the market. There are tiny cherry tomatoes and also giant beefsteak tomatoes, with variety of different colors, ranging from red, green, purple, and orange.

Surprise your friends and add color to your salads with purple tomatoes!

No matter the variety, tomatoes need to be fed, they like plenty of sun and enough water.

I want to thank the inventive gardener who came up with this hands-off method, with items you would have around the house and was generous enough to allow me to share his idea and photos, James Bryan C.

All you will need to build the same system, is a large container (or plant straight in the ground), such as a garbage can. A smaller container, such as a household waste bin or large planting pot, and some light fencing, tomato cage or stakes.

Tomatoes with self-watering & fertilizing system - Before

Tomatoes with self-watering & fertilizing system – Before
Photo credit James Bryan C

Steps for setting up your self-watering and fertilizing tomato system:

Step # 1: Get a 5 gallon garbage can or planting pot.
Step # 2: Drill holes in the bottom. Make a second row of holes about 10 inches high.
Step # 3: Bury the garbage can in your garden or a larger container, so that the top holes are barely above the ground.
Step # 4: Plant your tomato starter plants around your container.
Step # 5: Put two shovels full of compost in the can and fill it up with water. Top the can up with water every two days, making sure you don’t damage the plants with water. If you don’t have compost readily available, using soil watered with a good quality tomato feed will work just as well. Follow the instructions on your tomato feed for how often you should add new feed. Add a pipe going down to your bucket, up through the foliage when the growth gets high, for easy watering.
Step # 6: Watch your tomatoes grow and eat the most amazing tomatoes of your life!

Once you taste a fully ripened tomato fresh from your own garden, you will never want to go back to store-bought again!

Tomatoes with self-watering & fertilizing system - After

Tomatoes with self-watering & fertilizing system – After
Photo credit James Bryan C

Grow 100 Pounds of Potatoes in a Four Square Foot Box

Potatoes are such a popular vegetable and so much can be made with them! They are great as a meal or a side dish.
What could be better than growing your own potatoes at home?

Sadly, commercially grown potatoes are on EWG’s Dirty Dozen list. They reported, when testing them for inclusion in their 2015 list, that “the average potato had more pesticides by weight than any other produce.” EWG | Highlights of Dirty Dozen 2015

All you need in order to grow at least 100 pounds of potatoes at home is four square feet!

This is another one of those clever tricks for those with small gardens or some space on their balcony or roof. This system grows potatoes in a vertical garden made with 2X6 boards. Below are instructions for growing your potatoes in a box. Sinfonian’s Garden Blog

Step # 1: Cut 2X6 boards into 12 pieces of 21 inch long boards and 12 pieces of 24 inch long boards. Use salvage wood if possible but be careful to use only untreated wood.
Step # 2: Take a 2X2 board cut into 4 pieces of 33 inch sections.
Step # 3: Pre-drill holes so that boards can be easily attached and removed.
Step # 4: build a box with four corner posts made with 2X2 pieces and fill it up with mulch and soil.
Step # 5: Prepare soil at the bottom layer of the box and add seed potatoes about 4 inches deep.
Step # 6: When potato vines grow about a foot higher than the ground, add another board and fill with soil up to within a foot of the top of the plant. Keep repeating this process until you have reached 4 feet high. Take note of what dates you added each layer.
Step # 7: After about 10 weeks from the first growth, your bottom layer should be ready for harvesting. Carefully remove the bottom board and harvest your potatoes from the bottom layer. Next you can harvest from the layer number two, after the same passage of time. This process continues until you reach the top.

This process doesn’t need a lot of fertilizer or water. Just coil a soaker hose around the bottom of the box so that the roots at the bottom get even moisture throughout the season. If the soil is well prepared with compost or manure, no additional fertilizer is required.

Choose a late season variety of potato that grows in 90 days or more. A short season variety may not work as well.

I am so excited to build and try out this system myself — keep your eyes on this article for updates.

fresh potatoes

“Trashcan Tilapia” – Raise Your Own Fish, Even in an Apartment

Two urban eco-pioneers in South Bronx, New York have made headlines by raising tilapia in 50-gallon garbage cans. Christopher Toole and Anya Pozdeeva, two former bankers, have founded the Society for Aquaponic Values and Education (SAVE).

They have been conducting an ambitious experiment with aquaculture, by raising fish in tanks or containers, then using the water to fertilize vegetables by filtering water through plants and then dripping it back into the fish tank. They keep dozens of tilapia in trash and recycling containers, aquaponic tanks and traditional glass tanks in Hunts Point, where they are conducting these experiments. New Yorkers Bring Fish Farms to Urban Jungle | PHYS.org

Why not give it a try yourself?

You could raise various kinds of fish in any types of containers. You could use fish tanks, buckets, barrels or even 10 gallon garbage cans. All you need is water and some fingerlings, and your fish could grow large enough for eating within nine months. The Tilapia diet can be entirely vegetarian, so this is a great fish to start with. You could raise them on green plants that grow in water, including water weed and algae from your own fish tank or containers.

Conclusion

We hope we have given you some ideas and gotten you excited about the possibilities for growing your own food.

Whatever method you decide to start with, why not start today? Find an unused container in your house and plant something!

Theresa

About Theresa

Theresa is a Co-founder of Saving the Green. She loves experimenting with new ways of growing better and maximizing space. She is obsessed with eating well for not only better health but greater enjoyment. "Who else is sick of pale, mealy supermarket tomatoes?!"

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