November 19th – Gardens.

In Hawai’i, there was always something growing and something being harvested on our property. Papayas, mangoes, pineapple, bananas, lilikoi, herbs, and some other stuff. It wasn’t a real garden in neat little rows that we were out weeding all of the time. This stuff can be found almost everywhere. People give you extra lychee or pineapples because they have too many at their house.

In Ireland, my grandparents had a garden and a greenhouse. My grandfather would grow rhubarb and when it was picked we would dip it in sugar and eat it raw. My grandmother would use mint from the garden to make a fresh mint sauce when we would have pork for dinner.

Here in Seattle, our outdoor growing season is fantastic and short without a greenhouse. Beside the curb, we made a raised garden bed and filled it with lettuce, kale, tomatoes, corn, cucumbers, strawberries, and probably some more things.

Screen shot 2013-11-21 at 5.40.20 AMIndoors we developed a wall mounted aquaponics setup that was cheap and fun to make.photo 2We built a chicken coop, but the landlord sold the house we were living in before we could get the chickens.IMG_2841Gardens have started to turn me on to homesteading. Living in a new house, we need to start the garden from scratch. I am thankful that I have the opportunity to have a garden.

So many new projects…

With all of my prerequisites for nursing school out of the way (hopefully), I find myself with most of my days free instead of studying anatomy, physiology, microbiology, etc. We also found this wall to be very bare. It used to have a few pictures of me with fish.
empty wall
I have always been a fan of hydroponics. I have had different types of food growing setups. This empty wall begged for something cool. A vertical hydroponic garden seems just the ticket. Oh yeah, and we want it to be as cheap as possible. We acquired a couple of pallets. We Amanda painted and stained them. The paint was a couple of samples from Home Depot ($3 each) and a mistint from Benjamin Moore ($5).

Green!I built troughs for the water and clay balls that will hold the roots of the plants. We bought a 3 inch by 10 foot PVC pipe that we cut into about 17 inch segments. We used 3 inch PVC end caps and glued them with Christie’s Red Hot waterproof PVC glue. The pipe was under $10 and the end caps are about a buck a piece. Including the glue, we are up to about $35 so far.With the troughs glued, I drilled a few holes in each one so the nutrient rich water will drain from the top plant to the bottom ones. Then I made sure that they fit. It can’t be too snug, as we need our 1/4 inch microtubing to be able to go from the water pump in the reservoir (more on that later) up to the top plants.

snug!Mounting the pallets by yourself can be tricky. Especially if you aren’t sure where the studs are in your house. I used drywall screws with the plastic receivers, but I am not sure if the metal screws made it inside because I couldn’t see anything as I was screwing the pallets into the wall. So far, it has held up!mountingWe also found that it is easy to paint the pallets when they are mounted on the wall.pallet 1Screen shot 2013-02-28 at 12.21.45 PMScreen shot 2013-02-28 at 12.21.38 PMI have ordered a pump on Amazon and we are waiting for that to arrive and then we will find a reservoir. I will keep posting as the project progresses. Thanks for reading. Leave our comments below!