Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Green Fingers: Gutter Gardens

You may remember my post about where they had this really lovely idea of using unusual objects to grow vegetables in. So I got a few helpful individuals involved ( ie - men and boys - who likes to fiddle with drills and bits and hacksaws anyway?  If you do, don't mind me but I love playing the helpless woman in distress card at this point including : wheel changes, heavy bags, hammering, fixing and lifting and in fact anything else that they fall for -oops, volunteer for;))

So here's what we were hoping for: (be warned ours didn't finish off quite so tidy but its a work in progress)
We got all the bits together: the flowers and herbs

 I just love being able to pick and choose and my husband is always incredibly generous and patient.  Then the team arrived, to do the hard stuff!
There was lots of measuring and cutting to start. 
With the help of Grandpa Jim the brackets were put up against the wall.

And as a retired engineer everything was measured and spaced perfectly. (see my reasoning in letting them do it - I don't think I would have got it looking this good!)  And there goes the first one, real team work.
With a quick celebratory photo for the first one done. Not sure what Ruthie did, maybe ate the nuts and bolts but she was determined to get her moment in the spotlight.
Dad decided he was not to be outdone and wanted in on the action and in all fairness he did put most of the gutters, but this was a special time with Grandpa and so he got more media coverage.

With almost 9 gutters put up, I filled them three quarters full with 50% potting soil and 50% compost before planting my flowers and herbs.  Oh yes and because I am doing this late at night and forgot to mention that you have to drill holes at the bottom of the gutter for drainage, let me do this now.  If you are following this step by step you may now need to drill holes upside down with your neck stretched at a strange angle, but don't let it be said that I didn't mention it:)
Back to this rather professional (uhm step by step tutorial (sounds professional doesn't it?)
Aren't they just beautiful? The marigolds, for those of you that don't know, are supposedly a natural deterrent to bugs.  I don't want to have to use pesticides and prefer to find alternative ways to protect my plants.
I haven't taken a photo of all the gutters yet as they are not all ready.  We recently planted spring onions and spinach in some of them and they have just sprung some shoots but will post some photos soon.

Another hobby I have grown to love as part of the gardening process, is going to the dump.  Yes you heard me right, I go to our local dump and collect all the things that others like to throw away. 
At our dump, there are a group of entrepreneurs, who go through the rubbish and find things that are worth recycling and they charge you a small fee for the purchase.  They have become so well known that some community members just bring the things they want to get rid of, and give it to this recycling initiative so that they can make some money. 
This is what I did with 2 drawers that I bought for a massive R20 each.
Our balcony is really cold and there is a lot of salt air blowing on our plants all the time.  I have tried to plant indigenous plants and shrubs to ensure that they survive.  And they have done so well and grow abundantly with almost no attention. 
I have loved doing this part of our garden but am really looking forward to doing even more.  Who knows what I will find at the dump next week?

What new gardening ideas have you recently put into action in your garden.  I would love to hear from some of you.


  1. Sorry, no new ideas here-but I love yours.....please could you send that handy team around to assemble ours? We live just down the road :-) p.s actually I was thinking of growing strawberries in gutters like those this season, but you've inspired me to do more than that!

  2. i love this....maybe we should just leave the old gutter that fell off the roof ...and just attach it to the wall....

  3. LOL that really is so funny Jenny, though we did get some of our gutters from the dump for free as they can get quite pricey when you buy all the parts. It did make a big difference to our balcony and also helps when you have a small garden.

  4. Nikki, you should inbox me and let me know where you live? Strawberries would work well in there I am sure. I think creepers that grow over the side and hang also look lovely, I have just planted some because I quite like the idea of a waterfall effect!

  5. I've just seen this and am so inspired!


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