Experimental Vegetable gardening in Kosi Bay

Experimental Container Vegetable Gardening in Kosi Bay


Due to the poor quality of our soils in Kosi Bay we are forced to produce some of our greens in containers. Our best time for greens is in winter when the temperatures are not so extreme. We have been experimenting for a number of years with different containers and composting. Our containers are made by hand from recycled materials that we either have found in the area or get from other sources.

Our first container idea was to sew advertising banners into grow bags and containers that are placed above ground. We are still using these after a number of years so they have proved their longevity.

After finding some industrial grade off cut 250mm pipe we came up with the idea of splitting it into 1 meter sections and using that either as hanging gardens or as planters on the ground. The hanging planters work quite well as at ground level the plants are subject to insects eating them.

We are currently growing lettuce, beetroot, cabbage, carrots, basil, onions, chives, baby spinach and spinach we use most of this to fill in our salads with healthy organically grown greens.

Our growing substrate is a mixture of local sand peat swamp mud and composted materials. Even composting here can be a challenge as to do it well you need to have enclosed containers off the ground or the ants invade and it stays too dry to compost quickly. Although we are not doing this we do get some reasonable compost to mix into our medium.

We also have 2 worm bins and dilute the worm leechate and feed that to our plants. Although this is not the real worm tea it’s a good substitute for feeding our organic processes. When we feel energetic we turn over the worm bins and remove the castings which are then fed back to the planting medium. Our worm bins were made from what was available at the time and are only 2 tier systems so removing the castings is a rather time consuming process and does not happen that often. All our leaf matter and kitchen scraps that are suitable are fed to our worms that in turn provide us with liquid fertilizer and a clean method of disposal.

The next idea is to install drip irrigation into the containers so watering happens automatically and continually. This is important when your growing medium is so small in quantity as it can dry our rather quickly if you forget to water. If this happens the plants get stressed and are immediately attacked by the large number of hungry insects we have mostly grasshoppers. These little pests can level a tray of lettuce in a day. At times we have even seen them eat the leaves of chilli plants, that’s normally a plant you expect to be attacked, they have also been seen eating leaves on the tomato plants.

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