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Want to start a small box garden in fall with almost 3yo DD!

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hi mamas,


This is such an awesome sub forum, I didn't even know it exisited. Of course it does! I am very interested in growing a garden with my almost 3yo this fall. I completely suck at gardening and am on a pretty tight budget so I need to do this inexpensively. I'm not a green thumb in ANY sense of the word. But I really want to grow some food and do this with my daughter. My mom did this with me and my siblings and I have very fond memories of it. Any help is much appreciated!


I have basil and oregano in their original plastic containers. The oregano appears to be dying. Not sure how to save it? I want to transfer to a box but not sure how?


—I live in So Cal. which is in Zone: 9B.

—I don't have dirt, so I'll need to get some boxes to plant in. Any ideas on how to do that inexpensively? Where do I even start?

—I'd love to grow salad mixes, herbs, spinach, kale, beans. Are there any fruits would do well in the fall?

—What grows fast this season which would be good to start with? I'm a total noob.

post #2 of 7

I think that in So Cal even, most of the good gardening action will be in the spring. BUT, that doesn't mean you can't start now...


Do you have a good gardening resource center near you? They are often the best for local ideas on when and what to plant - stores (especially good ones) typically only carry plants that are ready to plant NOW. 


Do you have a good outside area for your potted plants? 

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hrmm... maybe I should wait till spring then? I'd love to get some lettuces going though, as those are fall veggies right? I also love to roast root veggies with herbs. I'd love to grow a few meals!


I'm mostly curious as to where people buy their boxes. I bet online would be MUCH MUCH cheaper. I think I will talk to my local gardener at Armstrong and see what they have to say... any suggestions though are much appreciated!

post #4 of 7

Oh, no, you CAN start now...it's just that most the buzz is in the spring, even in Southern CA. You may find some great sales if you want to start now. 


You'll have to be more descriptive about what sort of container gardening you want to do because there's HUGE variation there. If you want a large space, you may well want to build your own. There are plans galore out there. 


There is a small container called the Earth Box that sounds super popular - expensive though. 

post #5 of 7

Look into square foot gardening. It's basically gardening in 4 foot by 4 foot by minimum six inch boxes divided into sixteen square feet.  It is supposed to use Mel's mix (Mel being the guy who wrote the book) which is 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 compost, and 1/3 vermiculite and can work out to less money than traditional potting mix (but not always, depends on the price of potting soil and the price of components).  There is a book just titled Square Foot Gardening which your library might have and a lot of information online which can be useful to small gardening even if you don't go with that method . 


Also check your library for books on gardening specific to your area, and look online for garden bloggers or forums.  I live in a very cold climate now, but I grew up in Oregon, and even there my mother was able to garden pretty much year round.  In the winter it would mostly be kale and other hardier greens.  


There are lot of cheap/free containers available if you get creative. Try freecycle or thrift shops for old rubbermaid storage bins (the shorter kined work better) and old baby bathtubs with flat bottoms, just punch some holes in the bottom for drainage.  You can grow some things in the large size of coffee cans.  There are instructions online for growing verticle gardens in pallets that have been stood upright, or some people garden in old tires.  Greens and many other things do just fine in pretty shallow containers (though you may need to water more often).  For tomatoes and things that need larger ones, five gallon buckets, which you can often get for free, work well.  


Salad mixes can be a pain because when stuff is first coming up it can be hard to tell what is a weed and what is mean to be there when the seedlings all look different.  I prefer to plant just one variety of lettuce/green for each container or area so that the seedlings all look the same.  


Strawberries are my kids' favorites to grow.  You can get seeds on Ebay pretty cheaply for unusual varieties like bright red or purple carrots, golden beets (I prefer them just for the stain factor; just as yummy as the red ones, but without the ruined clothing), and bright purple cauliflower.  

post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

Ooooh such great ideas! I love the tire idea, and coffee cans. Duh! I have a large space that's all terra cotta colored stepping stones, my DH says I'll have a 5ft x 5ft area. I have no grass, and am concerned about irrigation. We are near mountnains so it gets HOT here.


Good sales was what I was thinking... I saw this blog and it's inspired me. I sort of want to do something like it. I just wish I could find these fab wine crates easily:


post #7 of 7

That should be VERY easy to accomplish. Even that irrigation system they have should be fairly affordable. Good luck and have fun! 

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