Raised Bed Gardens in 30 minutes

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My Grandaddy was a wiz in the garden. Each year for as long as I can remember, he’d work the land and turn out an abundance of fresh melons and vegetables that kept the entire family harvest happy! Even when he got “in a bad way” as we say around here, he still kept a small garden and took great pride in tending it and generously giving away the fruits of his labor. Sometimes I think he only grew a garden because he enjoyed giving things away so much. If you know anyone in my family you know that part is in our blood, we love to give things to people.

I’ve never put in a garden like he did but I’ve always grown tomatoes in buckets on my back porch just like he showed me how to do. This year though, I decided to expand my container gardening enterprise and detail exactly how I am doing that for all of you. I plan on posting progress reports as the summer goes on and would love to hear from you about your gardening efforts as well!

As a novice gardener with limited time and resources, a raised bed garden is ideal for many reasons.

Benefits of Raised Bed Gardens:

  • If you have back trouble or any problems bending over, raise bed gardens are the perfect solution. You can even place these on a tabletop or a raised platform to ease the need to bending over. Or, place them on the ground like I have and just put a chair out beside them.
  • Raised beds help defeat the problem of burrowing pests and also have less pests in general.Weeds are much easier to control as you are beginning with weed free soil
  • If your native soil doesn’t drain well or is not as vegetable friendly (sand, hard clay, etc), raised beds offer up a perfect solution
  • Raised beds allow you to have a productive garden in limited space. You can put a kiddie pool on a back porch, on top of an old table, on a balcony, rooftop, even a sidewalk!
  • These are great for water conservation. Holes are drilled on the sides two inches up from the bottom to allow needed drainage but water is retained longer in the bottom of the pool so that it helps to keep plants from drying out as soon as they would if planted in the ground where water was allowed to seep further down.

Why I Chose To Make My Gardens In Kiddie Pools

My ideal raised bed garden would have a wood frame, about 4 feet by 4 feet or two 2 by 4 feet frames and be twelve inches deep. However, there exist among us three types of women.

Type 1 : Declares that she wants a raised bed garden. She writes up a list of supplies, goes to the store and gathers them, comes home and builds it. (You go, girl!)

Type 2: Declares that she wants a raised bed garden. She batts her lashes at various individuals who step forward to build it for her with gladness in their hearts at being able to do such a task on her behalf (meet my sister).

Type 3: Declares that she wants a raised bed garden and hears crickets. She begs and pleads for a raised bed garden to be built and hardly an eyebrow raises. She extols the virtues of a raised bed garden to the rooftops and …is told that they sell tomatoes and bell peppers at nearby grocery stores.

You guessed it folks, Yours truly is a Type 3 gal!

Since I am completely lacking in builder gal skills…We’re going to have to do this the easy way.

And THIS is how I made THREE raised bed gardens from start to finish in under thirty minutes.

Supplies:

  • Kiddie Pools -I am using two 60 inch pools which are roughly 12 inches deep and one 45 inch pool which is about seven inches deep
  • Drill with 1/2 inch or 1 inch bit
  • Bottom material: Mulch, peat moss, or hay ( whichever is least expensive and easiest for you to find. I used pine mulch. It was about two dollars a bag at wal mart). Some people suggest using gravel on the bottom but my gardening gurus (A.K.A. Shane Jordan and Del Olds) say that your roots do better if you have one of the three things I have listed instead. They absorb moisture and your roots tend to gravitate towards them whereas they just don’t go as deep with rocks.
  • Good gardening soil. I used Jungle Growth Gardening Soil and ended up using two forty pounds bags for each large pool and one forty pound bag for the small one
  • Little extra fertilizer (optional). I used Black Kow compost manure and just stirred about a fourth of a bag into each pool garden.
  • Top soil – this is what I used as an additional filler (saves money) For the large pools I used two bags and one for the small pool.
  • Mulch to go on top (on one pool I tried out pine needles as they are all over the place). I ended up with lots of leftover mulch so I used that on the rest. You need this to help keep weeds down later but at the start I put it on top of my plants because we were expecting a lot of hard rain and I wanted to protect them from erosion. I used 1/2 a bag for the small pool and 1 whole for each of the large pools. Once they come in better I will mulch more. Doing this will not only help with weeds but will also help retain moisture by slowing down the evaporation on top of the soil. Gardening Guru Shane also puts down a couple of layers of news paper and wets them before the mulch to keep the weeds from coming through BUT notes that you should only do this after your plants have sprouted up well and are growing well above the soil.

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Begin by drilling holes, about two inches from the bottom, around the sides of your pool.

I drilled them at twelve inch intervals (I just estimated) and my holes are done with a one inch bit.

(I put a little mulch in my pool so you could see the hole)

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Put an inch or two of mulch (or hay or peat moss) in the bottom of your pool.

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Top that off with your gardening soil.

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And here is the easy way to do that… I cut my 40 pound bag of dirt open with my shovel and shoveled it into the pool until the bag was light enough for me to easily lift. Then I poured the rest of the dirt in.

In gardening, as in cooking, easy is good. :)

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Then I put about 1/4 of a bag of Black Kow compost into the pool.

(That’s how it is spelled on the bag. For pride’s sake, I feel the need to assure you that I know how to spell c-o-w)

I just cut my bag open with the shovel same as before and shoveled a bit in there, then I stirred it up a bit to distribute it throughout.

From there, I added about twenty pounds of topsoil. Topsoil is very cheap. I paid a little over a dollar a bag for it at Wally World.

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I put in my plants according to the directions on each one.

These are cantaloupes and I likely have far too many but I’m just going to let them run over the pool and grow along the ground.

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We’re expecting some hard rain and I’m worried about it washing away the soil around my plants before they have time to get rooted so I added some pine needles around the top to help protect the soil from the force of the rain. Once they come in better, I’m going to cover the top more fully with pine needles or mulch to help keep weeds down. When I got done with my other gardens, I ended up with an excess of mulch so I used that on the tops instead of the needles.

At our new house, pine needles are in abundance so I wanted to experiment with using something I had available.

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These gardens are so nice because they are such an easy to manage size. This is Katy watering the smallest garden with our watering can. Right now the kids are fighting over who gets to water what garden. We’ll see if that holds up!

I let them each have a say in planting one thing. Brady chose cantaloupes and Katy chose carrots. Tomatoes were my first choice because they are so widely used in cooking and incredibly easy to put up in the freezer or for canning. Fried green tomatoes will be a wonderful treat soon, too! I’ll show you how I put up my vegetables as they begin to come in. There is nothing at all like tomatoes from your own garden to put into wintertime stews and other dishes!

Bell Peppers are another favorite of mine but almost a dollar each to buy! Like tomatoes, they are very easy to put up as well so the two of those should prove to be a money saving crop for me.

I’ll try to get you some pictures of us with the large gardens soon so you can have a better perspective of their size.

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This is four tomato plants with carrots planted around the outer edge.

I prefer to start my plants indoors from seeds but due to moving, I opted for buying plants this year.

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Bell peppers in the center with Vidalia onions going around the outer edge.

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My three gardens. Start to finish, the entire project was done in under thirty minutes.

Although it took me about ten minutes to get all of my plants in :).

There is plenty of space in between them for the lawn mower but surprisingly, they are also easy to move around still.

I’ve seen some people say these will last for five or six years but I’m thinking three or four tops until they become brittle and need replacing.

All in all, nice little gardens and very little trouble! I can’t imagine an easier way. I’ll keep you posted all summer on how they are coming along. Hopefully, having Southern Plate readers to answer to will keep me motivated when I really don’t want to go outside in the Alabama summer heat!

Price breakdown:

Small Kiddie Pool – free (was under my back porch from last year but normally costs $10)

5 FT Kiddie Pools – $15 each (check now to see if anyone is giving these away from last year. They get cracks in them but would be perfect for a garden still!)

Mulch – 3 bags at $2.50 (approx) per bag

Jungle Growth Garden Soil – 5 bags at Approx $7 per bag

Top Soil – 5 bags at $1.24 per bag

Total cost for three raised bed gardens:

Minus $10 off coupon I used at Lowe’s =68.70

Approximate cost of a small pool garden would be: $20.74

Approximate cost of a large pool garden would be: $33.98

Note: I found it was cheaper to buy mulch and top soil at Wal Mart although I purchased my garden soil at Lowes because I had a coupon to use there to get $10 off.

I did math for y’all again. If this ain’t love, I don’t know what is!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We’re FINALLY going to be living in our new house as of this weekend! We’ve been moving slowly but school activities have been so incredibly busy lately (where is the second wife when you need one?). Friday my in laws are coming over from Georgia as well as my brother and sister in law and their two young ones to help us move. Its going to be an exhausting weekend but well worth the trouble! We’re so grateful to have all of the help!

Of course, I am spending my time fretting over what to feed everyone instead of packing.. ~grins~

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Gratefully,

Christy :)

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Comments

  1. Teri in Hartselle AL says

    And you were worried that someone would think you couldn’t spell cow……I was worried you had been chasing a black cow around for it’s donation to your garden.

    I looked at the big pools today at Fred’s discount store, I buy them for my 3 labs in the back yard.

    Have fun moving! :]

      • Jennifer Parker says

        Hello Christy, my name is Jennifer and have never had a gardon before but hope to have one this weekend :) I have one big kiddie pool and one small one that I wish to plant corn in the big one and I’m not sure what I want in the little one yet maybe my tomatos I started in water jugs. I live in Tampa Florida and was hoping you may be able to tell me a little more about your kiddie pool gardons and how they are doing. Is corn a good thing to plant in them? well hope to hear from you soon and Thank you for you time. Jennifer Parker.

          • Jennifer Parker says

            hello again Christy, my kiddie pools still wait for me to plant something in them lol but I did use a large plastic storage bin/ tote and screwed it to the top of a broken chair for my cherry tomatoes and that is working out great. they have bloomed so much:) but I had to move them to the side of my house do to strong winds and now ants have found their way in to my plants and are attacking the base of them what should I use to get rid of them? I was using a old home remedies of down dish detergent and water in a spray bottle but that’s not working on them so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated lol there are so many things out there I have no idea which one works. Thank you again for your advice and looking forward to hearing back from you. sincerely Jennifer Parker.

  2. BillGent says

    That’s such an informative article Christy. I’ve learned a lot. The price breakdowns are very helpful since money is so tight now days, Thank you. I think a raised bed garden would be great for my dad this year. At 83 he doesn’t bend so good. (not that I’ve tried to bend him..Gumby, he’s not)

    You Rule!

  3. says

    This is AWESOME! The husbeast :) built mine this year, from 4×4 cedar posts and rebar. 8×8 foot bed cost $37 :) I might have to try a kiddie pool raised bed for the pumpkins we’ll be planting this summer!
    Best of luck with your baby plants!

  4. Su says

    I just got your email update. I’m sitting here at work and I see the little new mail icon came up and I’m thinking “oh I hope it’s not another client” and I see it’s you, so then I think, isn’t it reeeeally late where Christy is? ;)

    Honestly, I’ve come across so many new ideas just from reading SP. I had never even heard of the upside down tomato plants until a couple weeks ago. I’m not a big gardener, but my mum is and she grows a lot in her garden but I definitely want to try out the tomato plants when it comes to tomato season (which I’ll have to google to find out because I don’t know when it is!)

    Have fun in your new house. It’s hectic, but exciting. I’m moving myself in a few weeks. I was actually at my house last night after work finishing all the painting so that it’s done before the guys come in to do the flooring.

    • says

      Hey! You know lots of folks grow upside down tomatoes. I’ve just always grown mine in a bucket on the back porch but I hear it is really neat! If you are interested in more info, tipnut.com should have all the stuff you need, just do a search there.

      I hope your move goes well! I know you’re excited!
      I can’t wait til you get to the states!!!!

  5. Sandra Corum says

    I love your website. When my new neighbors were moving in, I picked up a couple of family packs from the local BBQ. (Sent paper plates, cups, etc.) Your brother might bring it when he comes. Make it simple until you get everything moved, then you can whip them us a nice meal.
    Hint: If someone else is going to be loading your cabinets, take a minute and plan where you want things to go ( spices, canned goods, dishes) Put a post-it note on the outside of the cabinet. This allows someone else to help and leave up for a few days so you can remember where everything is.

  6. Steph says

    I am type #1 – but only due to sheer boredom :)
    About three weeks ago a storm toppled several ancient oaks in the neighborhood and we found ourselves without power for 3 days. So the girls and myself made 5 raised bed gardens and placed them along our fence. We have plants ‘o plenty already. The construction project was actually wonderful, I learned that when teens are not anxious over which TV program to watch or if it’s their turn on the computer/video game they can be very laid back and enjoyable.

      • Steph says

        Ugghhh! We have garden thieves! The super cute furry and feathered kind! So far the critters have been having a “field day” in my box gardens :( Its funny, I never saw a chipmunk in my yard until the strawberries started to ripen. Now little Chip or Dale has my berries in his belly and I’m just sad. The birds are pecking away the broccoli and collards. HELP!!!!!!!!

  7. says

    I put in 3 raised beds this year too – not the pool variety though! Clever. I’ve been blogging about my experiences from the beginning – bugs and all. Mine are the square foot plotted type though. Hope you don’t have the bugs we do down here. Ugh. It’s been a struggle but it’s been fun blogging about it and sharing my ups and downs!

    Gosh, you have so much goin’ on right now – so blessed! Have a great weekend gal.

    • says

      I gotta go dig up your garden posts! (pun intended coz I’m so clever and all that ~winks~)

      I haven’t been able to do much blog reading lately and I’m slacking now, hiding out in my bedroom to respond to some of these. I hope I don’t get caught!
      ~scoots a box closer to her and pulls something out of it so she can pretend she is packing at a moment’s notice~

  8. says

    Oh, Christy! I am so incredibly excited about seeing your garden grow this summer! My hubby has said he will build a raised bed for me, but in the meantime I have cucumbers in containers and tomatoes in a topsy turvy grower – have you see one of those? Your tomato plants grow out of the bottom of a hanging bag basically. I’ll share a picture on my blog soon.

    Can’t wait to watch your garden!!

  9. Mary says

    Hi Christy! Please come and share my birthday today…and Thank you so much for the lovely gifts your emails bring! I love reading all your sentences, just the way they are written brings your charm and laughter to my heart.
    From my walk in closet kitchen, with appliances, right out to my kiddie pool raised bed gardens [that someone is going to build for me [batting eyelashes, yes, northern girls can manage that too], I will share the wishes on my birthday candles with you because you make my day sparkle….Mary
    ps…today I am treating myself to a cookbook…a ‘tomefrommegift’ thats exactly what I want!
    Mary
    I was born a Wednesday’s Child…but today I get to be ‘reborn’ on Thursday and that takes ‘woe’ and gives it ‘far to go’. If you don’t know that little poem…I hope you look it up, because I wrote so much about it, and I am invited out for pancakes this morning, which means…I have to go…
    Mary from Mary’s Tea Room at Taste of Home

    • says

      HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARY!!!!

      Happy Happy Happy Happy
      Birthday, BIRTHDAY!
      Happy Happy Happy Happy
      Birthday, BIRTHDAY!

      Happy happy happy
      happy happy happy happy
      HAPPY
      BIRTHDAY
      To
      YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      That is the Happy Birthday song from Bear in the Big Blue House!

      I hope you are having the most wonderful birthday of all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      ~HUGS you so tight your back pops!~

      Can you give me a link to your home on the web? I’d love to come visit you!

      Gratefully,
      Christy

  10. Angela says

    LOL!!!! I love that you came up with the idea of using pools. I’m going to pass this on to a few friends that live in town. We live on a farm and have a 35′ x 35′ garden and another one in the works for the corn and watermelons. Good luck and I can’t wait to see the end results.

    Have a blessed day!

    • says

      OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOh corn!!! I got some fresh corn the other day and made it for supper. There is NOTHING like it!!! SO JEALOUS OF YOU! lol

      I hope I stick with this gardening thing so I can justify doing a bigger one next year!

      Gratefully,
      Christy

    • says

      Thank YOU!!!

      My daughter kept saying “mama, what are we gonna swim in if you keep putting dirt in them all?”
      Fortunately, where we are moving there is a large recreation park almost across the street that has an indoor heated and an outdoor pool along with the most amazing playground and walking trails! The kids are going to love it!

  11. says

    I think that the kiddie pool thing is a GREAT idea! I did a garden exactly ONCE – I got too ambitious, and then bailed. LOL
    These I think I could handle…if I keep it down to one. :)
    I like the idea of putting it up on a table top too.
    (I swear you are a genius!!) Batting my eyelashes at my husband would probably work (he loves working with his tools) but he just doesn’t have time sometimes since he is gone so much that it would get put off forever. These I could do myself and feel like I actually ACCOMPLISHED something.

    • says

      Giiiirrrrl you sound like me with the bailing thing! That is why I am starting small. I love gardening and the fruits of the labor and all but come mid july in Alabama, the best of us wimp out in this heat and humidity! lol I plan on taking NUMEROUS showers!

      Your husband clearly loves you more than mine does me! I guess we’ve been married too long and I’ve made it too easy on him. I did like that I did these myself although I did manage to con him into hauling all of the dirt from the car to the spot though!

  12. Karen says

    A few years ago, my husband built a raised bed so we could grow leaf lettuce. We love wilted lettuce. We kept it covered to keep it clean. The next year I planted tomatoes and peppers, but the deer would keep eating the young plants. I tried all the tricks people told me to repel the deer. This year the deer haved even ate my day lilies and nipped at my hen & chicks. (Their hoof prints were there). Anyhow, I hope you don’t have deer problems. There is nothing quite like home grown vegetables. Tomatoes are my favorite. I love gardens! Hope you have good luck with yours.

    • says

      Bless your heart! Bad Bambi!!

      I don’t imagine we’d have deer where we are. The lot is actually very private but its right in the middle of the city and on a very busy road. Honestly though, I think it would be worth sacrificing a garden to get to see one in my back yard ~sigh~

      I really should have lived on a farm…

      Now I hope I don’t eat my words!!!

  13. Xasora says

    Oh, I love container gardening! Most of my adult-hood has been spent in an apartment in a large complex, which means that I have next to no growing space! It’s amazing how many plants you can put onto a small porch if they are in containers. Plus you can move them around so each one gets enough sunlight. :)

    Before you go buy kiddie pools, put a request on your local freecycle group(s)! Once they get cracks, they’re no good for swimming in, but perfect for gardening.

    • says

      Brilliant idea! I belong to three freecycle groups but so far haven’t seen any kiddie pools on them. However, I’m keeping my eyes open now for next year (expansion). I did get some baby mollies for my aquarium off one once though…

      Maybe some of y’all will get lucky and get some free pools!

  14. says

    i’m wondering how the plants/roots do there. raised beds still allows the plants to sink their roots in the dirt underneath. i also wonder if this plastic is safe enough to grow food in.

    but i think this is a brilliant idea and i look forward to seeing how it goes for you.

    • says

      Hey Maya!! For tomatoes, I kept them to the larger pools. I actually think they are about fifteen inches deep. All of the books I’ve read on container and raised bed gardens state that if you have them twelve inches deep you can grow anything you like (pretty much).

      I’ve been growing in plastic buckets for years. I have no worries myself about growing in this plastic but if you have concerns I am sure you could find something on the web about it.A lot of community gardens and retirement homes are starting to use kiddie pools for gardening as well.

      By the way, Zasha is absolutely gorgeous! I love how you are gathering things to begin spinning. Are you homesteading? That is a goal of mine…mini homesteading or homesteading so far as is practical for me right now :).

      Gratefully,
      Christy

  15. Shane C. says

    This is a great idea for those that rent! (Like me! lol)

    I hate planting anything and If I ever move, leaving It behind and having to start all over at the new place. (I usually don’t dig anything back up once It’s firmly planted.)This would be so easy to pick up and move If that ever happens.

    I also like this I don’t have a huge back yard and this would be a great way to do some gardening! Definitely gotta have me some maters!hehe

    Awesome tip Christy! Keep them coming! :)

    • says

      Hey Shane!!!! Thank you so much! Yes, I was really surprised at how portable these things are! I was thinking that if I was handier, I could put them on wooden pallets with wheels on the bottom and pretty much drag them all over the place. My husband and I were actually able to lift one of the large ones up and move it around though, so thats pretty neat for convenience sake.

      I imagine if I moved and had to leave my garden it would be heartbreaking! If you had the little one though, you could just stick it in the back of a truck!

      Thank you so very much for reading! you keep reading, I’ll keep a writin’!

      Gratefully,
      Christy

  16. Karen says

    Christy,

    What a great idea and relatively easy! Too bad we didn’t see this before we did a raised bed garden this year. Well, I wanted to do containers with a couple of tomato plants and some herbs, but hubby suggested a raised bed. Who was I to object?! So we now have a 3′x6′ raised bed planted with tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplant, zucchini, oregano and basil. All the rain here has made the veggie plants very happy. Hopefully we will be able to keep the chipmunks and bugs at bay and actually get some vegetables from the garden. Good luck with your gardens and of course, with your move. Enjoy your new home!
    Karen

    • says

      HEY! Your garden sounds fabulous and you got me wanting to plant more things now!!! lol

      They are calling me to load some things so I have to hurry and finish the rest of my comment answering but wanted to thank you so much!!! I can’t wait to wake up Sunday morning in MY NEW HOUSE!!! WEEEEEEEE

  17. Kathy says

    Hey there Christy. I had thought about the pool idea before, but I didn’t have any luck the last two years planting my tomatoes in large containers. I thought that there just wasn’t enough room for the roots and that was why they didn’t do very well. Do you think that the pool is deep enough for tomatoes because I was reading that the roots of the tomatoes need to go deep? thanks, Kathy

    • says

      Hey Kathy!

      I’m sorry you didn’t have luck with your tomatoes! I’ve always planted them in buckets and they thrived while being fairly well neglected by me (giggle). I read in my container gardening and raised bed garden books (and talked to my experts) and they all said as long as there are twelve inches of soil, tomatoes will do just fine. It’s important as well to not have gravel in the bottom but rather choose mulch, peat moss, or hay in order to attract the roots to go all the way down.

      Have your neighbors had any luck with tomatoes?

      Gratefully,
      Christy

  18. Brittany says

    My aunt showed us her raised garden last month and I’ve been bugging my husband to make one for us on our tiny apartment patio. Maybe using the pool will get us to actually make one….

  19. Joe says

    I just want to warn folks to be careful if you use hay or manure from animals that eat hay. In my neck of the woods , Texas , most people who raise hay treat their fields with a weed killer. Graze-on is one of the most widely used brands. If you use this hay or manure from a cow that eats this hay you will make the soil unfit for anything. I found out the hard way. I put it on a garden that was 70 X 100 feet and all my plants that had green leaves one day looked like ‘tater chips on pipe cleaners the next.

    • says

      Great points Joe, thank you so much!!!
      Y’all, read Joe’s comment

      I don’t know enough about compost, manure, and all that to trust myself (or to gather it myself) so I just purchased it in a bag at Lowes. That way I know it is ready to go in the garden!

      I don’t have ready access to hay either but you made an excellent point for those who may use it!

      I really appreciate you commenting!
      Gratefully,
      Christy

  20. says

    Great idea! I just planted a garden along my fence line for the first time EVER… I”m so excited! My pour little cantaloupe plant doesn’t look so good today. I should go and get some mulch to go around them. I never thought of that and I love the idea of the newspaper under it….
    Thanks Christy! You have blessed me again! I’m praying for a great weekend and easy move and settling in.

  21. Jennifer says

    Ok so this is wonderful! When we bought our new house over a year ago, we thought that we would never be able to have a garden there because the back yard and the front yard are on a slope. But after seeing this…I am so getting my garden again! You are such an angel! Thank you!!!

  22. says

    Christy:
    As always I am inspired by you and Southern Plate! I have never had any luck with tomato plants, but am going to make myself a container garden, too! yippee!

    Do you fertilize them at all during the season?

    xxx
    Paula

  23. says

    I think it’s a wonderful idea…I would take it one step further. Because I’m the way I am…I would have bought some brown or rust color spray paint or primer and painted them all a wood or natural color so it doesn’t look so much like swimming pools! LOL We’re a military family and entertain ALOT in the summer…but other than that I LOVE it. You’re so clever.

    Thanks for the idea! I’m gonna use it for sure!!!
    Abby

  24. says

    Oh my that is ingenious! We are city dwellers and I have a patio. I’ve been trying to figure out how to have a garden and here it is! Our planting season is past (we are also in the desert), but I will definitely be doing this for a winter garden.

    I’d love to see how you do tomatoes in buckets — those would be perfect for my patio!

  25. Melody says

    My husband would love to be a farmer, but we don’t have the property or equipment necessary for him to make a living from it. So he makes do by having a large garden every year and has recently added a chicken coop. The last time I counted, there were 29 tomato plants in his garden but there could be more by now. He’s also the one who does all the canning and freezing, so I count myself very lucky! And he mixes in rows of flowers from seed among the vegetables, which I think is sweet … it’s always a beautiful and productive garden.

    • says

      Hey Wesley!

      When I was looking the Athens Wal Mart and the Wal Mart in Madison were both out. I found plenty at the Wal Mart on 72, over near Madison Square Mall. Also, many Dollar Generals have the small size. The Dollar General Market on Old Madison Pike in Madison has them inside the store. I’m going to email this information to you as well so I make sure you get it!

      Gratefully,
      Christy :)

  26. Tom Powderly says

    love your site, reminds me of mom’s cookin

    A twist on your garden in 20 minutes: See the picture with the bag of potting soil cut open?.. stop there, just make an X on it, plug in a plant, and poke a hole or two in the bottom of the bag for drains. I rented a cottage once and had a garden like that on the stone driveway. At end of season, pull out the plants, shake out the dirt, throw away the bags and move on :) The Brit’s call this ‘bag gardening’.

  27. says

    My Mother lives in an area where the soil isn’t that good. So she has about 10 or 12 pools in her back yard with her garden it in. We love this idea because we can control it better, living in Arizona it can be a challenge to get almost anything to grow. I live on a military base and because we have to stay mobile we have just one smaller 4 foot pool and the rest of the garden is in pots. Glad to see someone else is using this idea!

  28. teresa s. says

    hey christy, was just wondering if you had an update on the raised garden beds. mine have not done as well as i had hoped. love your website and have just ordered your cookbook
    teresa s.

  29. Danny A. says

    I saw in a magazine a neat way to do ‘raised beds’. Take a straw bale, spread a bag or two of potting soil on top, plant your plants and water them. The roots will grow into the straw. Just remember to water these self draining gardens. :o)

    Nice in that you can put a garden anywhere there is sun.

  30. Carla says

    Loving your emails!!!!!!!!!!

    As to what are we planting in the garden: Tomatoes, different kinds of peppers, lettuce and we will have blackberries and strawberries this year. Yeah!! Had blackberries last year and hoping to have even more this year. Tame blackberries get very large. Our apple trees are loased with blooms right now.

    80 degrees today but dropping down in the 60′s for the highs for the next few days. Hmmm we must live in Kansas-ha

    -Carla in Kansas

  31. Annarose says

    Christy, are you doing wading pool gardens again? We bought our pools and supplies today! Two big and one little. I’ve been planning them for a while so am pretty excited. The big pools wouldn’t fit in our Explorer and my husband considered making me carry them home (we live a mile from the store and I make the walk regularly) but he called a friend with a truck instead :) How funny would it be to see a lady carrying two giant turquoise pools down a 4 lane road? Maybe I could have rolled ‘em! Anyway, I’m taking a break from preparing my gardens (also planted all my flowers today) but am super excited. Have to wait until next weekend to plant the veggies though. I’m going to try cherry tomatoes, big tomatoes, zucchini, basil, strawberries and peas.

    • says

      We are doing raised bed gardens but I’m just doing tomatoes this year as I have precious little sunshine in our yard due to the beautiful pine trees so I can’t grow that much and am giving all of my space to tomatoes – yum! Plus, our rabbits eat everything else but have yet to develop a taste for tomatoes, thank goodness! Your garden sounds wonderful! I hope you’ll post pics when you get it in and update us on the progress!

  32. Sharon says

    This would be so nice for green onions. I find the worms always get mine. Have yet to find a way to get the cut worms out of the garden. So maybe taking the onions out of the garden would work.

    I love your site. have now been looking at it off and on for 2 days. I don`t bother to close it just go do other stuff then come back to it. Right now I am going to watch a program I taped last night so I could go to bed and not miss it. I knitt while I watch tv and I have this felted bag I want to get done sooooo I need to get away from you for a bit. *smiles*

  33. Cindy Rossman says

    I think this is a really great idea. I am going to try and grown strawberries this year using this method. I would like to find a couple different sizes of pools and have a 3 tier strawberry patch. Thank you for the wonderful idea!!

  34. Hanna Triplett says

    Hi Christie!!!
    I found this on google this morning and went out and bought everything!! Last year I grew lettuce in old twin wash tubs and it worked great but I want to expand my garden….I am going to do tomatoes and lettuce in my pool! I can’t wait to see how it goes!! Thanks for posting this!

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