Simplicity by Choice

Off-Grid Living & Self-Reliance

Cherry Tomatoes in a Hanging Planter April 26, 2012

Filed under: gardening,green living,homesteading,simplicity — ourprairiehome @ 6:09 pm

We love the small cherry or grape tomatoes.  In summer, they are used often for snacking as well as in salads.  There are the “upside down” planters made for tomatoes that you can find in the stores, but here is the low cost way that I do it.

  Materials Needed:

hanging planter with natural mesh lining

pony pack of 6 cherry tomato plants

potting mix



To make the planter, I first made a inch long tear in the bottom of the planter and 5 more spaced evenly around the sides.  Gently push the root ball of the little plants through each hole from the outside towards the inside of the planter “bowl.”    I pulled the roots and stems through until the first set of leaves was touching the outside of the planter.  This will result in all that stem becoming part of the plant’s root system.

After arranging all 6 plants through the holes, I filled the planter bowl with potting mix.  Give the plants a good watering and hang in a sunny location on your porch.  I placed ours under the eaves on the south side of our porch which gets a lot of light in the summer.

Hanging the cherry tomatoes in a planter like this is very easy and far less expensive than using the store bought versions.  The wire frame of the planter can be reused each year, with only the liner being replaced as necessary.

Trying this method can give even the urban dwellers an option on how to grow fresh tomatoes even in an apartment building as long as you have a sunny porch or balcony.



Gardening on the Cheap April 11, 2012

Filed under: gardening,green living,homesteading,old fashioned — ourprairiehome @ 6:07 pm

I am finding that the old ways are often so much smarter than the modern.  Gardening in a good example.  In my Grandm’s generation they rarely bought new seed each year for their gardens.  They saved seeds each year from their garden to use in the next season’s plantings.

I purchase open pollinated organic seeds for my garden.  These seeds are very much like those previous generations used.  We plant only the foods that we eat regularly.  It makes no sense to plant a lot of cabbage, for example, if you only eat it once a month or so.

When I was growing up, we would use or can up for the pantry the harvest all throughout the summer.  The last picking, which is typically the smallest amount, would be allowed to go to seed.  Green beans and peas would fill the pods and be allowed to dry on the plant.  When brown and dry, the pods were picked and shelled to store for next season.  Melon seeds were saved when we ate the melons.  The same was done with tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, and many others.

What it boils down to is that once you make that initial organic seed purchase, you can start saving seeds with that first planting and avoid having to buy seeds in the future.



Garden Idea April 5, 2012

Filed under: gardening,green living,homesteading — ourprairiehome @ 5:59 pm

I am developing a real enjoyment for YouTube.  I found that there is much to learn from that website.  A while back, a friend on Facebook sent me a link to a very unique raised bed garden made from old pallets.

The raised bed garden is entirely made from old pallets that you can often find for free at lumber yards or other locations.  The garden is waist high, yet thedepth of the planting box is adjustable to the depth you need.  Setting them up in a row as they do in the video can make a nice fence line.

I am considering setting up a raised bed garden like that in my back yard where the in ground garden used to be.  It will get full sun and should do well there.  I will start with only a few beds to see how they do.  If all goes well, I will add more each year until I have as many beds as I need for both my vegetables and herbs.