One of my neighbors threw out a stack of rigid plastic kiddie pools. If you're not lucky enough to stumble upon some free kiddie pools, you can find them for pretty cheap at most stores. These kiddie pools are about six inches deep and three feet in diameter -- big enough for a good-sized crop, small enough for me to reach across and garden.
You'll need to cut some drainage holes. I used a garden rake that had its prongs broken off. A utility knife would work as well. Make sure the metal part doesn't touch the handle or use pot holders to keep yourself from getting burned. Hold the tip over a gas burner for a few seconds so it gets hot enough to poke holes into the plastic. How many holes you poke depends on your climate. I only poked about a dozen holes because hot Southern California sunshine means I'm more concerned with retaining water than draining it.
*Sniffle.* Only one strawberry plant managed to survive my move. I also had some jalapeno and serrano peppers that had dried out in the fridge, so I buried them under soil and seedlings grew. Time to plant them properly!
I only planted two kiddie pools. Haven't decided if I'm going to plant more. I'd been using one for mixing compost and soil for planting my other containers. For 1 kiddie pool, you'll want to buy 1 cubic bag of mulch, 1 cubic bag of compost or container soil, and 1 cubic bag of steer manure.
I filled the bottom of each pool with compost from my Earth Machine compost bin. It doesn't matter if it's completely decomposed since it'll continue breaking down later. Notice the corn cob below? If you don't have a compost bin, layer the bottom with mulch for easier drainage. Save some of the mulch for the top.
Then add a layer of steer manure. Then top with compost soil. Then add mulch again to hold down the soil.
Plant whatever you wish. I've got about eight habanero peppers, eight tomatoes, jalapeno seedlings, one strawberry, and countless assorted acorn squash, pumpkin, okra, cucumber, lemon cucumber, leek, and dill seeds. If you're concerned about aesthetics, you can plant some flowers to dangle over the edges. But if you were really concerned about aesthetics, you wouldn't be gardening with a kiddie pool anyway. ;)
Of course, crazy me had to decide to do this on a 97-degree day! Nonetheless, the soil stayed pretty moist and my habaneros held up to the heat.
I think I lost a tomato plant or two to the heat. I've got two kinds - early girl and big boy. It's a tomato battle of the sexes! Who will win? The last time I planted both in my old garden, big boy won. But that's because almost every other tomato was eaten by gigantic caterpillars the size of my finger!
Anyway, if you don't want to commit to real gardening, or you don't have much space, you can make a kiddie pool garden too.
Other garden updates. Updates on the kiddie pool garden:
1 year ago today, Chao/Doufu Ru (Vietnamese/Chinese Fermented Bean Curd).
2 years ago today, Egg Rolls Stuffed with Bananas and Mangoes with Nutella Dipping Sauce.