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Grow your own organic

Anyone who's grappled with their conscience and their wallet at the grocery store knows that even with growing demand, organic produce still costs between 10 and 40% more than the genetically modified, pesticide-laden stuff that we're so used to buying.

But we all know it's better for us, right? It IS! It's better for our health because they're free of pesticides and antibiotics and all kinds of nasties. And actually, that's exactly why they're more eco-friendly as well.
But if you lack the cash, there's a good chance you can grow seasonal food at home. Yup, even if you don't have a garden.
Wanna know how?Tim Murphy, Sustainability Co-ordinator at Santropol Roulant says one of the best ways is to use a self-watering plant box. And he even shows us how to build one from recycled materials.


Watch the video here

The basic steps are outlined in the video, but if your connection is making you loco, try this fantastic tutorial from josho.com

It's very comprehensive, slightly more complex than the one Tim shows us, but MAN it's comprehensive. And Josho makes some excellent points about why we should be careful about what kinds of plastics we use and why.
WHY BOTHER WITH A SELF WATERING CONTAINER?

There are actually lots of advantages:
1. You save loads of water. Most regular pots or even gardens have the disadvantage of having to be watered every day. The excess water runs off (waste) and takes vital plant nutrients with it. With a self-watering container, you only have to water twice or thrice a week and all the nutrients stay in the box for the plant to use.
2. You save on fertilizer (see above)
3. You save time: You have to water less and it's not a big deal if you go away for the weekend.
4. You use recycled materials: The box that Tim showed us uses a regular recycling bin and hardboard made of recycled tampons and diapers! You can easily make your own version with a restaurant bucket (or recycling bin) and old election boards.
5. You can garden without a garden: You can grow organic veggies and herbs without needing a back yard. Simply set up your box in a sunny corner of your apartment or maximize your space usage by lining your concrete driveway with fresh organic produce!
6. No contaminants: Unlike many folks in the city who've been burned by heavy metal contamination in their garden (and community garden) plots, you have total control over the integrity of your soil. Use organic fertilizer (you can buy organic chicken poop pellets from most gardening stores) or compost from your own backyard composter or vermicompost.
7. A head start Even if you have loads of space to grow stuff, a self watering container helps you save water while you start your growing season early! Good luck!

Okay, now I want to hear from YOU!
Send me your green gardening tips or questions.

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Comments (2)

Elena Kozlova

RosemontMontrealQC

Me, my family and friends always love these different tips and ideas that help us be more green! I especially loved the self watering container! My mom's friend has been wanting to start her own little garden for a while now! Thanks!
I just have a little question though: Is there a vegetable or fruits that are easier to grow and that are less picky about their whereabouts?

Posted May 13, 2008 08:07 PM

Tim Murphy

Montreal

Pretty much everything that can been grown in an earth garden can be grown in a container. The main thing to be conscious of is soil depth. Things with deep roots do not fare very well in containers, so avoid stuff like potatoes, carrots, parsnips, etc

Posted May 28, 2008 03:53 PM

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