I am continuing my hanging garden plans for next year, the one that's going to grow between the poles formerly known as clotheslines. I don't hang laundry from them, so they might as well be useful for something.
I estimated I needed at least 52, up to 72, hanging containers. I managed to pick up more Topsy Turvies, bringing my count up to 20. I'm saving gallon milk jugs, gallon vinegar jugs (we use it as a fabric softener for certain items), gallon detergent jugs and 3-liter soda pop bottles. We are at the 52 mark, so only 20 to go. Drink up!
I have to protect the roots from overexposure to the sun, growing upside down like that. I suppose I could wrap the planters in a blue or green duct tape, much like a Topsy Turvy, but I think that would ruin my garden aesthetic. So, I cut down some already smallish pillow cases that weren't doing anybody any good and made bottle snoods. They have drawstrings top and bottom, and maybe I'll market them. I'm going to try a couple with Velcro as well. Hanging is a cinch: I have a pile of wire coat hangers nobody will use.
I was looking for something stronger than wire or clothesline on which to run the planters. I found this nifty steel cable at the big-box home supply store that is placed in a plastic tubing of sorts. I'll put the metal clips onto the cable, first, then hang the cable in place.
As long as I am going for the gusto, I am also looking for other ways to stack and hold planters. I'm certainly not moving my wire baker's rack to the yard! I was thinking of converting a couple of old bookshelves that have stood the test of time. If I don't get to that, I can always make shelves with old boards, bricks and cinderblock.
We're going to try a few experiments next year. I have some old boxes that are deep, that can have drainage holes so the containers can hold carrots, rutabagas, radishes, broccoli, garlic and onions. Not sure about doing potatoes that way. We have some cleared and ungrassed ground for in-the-ground veggies and fruits as well.
As far as dirt- I have two compost piles at present. They meet local code and are covered. I am not going as far as putting human waste, or any animal parts whatsoever into them. Leaves, veggie and fruit peelings, worms to root around and aerate the soil. I have spare soil, about 200 pounds, and a big supply of Perlite and sand to lighten things up. I also have several fertilizers I bought at close-out.
So now I am foraging seeds, both from plants we eat, plants we've grown, and close-outs at local stores. There was an interesting experiment on growing pumpkins inside pumpkin shells that I'm anxious to try. We currently are set with: peppers of various colors, cucumbers of various sizes and uses, squashes that do and don't squish, herbs galore, chards and kales.
I will be making more planter snoods during the winter, and checking the compost, turning the soil. I can't start seeds indoors until at least early February. All in all, it's starting to be a lot more fun than I thought it would be. The kids are interested as well, except for the composting part.