Seems like just last week I was complaining about the cold crappy spring/summer we've been having in Minnesota. And now today the heat index is 110.
Between the lush, limp growth, the weeds and the soggy cottonwood fluff, my garden is a wreck. Family obligations took me away for another 10 days and while I was gone, Mother Nature started to reclaim the yard. She may be winning.
I have to say the best looking thing is my "Instant Garden" that the folks at Easy Gardener gave me to test this summer. I first saw this at our Garden2Blog event and have to tell you I was a little skeptical.
It looks like a soccer mom chair at first. Using canvas folding chair technology, this planter comes straight from the box and pops out into a raised mini-garden, just like they say, instantly. You just lock in the pins to keep it from folding back up and place the hose to drain in a container or onto the ground below. Mine's on the deck next to the grill and draining freely. Hey, watch out below!
They suggest using 50% organic compost and 50% good native soil along with Jobe's All-Purpose Vegetable and Tomato fertilizer. I just used potting mix and the Jobe's fertilizer they also asked me trial. Then I planted a cheerful combination of "grilling" herbs; rosemary, sage and lemon thyme, along with marigolds and a Gerbera daisy for a little color.
All in all, there are 12 plants sitting cheek to jowl in an area measuring only 16" wide by 36" long, 8' deep. They couldn't be happier. I like the easy height at 30" for snipping herbs and deadheading the flowers, especially in this heat when I'm moving pretty slow. For gardeners with actual limited mobility and not just wussiness, it's a fantastic idea.
Granted it's not a look for formal gardens, but for a casual deck or patio, it's a fun solution for limited-space gardening and a great conversation starter. The brown canvas is an attractive shade for complementing foliage and flowers though. I can even imagine a series of them surrounding a deck or patio.
I see this innovative planter being just the ticket for folks like my in-laws who head to Florida in the winter. They could grow salad greens and herbs, plus a few flowers, then fold it up for easy storage when they leave for the summer. I bet a few patio tomatoes in this planter would run circles around all those other retirees with their Topsy Turvy tomato thingamajigs.
Halfway into the gardening season this new twist on container gardening might be just the pick-me-up your small-space garden needs.
They're available at garden centers, home improvement stores and other retailers.