Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Water Wise Container Gardening Class

The LONG winter dry season has arrived, and we've had no tropical storms to saturate the soil beforehand. Plus, hopefully, we are all making wise water use a central focus in our lives as Florida's population continues to boom. So I've invented an alternative home made container garden that grows food and flower crops well with much less water, and that can be made for free to just $10. As a result, despite my yard being an urban farm, my June water use bill was just $1.35! This class teaches you how to make your own from free recycled plastic containers, how to create a great soil mix for it, and easy ways to maintain and sustain yours using cheap and/or dumpster-dived supplies. This simple design avoids the problems that many have experienced with others often described as "self watering containers" and that can cost $100. You'll see several of mine in differing styles and stages of growth to help you decide what works best for you and your space and budget. I love how they use VERY little water vs. my growing the same crops, including my beloved Old Roses, in my in-ground gardens. Growing food crops in this manner can also allow a gardener to avoid using Tampa's and St. Pete's reclaimed water that has caused severe difficulties for many folks due to the very high levels of salt and chlorides. Plus one is not supposed to eat raw veggies grown with reclaimed water, which rules out growing fresh salads and herbs from one's own garden! Special attention will be paid to the very common problem of nitrogen deficiency often encountered in container gardening whether one makes one's own soil as I do, or purchases it in bulk or bagged. You will get two packs of very hard to get vegetable seeds that will thrive all winter long in your Water Wise Container Gardens. The cost of the class is $25 per person, or $20 per person in groups of four to encourage car pooling due to my limited parking. This class has been very well received, so I am teaching it again on January 3rd, from 11 AM until 1 PM, with a 30 minute Q & A session following. My address is 3212 West Paxton Avenue, Tampa FL 33611. Phone is 813 839 0881, e-mail is RSVP is not required but helpful in my planning each class. Come learn how to grow your own organic produce for a fraction of what you pay in the stores while slashing your water use and bill and avoiding the toxic-to-plants reclaimed water. Happy Gardening! John Starnes

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