For people renting their properties, it can seem pointless spending time constructing veggie patches and investing in permanent garden beds if you can’t take them with you when you leave the residence. Instead of building fixed garden beds, renters should opt for mobile and portable gardens.
Whether you’re renting a place with just a patio, tiny backyard or balcony, a surprising amount of herbs, vegetables and fruit can still be grown even in the smallest of spaces.
So if you’re a renter, here are seven ways to create a moveable and mobile garden that you can easily take with you when you move on:
1. Think ‘container’ gardening
Container gardening is exactly what it implies. You can grow all kinds of edibles in containers, whether you use hanging baskets, old buckets, barrels, ceramic pots, old tin cans or reuse old plastic pots. You can use whatever container will hold soil, compost and organic fertiliser and can be drilled with holes for water drainage.
One thing to remember is to choose a container that suits the size – height and width – of the plant you’re wanting to grow otherwise you’ll need to repot the plant before you know it and create extra work for yourself in the process. Make sure to clean your containers out before use so as not to contaminate your plants.
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2. Make a pallet garden
A popular way to create a modern garden, you can create a pallet garden by sourcing old pallets; just take a look on Facebook marketplace, your local tip shop or pop into a local warehouse and see if they need old pallets taken off their hands. Because pallets are in abundance, you’ll find many people and businesses will give them away for free or for next to nothing. You can build a vertical pallet garden or build them as small raised garden beds but either way, you should still be able to move them when your lease expires.
3. Reuse polystyrene boxes
Here at EWP, rather than get rid of the lightweight polystyrene or Styrofoam boxes that have been given to us by local farmers and green grocers that once contained store-bought produce, we reuse them to grow edibles such as lettuce and Asian greens. We fill these miniature polystyrene microfarms up with a good soil mix (containing amongst other things, home compost, locally-manufactured organic fertiliser such as Katek and worm compost) and use a pen to create holes at the bottom of the box for drainage. These boxes are ideal for growing herbs, leafy greens and even tomatoes.
4. DIY elevated garden bed with legs
If you’re handy with a drill, another great option for growing herbs and edible flowers is to build an elevated garden bed with legs or raised planter box that you can easily take with you when you move house. You can source second-hand timber from renovation and demolition sites, check out Gumtree or Craigslist for cheap used materials or source old pallets from local businesses. Check out the YouTube video below for guidance on building your own raised garden bed.
5. Buy a Portable garden bed
For people who don’t have time to build or just don’t feel confident with electric tools, buying a moveable raised garden bed may be the way to go. Before purchasing brand new, aim to find second-hand online via Facebook marketplace, Craigslist or Gumtree. If you can’t find one second-hand, then buy new by checking out local hardwares stores to find one that suits your preferences and requirements.
Make sure to buy one made from eco-friendly materials such as recycled plastic or one made from sustainably harvested FSC-certified wood. If you’re located in the US, Home Depot has a range of moveable garden beds and elevated planters to suit any budget. If you’re based in Australia, a good place to purchase transportable garden beds is Bunnings Warehouse.
6. Basket herb garden
Making a basket herb garden is perhaps one of the easiest ways to create a portable garden. All you need to do is just buy an old basket from an op-shop or thrift shop, line with old hessian bag and start filling with soil, compost and fertiliser. Plant herb seeds straight in and water or to cut the waiting time, purchase seedlings such as coriander, parsley, basil and thyme from your local nursery and plant straight in. You’ll be able to take the basket with you on camping trips, picnic lunches at the park and even when you move house. They even make cute eco-friendly housewarming gifts!
7. Old wooden crates
Another shortcut to creating a moveable edible garden is to simply use old wooden crates sourced from the tip shop or you’ve found at a thrift store. You can either just pop pots you’ve bought from the nursery straight in if you’re feeling lazy or you can fill with a layer of stones or gravel at the bottom, and then add good quality soil mix, compost and organic fertiliser pellets. Sow seeds directly into your wooden crate garden or if you want to accelerate the process so you can start enjoying the vegetable and fruits of your labour (pun intended), purchase seedlings from a local nursery and plant straight in and you’ll be picking herbs and veggies in no time.
Keen for more plant inspiration? Check out our post #Plantstagram: 10 Green Instagram Accounts to Follow for Plant Inspiration.
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Cover image by Catherine Eckert.