Gardening: Age of Aquariums, Part 1

Sep 01 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

Yesterday I posted about expanding garden space for 2012.  I have been procrastinating on a project for some time now that is exactly along those lines.  For many, many years, I have had a gigantic 125 gal. acrylic aquarium lounging on my side yard, collecting rainwater and growing fantastic crops of mosquitoes and black widows.  I didn't want to throw it away, it was one of those things I thought I could use some day.  Well, I am please to say, the day has finally come.

The idea is that this aquarium will become a planter of sorts.  Its dimensions are 72" x 18" x 20", which I think will make a respectable volume of soil.  In my efforts to make every inch of yard count, I am looking to place this planter on the south side of the house, where it is presently all concrete driveway.  Advantages: I'll potentially convert concrete to food space, plus the garden foliage from the trellis will shade the hottest side of the house during the hottest part of the year.  Disadvantages:  manual watering required.  I'm hoping that the volume of soil will be sufficient enough to maintain adequate moisture levels with hose watering no more than twice per week.  This is important, because anything more demanding than that will either need to be on an automatic system or is doomed to failure.  I know my limits, and being consistent on manual watering more than twice per week for a whole growing season simply will not happen.

I am about halfway done with the project today.  Tomorrow, I will finish and show you the results.  What we have so far is the drilled aquarium, the frame for the trellises, and the wire, chain, hooks and soil needed to complete it.  The trellises will be constructed using the same modular panels I have been using for the chicken fence - 5ft. x 5ft. PVC frames covered with rabbit fencing.  These will be hung from the eves of the house by small chain to dangle behind the aquarium and provide climbing space for the plants (yet more vertical inches to claim for food space!).

Check in tomorrow for the after pictures.  And please, oh please, keep your fingers crossed for me that this project won't be an epic fail like my Suds to Spuds debacle.  See you tomorrow!

P.S. Here are a few before pics of the aquarium to give you and idea of what we're working on...

The future planter, in all its unlovely glory. It has been drilled and will be lined on all faces with weed mat to keep the soil and moisture from draining out while allowing the planter to breath.

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