Buy clear polyester resin and hardener (separately) and a brush from a craft store. Be sure to use the hardener according to the instructions. Tear some newspapers into long strips about five inches wide. Brush the polyester resin on the basket bottom and sides, then line with the newspaper strips until you have filled the entire basket. Continue the resin-paper process until you've lined the basket with six coats of paper. When finished, add an additional coat of resin.
Hanging basket trees: First, buy or make hanging baskets, half-round in shape, which can be attached to a flat backing. Set up a 1 x 12-inch board as above, probably six to eight feet long. Attach the baskets to the board, about two feet apart. Line them with sphagnum moss or black plastic, place a pie tin or other device at the base, and fill these pouches with soil.
Vegetable pot trees: This is another interesting and easy-to-make variation of the tree format Anchor four posts, 4 inches by 7 foot, to a base such as a Christmas tree stand. Keep the posts in place with sandbags. Mount 8-inch pots alternately up the posts on hooks strong enough to hold the weight As an alternative to the base, you can nail or mount the posts directly onto a balcony railing.
Bookshelf containers: These are probably the most visually interesting and useful of all vertical containers. You can put them in stationary positions or set them on heavy-duty wheels to make them mobile. Mount 2 x 10-inch side boards on a base of the same size. A good length for the sides is four to five feet, but this can be varied somewhat to suit individual requirements. Drainage holes are drilled in the base. The sides can be joined on both ends by construction wire or by crossed laths. (See Figure 10.07.] The container thus formed is lined with black plastic and filled with soil mix. Leave the top open because you are going to water from there, from halfway down, and from two-thirds of the way down.
It's important with this type of container to use hardy transplants. Insert them through the wire mesh. Keep them moist, and feed them frequently with a liquid plant solution.
A-frame gardens: This setup is second in versatility only to the bookshelf, and is even easier to construct. First, make two A-frame sides using 2x4-inch standard boards and a metal sawhorse clamp (a workable design utilizes boards five foot long spread fve feet apart). The A-frame should be joined by another five foot long 2-by-4. This structure will become even sturdier when the A-frames are joined by three shelves, preferably of 2 x 8-inch board, mounted on large shelf brackets and braced by 2-by-4 boards. As shown in Figure 10.07, the shelves are wide toward the base, narrow at the top. On these shelves you can place a number of 8-inch or similar-size pots and create a varied, pleasing container garden.
You can add significantly to your overall vegetable production by utilizing hanging containers on the patio, balcony, or almost anywhere. You can hang cherry tomatoes two feet apart under the eaves, or a whole garden of carrots, radishes and similar plants. Hanging containers will grow all medium-sized vegetables well, including the smaller tomatoes and cucumbers. In most cases you should avoid planting them with larger vegetables such as squash, cantaloupe, cabbage and the like.
Here are a couple of types of hanging containers.:
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Hanging wire baskets: Wire baskets make fine containers for lettuce, radishes, even small tomato plants. Place an aluminum pie plate in the bottom to keep soil from the washing out. Stuff the open wire frame with moist sphagnum moss. You can add burlap if you like. Fill with soil and pot as you would any other container. A hanging basket dries out quickly, so it should be watered daily. To water, immerse in a pail of water. You can buy these baskets from most nurseries.
Long baskets: To make these attractive containers, cut standard-width chicken wire into 3- or 4-foot lengths and put the long edges together to form a 3-foot-long cylinder. Place a small plastic basket at one end and tie in place with twists of wire. Line the entire container with black plastic. Fill with soil mix, punch holes in the plastic, and plant vegetables from top to bottom.
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