Monday, February 27, 2017

Dead Coolers

Way back on Nov 26, 2015 I posted a blog entry about a person here that lives on lava land, but still successfully gardens. She's been using half barrels and plenty of old, dead coolers salvaged from the dump. She just sent me some new photos of her efforts and I want to share them. 

She makes her own  "soil" Old Hawaiian style, by taking the old "soil", layering in organic material (weeds basically), then planting a new crop. By mulching the top, she keeps the plant roots moist and cool. Ya know, it works! 

She's solved another problem by using salvaged metal grates...........cats using the soft soil for a catbox. The crops will grow up through the grate with no problem, and the cats are aghast to find themselves thwarted, actually cheated, out of a good place to poo. I plan to help her out by watching for grates at the dump. Or perhaps some other kind of firm mesh, be it plastic or metal. I like her solution a lot. Cool! 


  1. Also look for scraps of plastic plumbing and drain pipe. By putting a tube down from the surface with an elbow at the bottom an a piece with drain holes along the bottom they become wicking barrels. I drill a hole just above the height of the pipe in the bottom so that it wont flood with rain. If the pipe is big enough I drop an empty water bottle with a bamboo stake in the lid to make a flag if the water level is too low. Reduces adding water to every 3 to 7 days with a foll coil of drain pipe around the bottom of a barrel.

  2. Sounds like a neat idea. I've heard about wicking beds, but I haven't looked into them yet. Once I start developing my seed farm more, I'll be needing a system there that doesn't require me watering on a daily basis. I usually run down to the seed farm once a week. So I was considering some sort of slow drip irrigation system, subterranean clay ollas, or wicking beds. I haven't really tried figuring it out yet.