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HOME GROWN: Doing more with less


the AGRODOC

HOME GROWN: Doing more with less

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With 2010 drawing to a close, I’ve been taking stock of the past year and anticipating the coming one.
I would be remiss if I didn’t pause to thank my loyal readers, those that eagerly anticipate my column each week. Without your support, and inspiration, there would be no column.
Last year my garden underwent a bit of a transformation. With less space, less time, and conscious that my garden needed to be 100 per cent cost effective, I had to get creative, and fast.
In retrospect, doing more with less, has been a welcome education.
Now my traditional, soil-based gardening is done entirely in recycled containers, my trellises scavenged, whilst my seeds are started in empty PET bottles  and yogurt containers.
I must admit that I am inclined to employ a bit of paint to “fancy up” my containers, but otherwise I haven’t spent any money on containers this past year. I’ve resolved to continue on the same path in the coming year, and to continue to expand my garden.
Just last month I began gardening with an aquaponics system.
One of the things that pleases me most about this method of gardening is the ease with which my plants in the system are irrigated and as well the incidental benefit of the fish tank acting as a convenient water storage.
At any given time my tilapia are happily swimming in 150 gallons of harvested rainwater. Not once since Tropical Storm Tomas have I turned on the pipe to irrigate my garden.
I have in mind to install a rain barrel in the next few weeks to divert rainwater from my home’s downpipes to storage.
This would ensure that the coming dry months’ irrigation needs would be met without adversely impacting my water bill.
A recycled barrel and some minor modifications to my downpipes are all that is necessary to accomplish this goal.
So there you have it, no elaborate resolutions. I just plan to keep moving forward, stay positive, and make my garden work for me as not only an enjoyable hobby but also a valuable source of healthy food for my family.
•?homegrown [email protected]

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