Scavenging around the farm again. I do that a lot. Eyes from the main farmhouse are following my movements. The tune from Mission Impossible is playing in my head. Catchy tune huh? So I continue my hunt. I’ve got a packet of lettuce seed, a yard full of slugs that love lettuce, and autumn’s frost is nearing. I’m looking for a planter. It’s got to be shallow, portable, slug proof and lightweight. Still humming the tune, I find what I’m looking for! A half round plastic gutter piece from a recent farm project. It’s shallow, check. It’s portable, check. It can be slug proof, check. It’s lightweight, check. It’s going with me! CHECK!
After a good wash and rinse, I was ready to drill drainage holes in the bottom of the half round gutter. This piece measures about five feet, and had I added drainage holes I would have spaced them about every seven inches. But, the drill was back in the machine shop and I wasn’t. To solve the drainage issue, I planed to sit the planter on a slight angle, ( an old ladder that I use to trellis tomatoes) allowing the excess water to drain out one end. To prevent the soil from draining out, I inverted a four inch pot at each end. You can purchase gutter caps if you want a more finished look.
Time to fill the gutter planter with a moistened time released potting soil.
Just about then, the wind picked up and sprinkling the lettuce seeds was quite a challenge!
After covering the seeds with 1/4 inch of potting soil, it was time to lightly water. I really like the shower setting. It gently waters without disturbing the soil and seeds.
Only a couple weeks and the lettuce blend is growing nicely. Yes, those are leaves that haven’t been munched! It’s free of snails and slugs. Most years we have a tremendous amount of slugs in the gardens. Rabbits, woodchucks and other munchers aren’t able to dine on the tender leaves with the planter sitting about five feet above the ground.
How great do these plants look! The temperatures are getting cooler and soon I’ll bring the gutter planter inside to a south facing window. I like how portable this is and how many plants can grow in such a small space. Perhaps it’s a good thing that drainage holes weren’t added to this planter. I plan to purchase end caps, it will be less messy when watering. Have you tried planting in a gutter? Comment and link below. Gardening year round is a goal of mine. In addition to covered raised beds during the winter, eating out of the gutter may be our next favorite way to grow food in cooler temperatures year round!
From our farm, to your home-