Alternate Ways of Gardening Part 1

Too hot, too cold, too wet. I’ve lived and gardened in the heat of Arizona, the iciness of Alaska, and a very wet part of Oregon. I’m also nearly seventy years old and have fibro myalgia that causes joint and muscle pain.
I’ve learned to adapt. Here’s one alternative way to get plants to grow.

Fish totes and plywood boxes: awesome raised ‘beds’


Fish totes are the three-foot-wide plastic containers crabbers and fishermen use to keep their catch. They’re sturdy and have forklift pockets for ease of movement – if you want or have to move them.
My husband drilled drainage holes in the bottom of ours and lined each with a pallet bag to keep the initial fill of soil in them. The bags decompose after a year or so, but that’s long enough for the soil to settle. When I needed more area, my husband built plywood boxes and set them on pallets to get the same versatility. I use a four-in-one garden soil mix from a local sand and gravel company. There’s pit run sand, compost, and a couple of other components. All I know is that it’s great stuff.

From my garden last year

I couldn’t bear to toss the weak tomato (left). It was struggling in its two-gallon pot. The ground was too low for me and hard to dig by mid-summer, so I put it in a new fish tote with a few pepper plants. Deer ate the peppers but forty days later it didn’t matter. The tomato plant had grown over where they had been.
As the summer sun moved across the sky, what was once the sunny site in the yard was now in the shadow of the garage. No problem. My husband put the forks on the tractor and moved it (and the other containers) into the sun.
I’ve planted tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and loads of other plants in these super pots this year. So far, we’ve had a very chilly and wet year: only three days in the seventy-degree range. The extra warmth these ‘raised beds’ get has put my tomatoes way ahead of my neighbors’ plants. It’s not a competition thing. I grow for food. Any extra goes to bless the local food bank where they have a very efficient distribution system.
What tricks do you have for growing in your part of the world? Let me know in the comments section.


After the day is done or when it’s too hot to go outside, read a book! Here are a couple of box sets you might enjoy.
Murder is to Die For: Cozy Mysteries
Cute But Crazy – Quirky Careers
Unforgettable Blessings
Unforgettable Courage


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About Dani Haviland

Dani Haviland, formerly of Connecticut, Arizona, and Alaska, recently semi-retired from selling tractor parts, tools, and roses. She moved to a more temperate climate in western Oregon to pursue her passions: writing, gardening, and photography.  View website

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