Ask the Gardener-May 24

You have made a few references to zones for gardening.  How do I find my gardening zone?

Zones can be confusing as many times people interchange the Western Gardening zones with the USDA planting zones.  These two zoning methods are very different from one another.  Here at Successful Gardens, we are using the USDA planting zones as a reference guide.  To make it easy for you to find your own planting zone, we have created a special page on the website, Hardiness Zone Map.  Just look on the map for the location that you live and see which color is referenced for your area.  Then reference the color to the key and you will then know which hardiness zone you are living in.

Knowing and understanding which gardening zone you are in is important.  This helps you to know which plants might grow in your area and which ones will have difficulty.  After all, it makes sense that you can’t plant an orange tree outside year round if you live in an arctic tundra.  We hope this will help you save some money by only buying plants for your zone.

Weekend Project-How to Build an Upside Down Planter

Photo by Kathy Kimpel

Photo by Kathy Kimpel

You’ve seen the ads for the upside down tomato planter, aka the “Topsy Turvy”.  You have more than likely seen them available for purchase at your local garden center and at the discount stores.  But did you know that you can use the same principles of these popular planters and save a little money and quite easily make your own?

We thought that those of you who are looking for ways to expand your patio garden might love to know how you can make one of these upside down gardens.  Even if you are new to gardening, these are truly an easy project to make and you will quickly have your own upside down garden planted in less than 30 minutes of time and effort.  And believe us when we say less than 30 minutes.  That time includes the gathering of the materials you will need and choosing the right place to hang your new planter.  You may even have time to enjoy a glass of lemonade and admire your work in that time frame.

We are providing you with some links to some instructions on how to make one of these upside down gardens.  And of course, we will end with a video for those who are more visual and just want to see one made.  Let us know how your project turned out!

We liked the clear instructions we found in the article How to Make Your Own Upside Down Tomato Plant Holder.

How to Make an Upside Down Tomato Planter shows you how to utilize space effectively by planting a tomato in the bottom and flowers in the top of the planter.

Want to see a list of materials you will need?  How to Make an Upside Down Planter provides a nice one at the bottom of the 8=step instruction guide.

Don’t want to make one out of a 5 gallon bucket? Maybe you don’t have a bucket available that you can use. How about making one out of an empty 2 liter bottle?

And finally…for those of you who are visual, here is a video that is around 7 1/2 minutes in length that explains the process well:

Weekend Project-How to Build a Raised Garden Bed

Photo by Kyle at suburban dollar

There are several methods that you can use to build your own raised garden bed.  The nice thing is that you can make them as fancy or as simple as you would like.  They really don’t need to be expensive in order to have something that will last you for several years.  You definitely do not need to purchase one of the expensive kits that are sprouting up in stores all over.  You can spend that money if you want, but with the economy being the way it is, we thought you might like to know how to save some of your hard earned money.

We just recently built 9 raised beds for our garden.  We have used raised beds in the past, but when we moved to our current home, we didn’t think it was going to be feasible to bring the ones from our old home with us.  So the new homeowners lucked out and we started over.  After spending last season without them and fighting the weeds of a garden plot left dormant for way too many years, we decided it was time to put into practice what we knew worked so well.  So 9 raised beds are now gracing a section of our garden space.  We may even get crazy and add a few more next season.

So how does one make their own raised garden bed?  It really is a fairly simple process, unless you want a super fancy one.  Since I wasn’t good about taking pictures as we built ours, we thought we would just provide you with some links to our favorite instructions online.  We even found a great video if you are a visual person.

The first site we would like to share is from the DIY Network.  They offer a short and concise page that is reminiscent of what we built and that takes you through the process step by step.  They also offer you a list of materials you will need to complete the project.

Next, if you want a very thorough article on the subject, then you may want to check out this one by Sunset Magazine.

Now while we don’t necessarily recommend Home Depot for gardening instruction, we really do like their instructions for making a raised garden bed.

And if you are wanting to make a fancier raised bed for your flower garden, then you might appreciate this article by This Old House.

Finally, if you just want to watch a short video on the subject, we liked this one: