A hanging basket makes a great natural decoration but you should never buy one Why? Because it's so easy to make one yourself. You can grow flowers, nutritious vegetables and even small fruit organically - around your porch! What's more, use these principles of sustainable gardening and your hanging bio-basket will rarely need watering.
So you can go on vacation with a new peace of mind, confident that your plants can look after themselves. And you won't have to buy expensive watering devices. You can make a simple hanging bio-basket as quickly as it takes to read this article.
Most shop-bought hanging baskets are cane or wire devices. Yet look around your house or garage and you'll find a dozen potential baskets, ready to hand. No matter if it's not beautiful, you can disguise it in burlap or paint it any colour that complements your house.
If your basket is a net or cage, you must stop the compost leaking out. Take any 100% nylon garment. Cut it into strips and lay them around the inside of the basket. A totally natural option would be some big leaves like rhubarb or comfrey, even used tea bags.
Your bio-basket can water itself
Don't trouble to moisten your basket more than once a week. Just find a small strong plastic bag. (It's nice to recycle something that's so hostile to the environment!) Fill it with any absorbent substance that's inert and not heavy.
Even charcoal works fine. Simply, clean it with boiling water and re-use it next season.
That little bag goes inside your basket. Sift in some good compost, preferably home-made, so the bag is entirely enclosed with that good rich growing medium. Make the entire basket very moist, and especially the reservoir.
Plant out the basket in the usual way The roots will soon grow down and discover that water haven below.
Now your mind can be at peace. Those plants should do well, all by themselves, despite a warm summer.
How about a basket that grows food and flowers on every side?
For this you'll need a stiffer water reservoir than a baggy.
Easy enough! Simply cut a large plastic drinks bottle in half. Put into the pot any lightweight water-absorbent granules, even roof insulation 'wool'. Drop the pot into the basket and perforate the sides of the basket to admit your plants.
It's now a simple matter to keep those plants well watered, in all weathers, even at the base and sides of your basket. How?
You just have to use a few natural gardening ideas! You can bring water to your plant roots with capillary cords that you make yourself. Merely soak a twisted length cut from an old nylon sock or stocking. If you put its tip in water, the water will seep along the material. But avoid degradable materials like wool.
Now you just run those capillary 'laces' from the reservoir to the base of your plants. Why not use that idea for indoor plants too? Water everything very well, especially the reservoir. Your plants will then thrive and you won't have to go near the basket with a watering can for several days, even in high summer.
How to find your outer 'basket'
The cheapest basket can be any big 'plant friendly' container that you already have. An old cake box? A litter bin? A plastic wash bucket? Another good source of free 'baskets' is the food tubs thrown out by canteens and pubs.
Needless to say, make sure they didn't once hold anything dubious. Cut gaps in every surface for drainage, and also to insert your plants.
Some tubs will come with their own handles. If not, it's easy enough to hang them up with rope - then decorate them with burlap or some woven fabric.
Of course, you can find big plastic nets everywhere in supermarkets. They are very cheap and come with a bonus of free potatoes or fruit! Fishing nets can often be salvaged from beaches, if you live by the sea.
Don't be content to grow solely flowers. Try growing little tomatoes upside down. Truly, upside down tomatoes are a wonderful way to get food - as well as beauty - from a hanging bio-basket.
Insert the tomato root ball in the base of the basket and hold it in place with struts of wood or stiff plastic. Otherwise the plant will fall out when the fruits form! You then have ample room to insert herbs, flowering plants or salads, and even grow stub-root carrots or small beetroot, upon the other sides.
Why not try a hanging bio-basket if you have better things to do than water your plants regularly? This idea is a blessing if you have many baskets and some of them are difficult to reach. It will give you both food and beauty!
Dr John Yeoman PhD is founder of the information network for natural gardening ideas, the Gardening Guild. Discover dozens of ingenious plans to grow more food in a with less cost and labor in his big book Lazy Secrets for Natural Gardening Success. Get it entirely free at:
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