This is a GREAT time of year to collect free garden containers, if you don't mind how your backyard looks. You can get free bakery buckets much of the year, but now is the time for the Holy Grail of free containers: the rigid plastic kiddy pool! A 4' diameter pool will provide 12.5 square feet of garden that is completely accessible for planting and tending. A 5' pool will give you almost 20 SF.
Kids are back in school, the temp is dropping from the high 90's into the mid-80's. The pools are becoming clutter to people who don't understand their true potential! I saw one this morning in front of a house with a FREE sign taped to it. If it's there later, I may stop by and suggest they start a GARDEN in it. I've got enough containers like this that Dear Husband might pop a blood vessel if I bring home one more, so had to refrain.
My latest experiment is working out OK. I love butter lettuce and occasionally buy the living heads with roots in the plastic boxes in the grocery store. It's hard to grow from seed here -- the little sprouts don't like our mid-summer heat, even in the shade. I keep the core of the lettuce head -- the little pale green leaves in the center and the roots -- and have planted them. It actually seems to be working. I planted in containers that get only an hour or two of full sun each day. Here is the just-planted rather anemic center:
and the one-week development:
There are a couple of bug holes, but it looks like it wants to keep growing. Yum, can't wait!
So your frugal garden can help stretch those nickels to put toward your more expensive preparation supplies. Even if you decide to splurge on the special lettuce, just remember to save a few leaves and the roots, give them occasional water and then get it back in some earth for the encore!!