Friday, May 15, 2015

Soil Bag Gardening

New homes in Bakersfield California come with some features that probably make no sense to some places in the outside world.

Houses here have ornamental fireplaces where you can waste natural gas as its flames dance over fake logs. 

Ah, the ambiance!

We don’t even remotely need fireplaces for heating our homes because winter’s vicious cold snap is a few nights of temperatures around 32 degrees.

Some houses have fire pits in the back yard that burn gas. 

I suppose a fire pit is not totally useless, but people with fire pits always have barbecues that are much more conducive to being stoves.

But the one home feature that makes sense to many Bakersfielders is the RV pad.

An RV pad is a large concrete expanse where you can park your travel trailer or motorhome.

I have an RV pad in my backyard, but I don’t have an RV.

I don’t want an RV even though it could be a great bug out vehicle.

The idea of spending $100K on a truck chassis with a wood and tin body that I finance for 25 years is pure idiocy.

If I ever were to get a hankering to do a trip in an RV, I could always rent one.

Because I do not have an RV, I am blessed with a large space in my back yard that on first glance was useless to me for food production.

That is until I stumbled across something clever.

My RV pad has a water source and is inclined so that water drains toward the back lawn.

I should have thought of soil bag gardening sooner, but soil bag gardening is the ideal use for my RV pad.

Bags of soil are relatively cheap at Lowes or Home Depot as are seedlings in spring.

I could even plant my GMO seeds from Dollar Tree. If GMO seeds produce food I am OK with it. My seed vault is extensive for an outlay of $80.

The process of soil bag gardening is relatively simple.

Buy bags of soil. Stab holes in one side of the bag. Then put the side with the stabs touching the “ground” as you lay them down.

Open square holes in the top side of your bag, plant your plants, and water them.

That is beyond simple.

The advantages of soil bag gardening are lack of weeds and pests. They are also good on water consumption which is something we must be mindful of in California.

Granted, not all plants can be planted in bags.

Ones that require depth—like carrots—will not work, but tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers, lettuce, herbs, and peppers are some obvious “no brainer” plants.

This year, I tip toed back into food gardening after a nearly 40 year hiatus.

Next year, I will fill my RV pad with a soil bag garden.

I know you want to know what happens to the soil after the growing season.

I plan to dig up my flowerbeds and in the process remove ornamental trees. I will replace them with fruit-bearing trees and moringa oleifera.

Because the ground in the flowerbeds is as impenetrable as iron, I will use the soil from the bags to soften and improve the dirt of my flowerbeds.

I also plan to do container gardening, so I can go for a number of years doing soil bag gardening before I have too much soil.

The beauty of soil bag gardening is that it can be done nearly anywhere.

What inhospitable space do you have that could become a growing space?

Think about it.

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