After two years of living in a New York City apartment where the only outdoor space is a fire escape that I've been told not to use unless actually escaping a fire, I would kill for a garden. Or even one homegrown tomato. But maybe it won't come to that.
It turns out that vegetables can thrive in wine boxes—or in other crates, for that matter—if you follow a few simple steps. I've been admiring (OK, envying) the simplicity of the portable garden that Houston gardener Linsey Hasenbank planted last year. After becoming addicted to the ease of picking lettuce, herbs and cupid tomatoes to make salad, this spring she's planting in wine boxes again. "Same concept," she says. "Bring it inside and spritz it with olive oil, lemon, and a dash of salt."
Photography via LLH Designs, except where noted.
Above: Linsey Hasenbank's DIY salad garden, ready to harvest. For instructions on how to make your own, visit her website.
Above: If you want to grow salad from seed, consider the Leafy Green Mix. It includes lacinato kale, red Russian kale, Osaka purple, red giant mustard, ruby streaks, tatsoi, and ruby red chard; the mix is $2 from Fire Escape Farms.
Above: Great minds think alike. Blogger Fern Richardson also has a wine box garden; she recommends drilling holes for drainage. For step-by-step instructions, visit Life on the Balcony.
Above: Linsey Hasenbank's sister came up with the idea of a thin layer of sheet metal for waterproofing; see how she did it at LLH Designs.
Above: Almost ready to plant.
Above: Free pot-bound roots with a Buck Revel Folding Knife; it's $21.46 from Amazon.
Above: Gardening gloves made of washable goatskin; The Pallina Gloves cinch at the wrist to keep dirt out; prices range from $40 to $45, depending on size.
Above: Don't forget irrigation; visit The Drip Store for configurations and pricing.