It hasn’t been very cold this winter and as a result, we have had several volunteer tomato plants that started growing in random places in the garden. Frank transplanted them into pots and then began to research how to keep them going through the winter. We needed something that could be protected until the danger of freezing weather has passed. He decided to build some portable garden containers and took his main inspiration from instructions that you can read here.
We had several old totes, so Frank repurposed them to become the containers for our plants. This portable garden container is a self-watering device that has a reservoir in the bottom that is kept filled with water. To make the reservoir, Frank cut pieces of pipe to lay in the bottom that hold up the divider that separates the water and the dirt.
He fashioned dividers out of the tote lids and cut out a section of the lid to hold a plastic basket that sits down in the water. This basket provides a way for the water to get to the roots while keeping the dirt separated from the water underneath the divider. He placed a tall piece of pipe in the corner of the tote; this is what you use to refill the reservoir. There is a hole drilled in the side of each box that serves as a drain.
Now it was time to plant! Frank decided to put two tomato plants per containers. He filled each box about halfway with potting soil and added fertilizer into the soil. He then filled the reservoir before planting the plants and then added the rest of the dirt until it was level with the top of the container. Once the plants were planted, he covered the entire container with black plastic trash bags and added a tomato cage to each. A platform on wheels is under each container and this allows us to easily push these in and out of the garage as needed.
We transplanted these plants in early January, and I predict that by early March, we’ll be eating tomatoes! Frankie is quite a handyman…I think I’ll keep him!