Get your Grow On!
Today i’m writing about something not directly related to real estate. Growing up in the Bahamas, my parents always had a little vegetable garden in the back yard. They grew all sorts of things, kale, tomatoes, collards.
For those just starting on a green thumb in the Bahamas here are few tips. Disclaimer: i am by not means a green thumb but i’m getting a little bit better each year – hopefully this year I’m just a plant masochist and not a mass murderer of green things. 🙂
You should start by reading the column in the Abaconian Newspaper by Gardener Jack. (Or the tribune). Gardener Jack is a cornucopia of information on growing anything in the Bahamas. He has some great tips and tricks. One of them is using newspaper to barrier between the good soil on top and the poor rocky stuff on the bottom. it helps to retain moisture and also limit weeds a little.
Most importantly, don’t try to grow anything in the Bahamas between early May and early October. The summer sun will laugh at your puny efforts. Here in the land of sea and sun we grow during the ‘frigid’ winter.
Raised beds are probably the only real back yard option for most people. The soil in the Bahamas is thin and generally acidic. The geology is young meaning there has been no time for good soil to build up. Raised beds made of poisonous pressure treated wood is just not good “juju”. I have come across the idea of using concrete blocks.
The set up below is simple, inexpensive and effective.
One raise bed is 6 feet long 3 feet wide and 2 feet tall.
- 24 qty. 4″ concrete cinder blocks @ $2.10 per block $50
- use 3/8″ rebar cut and inserted into the holes to lock them together, 20′ length cost $9 and you will need about 40′ $18. cut this with an angle grinder and then drop them into the holes of the blocks. you can cut the rods a bit long and hammer them into the ground but most likely you are doing this because your Bahamas back yard more closely resembles a japanese rock garden then a a British tea garden. i added a rope around the top layer, but this was not really necessary.
- visqueen is sold by the foot at a hardware store, get 8′ which is 30′ long and you will have enough for 2 or 3 beds. I had this lying around so I can’t tell you the cost. the plastic sheet lines the bottom and sides of the bed to help retain moisture and also keep out weeds and pests. cut a dozen holes so water can drain out. Or house wrap works fine, or painters drop plastic sheet would work too.
- fill the bottom half with pearock or cracker rocks. 6 bags at $4 per bag $24. this is really just filler so you don’t have to buy as much expensive soil. i have a garden full or rocks so i didn’t buy any i just used some of the piles i had lying around.
- layer newspaper between the rock and the soil to retain moisture and keep the good dirt in place not get lost into the rocks and also allow excess water to drain out.
- the amount and cost of soil on top will vary. Miracle-gro is pricey but it works. Jolly gardener is half the cost and seems to work just as well. you will need several bags of soil.
- now you have a raised bed planter read to grow all sorts of yummy fresh tings. Enjoy.
Update a few weeks later, here they are full of lettuces, carrots, sweet pepper and cucumbers: