One of the things I miss from my Sticks and Bricks life, is my garden. The ability to walk outside and harvest fresh grown, organic produce for free is something I know a lot of full time rvers miss. So when I saw Ashleigh Priest’s pictures of her “garden on the go” on the Fulltime Families Facebook Group, I got very excited and asked her to write an article on just how she made her mobile garden a reality. Here’s what she had to say:
2015 has brought my family a few epiphanies. We had a rough winter for 2014. Too much of it was spent in our camper, as this Floridian family tried to adjust to a Minnesota winter. It seemed something was always happening. First our truck needed an expensive repair. Our water access port kept busting every couple of weeks. The truck broke down a second time. A third time. We were behind on all bills. And we were also delinquent in paying the subscriptions for our field service software for landscaping, for our landscaping business was doing badly and the stocks we’d purchased were at an all time low. Bad weather, meant work days missed and money was tight. Some weeks we had to decide between food or paying the cellphone bill. Food obviously came first.
Boy food is ridiculously expensive! How do people with large families do this?
Here’s epiphany number one.
If only we had a garden we could have healthy food. Too bad we travel.
March came around and my back went out. I’m young. This should not happen. It’s always attributed to my weight. Yes, I’m very unhealthy.
This was epiphany number two.
I NEED to get healthier! I really wish we could have a garden. How can this become something we can do?
I did research. Joined gardening groups on Facebook. Asked if anyone in the traveling groups have a garden. The limited replies I received were in the “that’s a cool idea” vain.. and if I followed through with the garden to keep everyone posted.
So, I got to work.
I planned out what I wanted to grow. What I’d use for containers. How to make my own compost (what’s a better fertilizer than compost 😉 ).
My original plan was to build planter boxes from pallets, have holes on both sides, put some rope through the holes, and make a loop on each side.
Then take two 2x4s, drill 7/8 inch holes in them and put a wooden dowel in the holes after putting the dowels through the rope and hang up the planter boxes. The 2x4s would have a rubber covering on the top and lean against the camper.
Phew! Let me say if that sounded like a lot of work, it was! With two toddler boys, I was already stretch thin. I got two planters built and that was that.
I planted sweet peas and green beans in the boxes and placed them on a corner of our outdoor table set.
Then I simplified. I used four 5 gallon buckets to plant tomatoes and corn in. Everything got covered at night because there were still cool nights.
Then we got a surprise snow! That storm killed all my plants except my sweet peas. I decided to wait until May to replant.
This time I had a different plan.
I bought some storage tote boxes, soil, pea pebbles.
I took my original 5 gallon buckets, and with a hammer, and a nail, poked 4 holes in the sides of the buckets at the bottom. I put about 3 inches of pea pebbles in the bucket then filled up the bucket about 2/3 full with soil and added my seeds for corn and tomatoes (I feel like I just did this lol). Finally, I watered the seeds and set them aside.
I replanted green beans in the wooden box I used before. I watered them and put the box aside.
I was ready to expand my garden.
Butter crunch lettuce, spinach, green bell pepper, parsley, and basil seeds were all planted in the storage totes, which had been prepped like the buckets, with several holes and pea pebbles topped with soil.
In one tote, I planted the lettuce and spinach together. This way I have an instant salad with the combination of these greens.
The other box was a little more tricky. I went to Dollar Tree and bought two long, plastic planter boxes. I poked holes in them. Next I filled the tote box the way I did the other containers. I then grabbed two pieces of broken concrete blocks we had laying around and placed them on top of the soil in the tote box. Afterwards I placed the Dollar Tree plastic planters, each on the concrete pieces. There was space in between these, which is where the green bell pepper was planted. In one planter I put seed for basil and the other for parsley.
So far everything has sprouted wonderfully. I’ve harvested two large handfuls of sweet peas already. My lettuce has been harvested for salad as I please. My corn is growing along with my tomatoes. My last box has just sprouted in the last couple weeks.
The dirt on dirt.
I mentioned compost earlier. We made our own compost as well. We bought a Roughneck tote box (I think like 3 gallons) in dark blue. We have put in things such as used coffee grounds and filter, banana peels, orange peels, egg shells, ashes, mud, corn husks, and whatever else we thought of. We then bought fishing worms (don’t judge) and added them to the box as well. We read that the worms help aid in the breakdown of the matter and their excretions are good for the soil. I will be adding some compost to each plant this week.
I have been asked how we will transport our garden when we move. We have a bumper pull travel trailer so we are able to put the garden in the bed of the truck. We have a contractors topper on our truck so the garden will be protected during travel. As for crossing borders, we’ve never been somewhere we have been stopped, so we will address that if we ever encounter that problem. So I will say, use your best judgement and plan ahead.
Another option would be to place your garden in your shower during moves.
I’m excited to see how well our traveling garden does. I hope to have enough of a harvest to give me the opportunity to learn to can as well.
For those considering gardening on the go, this is my first garden ever. I have not killed the plants this go around (so far). If you put your mind to it and do some research, you can do it! Having the right trailer will reduce the vibrations and in turn give your projects more success. Happy trails!
Ashleigh Priest is a proud wife of a union pipe welder/fitter. Mother of two rambunctious toddler boys, traveling this great land since 2011. Always looking for the best in life to make my family the happiest and healthiest it can be.
You can find her on facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/ashleigh.huggins1?fref=ts