Space savers : growing lettuce in hanging baskets.

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Here at Franger Farm, we are lucky to have a very large suburban block of an acre in size. A large amount of it, however, can’t be easily cultivated because it’s steeply sloping or covered in bush, we are also very enthusiastic veg growers and still find ourselves running out of space. Many of you will have much less space than us, but you can make use of the space under your eaves by planting hanging baskets with lettuce.

Water storage crystals will stop your basket drying out.

Water storage crystals will stop your basket drying out.

First, select a large hanging basket with a liner, the larger the basket, the better, as it won’t dry out as quickly, always a potential problem for pots and baskets. To help your basket retain water even more efficiently, you can add some water storage crystals. These swell up with water when they are wet and then release it into soil if it starts to dry out.

Plant with a mixture  of seedlings and seeds.

Plant with a mixture of seedlings and seeds.

Your baskets will be more productive if you add a pelletized manure to the potting mix, along with the crystals, when you plant them up. To give your baskets a really long productive time, you can plant them with a mixture of seedlings and seeds. As your seedlings are nearly used up, your grown from seed lettuce should be ready to harvest.

Hang close to the kitchen.

Hang close to the kitchen.

Once your basket is planted, water in well and then hang on a sturdy hook. You could make life really easy for yourself and hang the basket right outside your kitchen so that you can grab lettuce quickly, whenever you need it.

Fresh lettuce.

Fresh lettuce.

Give this simple idea a go, you’ll love having fresh lettuce right outside your door without having to find any extra space for it.

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Growing veg in bales

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Ever wanted to give a bale garden a go? Don’t know where to start? It’s easy, we’ll show you how.

Select the bales, uses as few or as many as you like.

Select the bales, uses as few or as many as you like.

The first step is to purchase the bales you’ll be using, straw is best as there are fewer weed seeds in it, it is possible to use hay, just be prepared to pull out the grass as it grows. You can use as many bales as you wish, use just one if you don’t have the space for more.

Condition your bales to get them ready for planting.

Condition your bales to get them ready for planting.

Once you have arranged your bales on a firm bit of ground, they need to be ‘conditioned’ ready for planting. In order for your veg to grow, the bales need to begin breaking down so that the nutrients in them are available for the plants to take up. Conditioning your bales can be a lengthy process of watering your bales, adding manure and waiting until they start to break down, however, we have a super fast, Franger Farm, cheaty method that works just as well.

Thoroughly soak the bales, then add a good amount of chicken manure to the top of the bales and water in well. Next, add at least an inch thick layer of potting compost to the top of the bales and water again. You are now ready to plant your seeds.

Seeds germinating on the bales.

Seeds germinating on the bales.

Using the potting compost means that the seeds have something to get started in while the chicken manure aids the breakdown of the bales as the plants mature. It’s essential that you don’t let your bales dry out, they need to be kept wet so that the breakdown continues inside. After a few weeks, the bales will begin to feel soft and you will be able to push your hand into them easily.

A few weeks later.

A few weeks later.

All you need to do from now on is keep your bales well watered and they will provide you with a wonderful harvest of veg.

Fantastic harvest from our bale garden.

Fantastic harvest from our bale garden.

We have been able to get a second harvest from our bales, although here in Australia, we have very mild winters and a long growing season, if your bales are covered in several feet of snow over the winter, you probably won’t be able to use them again.
Once you have finished planting in your bales, you can use them as mulch on your garden or add them to your compost.
You can get so much out of a few bales of straw, why not experiment with this instant garden bed in your backyard.

Become a worm farmer!

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A worm farm is an easy way to process your kitchen scraps and to reduce the amount you’re throwing into your rubbish bin every day. You’ll also benefit from the great fertilizer the worms produce for you as a little bonus gift.

Our worm farms

Our worm farms

becoming a worm farmer couldn’t be simpler, especially if you choose to buy a ready made farm as we have. There are also plenty of plans to build you own out there on line, if you fancy giving it a go.

The worm farm should be placed somewhere out of direct sunlight and rain, as worms can be killed by high temperatures and you don’t want to get too much water into the farm.

Once you’ve installed your worms in your farm, you should begin by feeing them a small amount every few days. Don’t be tempted to feed them too much too soon or the food scraps will sit for too long in the worm farm and begin to smell and attract flies. once the worms start to breed and increase in numbers, you can increase the amount you’re feeding them.

Today's delicious offerings, spinach and lettuce.

Today’s delicious offerings, spinach and lettuce.

There are a few rules about what you can feed your worms. It’s ok to feed them scraps of fruit and veg, newspaper and cardboard, crushed eggshells and teabags and coffee grounds. worms don’t like to eat citrus or onions, chilli or garlic. you should never put meat or bones into your worm farm. It helps the worms digest the food more quickly if you cut it up first.

The micro farmer feeds the worms,

The micro farmer feeds the worms,

You’ll get two types of fertilizer from your worm farm, the first is the liquid, or worm wee that collects in the bottom level of the farm, it can be drained out via the tap and should be diluted until it’s the colour of tea before being used on your plants, it’s great for leafy greens.

Worm wee!

Worm wee!


The second fertilizer is the worm poo, or castings, this is solid and can be taken from the farm every few months. The castings can be added direct to the soil or to pots or can be added to water to make a liquid fertilizer.
Yes, it's the poo!

Yes, it’s the poo!

This is such a great way to reduce your household waste and produce fertilizer for you garden, everyone should give it a go.