After I wrote about Carol Watson’s salad garden on her boat, Nichola Wright sent me photos and a short write up on her garden. Since it’s a little different method and readers asked for more ideas, I’m thrilled that she did! Nichola is from the UK, currently in Lisbon aboard her boat Emerald and heading for the Med — follow along on her blog, Emerald Tales.
Here’s what Nichola wrote:
My husband bought me the pots as a surprise birthday present as he knew I missed my garden now we were full time liveaboards. I bought a couple of bags of compost and lots of seed packets. The pots measure 38cm x 20cm x 17cm deep and have holes in the bottom with a separate tray to sit in.
We started off with the pots sat on the space just behind our mast and a dead space for us. We ended up with a few short lengths of stainless tube leftover from another job so we made a stainless fence although the pots don’t really need it as we don’t sail with them outside as I don’t think a salty wave would be too good for them.
When we’re at sea they go below on the floor in our v-berth with a webbing strap to hold them in place. As we generally only day sail they don’t seem to suffer too much from a few hours out of the sun.
Until this year we were living aboard in the UK with some cold winters. So then I brought them inside our cockpit canopy which has plastic windows so it acts as a sort of greenhouse although not much grew through the winter. See the photo at the top of this post.
Most years I refresh the compost, I also use a veg liquid food. My chives (looks like it needs a haircut in the photos!) come back year after year so I haven’t replaced its compost for fear of killing it.
So far I’ve tried rocket, various salad leaves, basil, spinach, chard, peas (for pea shoots), parsley, chives and this year I’ve given spring onions (AKA green onions in the US) a go. I have grown chillies before but they grew so tall they became a bit unwieldy when moving the pots around so I’m sticking with shorter plants. I grow from seed and the crop is eaten as baby leaves as the pots aren’t big enough for them to grow much bigger. I pick a few leaves and new ones grow back for maybe 4 times. I’ll plant new seeds every few weeks to keep a continuous supply. It’s not a massive crop but provides enough for a few leaves for lunch most days.
I hope this inspires someone else to grow a boat garden, if anyone has any questions I’m happy to try and answer. Just leave a note in the comments!