Gardening just became cheaper

It seems that in every place I put down even temporary roots, somehow I start a garden. Since I’ve been on the road, those gardens have mostly been in plastic pots, and mostly herbs. I haven’t found the secret yet for growing vegetable-yielding plants, such as tomatoes or peppers, but still trying.

In Batam, in fact, in the months before I left the first time, I started a large plastic pot garden on the roof of my apartment. I was successful at growing several kinds of basil in bulk, had thyme going, and a few other herbs. I even created a company, Pak Ken’s Organics, and a logo and label for packaging. But the ill-fated move to the Caribbean stopped all that.

When I returned to Batam, once again I started a rooftop garden, mostly of basil but also a few tomato and pepper plants. The latter two  did not do well. But again, a move, this time to Thailand, after a break in the U.S., meant an end to this budding garden.

Now, since I’m on a relatively long-term basis here in Thailand, I decided to start again. I bought a rosemary plant from a local store, and after a bit of hot weather stress, I found a shaded corner on my patio where it seems to be doing well. A cucumber plant also is starting out well.

My herbs, however, have not been sprouting, possibly because of old seeds and possibly because the pots I’m using are too big. Seeds should be sown in small pots and moved to larger ones once they reach a certain stage. They do not germinate very well in larger pots, for some reason.


Satay’s not a gardener, although she might try digging mine up if she gets a chance. Right now, she’s happy with one of her boxes.

The other problem I have is potting soil. It’s heavy to carry and there are very few places selling it. However, my evening power walk goes right by a small nursery, and I noticed piles of bagged soil at one end. I wasn’t sure if this was for sale or for use in the owner’s many potted plants, which I’m going to have to go back toprice later. Today, I walked there to see if the soil was for sale and if the owner, a woman, also had small pots for sale. Good news on both fronts, and then some.

She has a wide selection of plastic and clay pots and had just what I needed to start seedlings – at just 2 baht per pot. I bought 10 – about 60 cents total.

She then showed me some special fertilizer, told me when to use it and said 20 baht for an 8-0unce package. Bought it! And a 5-kilo bag of soil was just 20 baht, another 60 cents. $1.20 for all I needed. Not bad.

I also asked her about stones for the bottom of larger pots, but she said they use dried coconut husks. I may have to try that. Sounds like a better water-retention option than rocks.

Now on to sowing some seed. (And maybe I’ll resurrect Pak Ken’s Organics!)


About 2bagsandapack

Lifetime journalist, author, magazine editor and publisher, now semi-retired and traveling the world. My plan, after living in Costa Rica for 14 months, was to visit a new country in southern Europe every three months to experience the culture and the challenge of adapting to a new environment, while on a fixed income. That plan was sidetracked when I was offered a job in Indonesia, providing an opportunity to explore Asia. Indonesia lasted for a 4 wonderful years but I have now moved on to Hua Hin, Thailand.
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