Tin bath Update

TIN BATH UPDATE20800195_2004749936218082_2217981783231954292_n

I seem to have well and truly fallen off the blogging horse over the past 5 months, but here I am again. I’m back!

I got the nudge I needed when I was contacted by Thompson & Morgan (yes, that massive seed company!) who wanted to feature me in their blog: 10 Terrific Organic & Permaculture Gardeners . As you can see they’ve picked some great people to feature along with little old me. There’s Charles Dowding and Stephanie Hafferty, the rock Gods of the no-dig world. There’s a quirky blog about how cucumber seedlings like a bit of rock music and prefer it to Jazz! And another fellow chronic illness gardener, who’s blog Gwenfar’s Garden and other musings charts her successes and challenges of growing food while managing limited physical energy, and is well worth a read.

Tin Bath observations

Anyway, it’s about time that I showed you how the Tin Bath design developed over the past growing season, so here goes.

As you will see in my previous blog,  20770520_2004749986218077_3889423813050119049_nI chose the sunniest spot in the garden to place my tin bath, by the old conservatory south facing wall. I say ‘old conservatory’ because it is no more. We are currently having a new one built, which began in early July, so the tin bath had to be moved to another location in the garden at that point.

But for all of May and June, it thoroughly thrived in it’s sunny location, as you can see from the following photos.

The violas and nasturtium got a head start because I bought them as small plants from a garden centre, while the others edibles – the chard, rocket, marigold, and dill – I grew from seed. So this meant that the violas and nasturtium raced ahead in size and maturity, at times attempting to dominate the other plants.20840740_2004749996218076_574824268382027054_n

The tomato ‘Patio Yellow’ (you can just see it at the back right hand edge) was also bought as a young plant, but was a compact variety and a slower growing one which didn’t compete for space.

By the beginning of June, it was looking absolutely lush, with bright reds and purple/yellows of the edible flowers. I was harvesting them for salads, along with the nasturtium leaves and our meals looked incredibly beautiful!

There was the added bonus of location; our patio table and chairs were situated right near the tin bath on the sunny patio, and so for many lunch meals I would be eating right there, and leaning over to pick edible flowers to add to my lunch. I was living the permaculture dream! :) 20842149_2004750049551404_6799262248000981183_n


As June went on, the rocket bolted to the sky, sending up it’s beautiful delicate white flowers, which added another punch to the salads, along with the flowering calendula marigolds. I love the way a whole head of calendula petals adds a massive ZING to a salad, the taste isn’t as good as it’s colour, but it makes the meal feel even more exotic and I’m sure they must contain beneficial minerals (or something) as nothing that bright could be devoid of any nutrition!

The nasturtium leaves were just showing the first signs of yellowing at this point, and the viola leaves were starting to look a bit mildewy. So I added a layer of compost as best I could to the surface of the bath, hoping that the extra food would help the plants recover. But as you can see, they just became more sparse and sprawling.20840715_2004750186218057_662258656199368608_n

At this point the chard was completely swallowed by the other faster maturing plants in the bath, and I wondered if they would even survive, but it did, and it’s time would come to shine. The tomato just steadily carried on growing and even started developing fruits by this stage. It was happy.

I realised that it was time to pull out the nasturtium and viola. They had had their day, and they were now over, and this meant that I could practice some succession in my planting scheme. So I had a look at what I had growing in my conservatory, and selected a couple of things that I thought would like it in the bath, sharing the sunny position and not competing too much with what was already there.20842202_2004750212884721_6655326976136861433_n

I had been given some lemon basil seeds by a Facebook friend, and I had grown a whole tray of these deliciously lemony smelling seedlings. Another friend had also given me a small tray of Thai Basil seedlings, which have quite an unusual exotic aniseed taste, and later on they would develop beautiful clusters of purple flowers. These two additions certainly made the salads even more interesting.

It was now early July and the dill had bolted and thrown up these beautiful flowers and seed heads, and I certainly appreciated their beauty while sitting on my patio.

But change was coming. It was now time to move the tin bath to another location higher up in the garden, so that work could start on the building of a new conservatory. 20799317_2004750216218054_3947571721691208461_nThis meant that it no longer got the attention it once enjoyed in it’s prime spot, and it wasn’t quite as sunny either, but none the less, it carried on growing and producing without my attention!

Every few days, I’d wonder up the garden and come back with a handful of sweet yellow cherry tomatoes. I was still harvesting the Thai Basil and calendula flowers for salads too.

And now that the chard had more room, it started to push out and mature. It’s still growing even now, and the leaves are enormous – much bigger than the way they look in my final photo.


Overall, I am very pleased with the Tin Bath Design. It is a success. It even looked like my imagined drawing of what I’d hoped it would look like (see my drawing in previous blog). I got a significant yield of tasty and pretty salads, all through the growing season. And now in mid October, I still have Rainbow Chard to harvest, despite having had to move it to another location.



I’m definitely going to have another go next year with the same tin bath. Perhaps I’ll use the same design, or perhaps I’ll try a couple of new things? What would you recommend?


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