Future of food – mobile vegetable gardens?

As I watched the hot, dry winds scream through the bush, sometimes accompanied by rather freaky dust devils that sounded like freight trains approaching, I started to think that maybe I’ll never be able to establish a vegetable garden on my patch of dirt.

There’s not many veggies that can withstand heat of up to 48C (118F) and a week straight of 40C (104F) + temperatures  without a lot of intervention. Even the drought resistant Gallapagos Tomato seeds that await my action I suspect won’t be able to stand the combination of heat, wind and lack of rain that seems to becoming the norm during our summer months. Up until the beginning of March, we had under 2mm of rain for the year.. less that a tenth of an inch.

It’s not so much any particular element, but the combination and extremes we are experiencing that pose the biggest challenge for home veggie growers.  Installing a rainwater tank or rain barrel to keep vegetable gardens going is a great idea as is mulching, but that only addresses a few issues.

After looking a little into Square Foot Gardening recently, it dawned on me that an extension of that is likely the way to go – mobile square foot vegetable gardening. It’s not something I’ve attempted yet, but a highly mobile vegetable garden is an idea I’m putting out there for perhaps an entrepreneur to act on, making a commercially available, reasonably priced barrow for such a purpose.

Back in my late teens, I used to work in a plant nursery with Azaleas. We had these huge barrows we used to fill with potted plants to move them between potting areas. Even though the fully ladened barrows weighed a great deal, they were easy to maneuvre and very robust. I think that a variation on these barrows may be ideal for growing vegetables, with the added benefit of being fully mobile.

A nursery barrow – could be quite easily
converted to a mobile vegetable garden
with the right trough insert.

By replacing the wire carrier frame with a sturdy recycled food grade plastic trough of suitable height, this set up could work quite well and applying the principles of square foot gardening, may only take a few barrows to service a family. Actually, the wire frame could remain in order to give the barrow extended applications.

Freezing in winter? Move the barrow to an area of your yard that’s not so prone to frost, or into a garage for the night

Too hot and dry in summer? Move the barrow to a shady spot for the afternoon.

Too windy? Shift it to a sheltered area until the wind abates.

Too wet? Again, move to a sheltered area during the deluge.

Additionally, the system would use far less water and be much easier on the back and knees when it comes to working the garden. Accessories could include a drip irrigation system fed by a bolt on water feeder tank, frames for climbers such as peas and beans, framework and covering to create a mini-greenhouse, inserts for growing potatos – there’s a ton of possibilities.

So, as I mentioned, if you’re an entrepreneurial soul who can see the value in such a product; go for it. If you do create a mobile vegetable garden barrow, be sure to let me know as I may not have gotten around to building mine by then :).

What are your thoughts vegetable gardeners of the world? Do you see the mobile vegetable garden being a good solution? Would you buy one? What would you add to it or what sort of design changes do you envisage?