Garden Upcycling: Turn Trash into Treasures
Turn trash into treasures! Gardeners are a pretty thrifty bunch, and it’s in the garden where repurposing old items into new really comes into its own. From transforming tins into planters to repurposing old furniture for storing produce, there are countless ways to put worn-out or unwanted items to good use in the garden.
All kinds of household and garden items make excellent containers. You’ll need to consider the depth of the container: an old cattle trough for instance can be used to grow all kinds of vegetables, while a spare length of guttering could be used for shallow-rooting crops such as strawberries and salad leaves. Make sure there are drainage holes in the bottom of any potential container, or drill more if necessary.
Beds, Borders and Surfaces
Old bricks can be used to create the outline and spokes of a beautiful herb wheel, and reclaimed wood can be used to make raised beds. Not only do they look smart, raised beds provide better drainage and warm up earlier in spring.
Lay bricks to make hardwearing paths or patios, or use old paving slabs between beds to provide firm footing. Slabs or slates laid on their edge can be used to as edging for raised beds.
Stack bricks, stones or rocks and top with smooth sanded scraps of wood to make an attractive place to rest in the garden.
Protection and Supports
Home-made cold frames are always popular, and can be as simple as a polycarbonate sheet screwed to a wooden frame with hinges at the rear to make it easy to open and ventilate.
Pole beans and other vining crops look fantastic climbing up an arch made using plastic water pipe. Low tunnels and hoop houses can also be made from water pipe.
Bend flexible willow prunings into a frame for row covers, or into attractive plant supports.
Scare Away Birds
Tie old CDs onto string and suspend them above crops to startle birds. Alternatively, attach silver or colored tape to canes to flap in the wind, or stretch it over vulnerable crops. Making a scarecrow is a great way to get creative and frighten off birds too.
Create cozy homes for beneficial bugs such as ground beetles and solitary bees using old pots, bricks, straw, twigs, cones and prunings.
Container ponds will help draw in slug-hungry frogs or toads. Place a layer of pebbles on the base, then add larger rocks to make it easy for animals to get into and out of the water. Aquatic plants provide food and habitat for many creatures, and look great.
Make an Apple Store
An old chest of drawers can be turned into a beautiful apple store. Draw circles about an inch in diameter at regular intervals over the unit. Cut them out using a hole saw drill bit. An apple store like this will keep your apples dry, shaded and well-aired.
Repurpose those seed catalogs into garden crafts and plant labels. If you don’t have any catalogs, ask a garden friend or neighbor.
Using Old Wood
Pallets can be used to make compost bins. You can make a single bin, or build two (or more) together to provide a bay for adding compost to, and one to leave compost to mature in.
Or, lay a pallet on its side and paint it to convert it into a gorgeous vertical planter.
If you live close to the ocean, collect driftwood to make a truly individual rustic fence or other wooden structure.
Finally, don’t throw those fireplaces ashes out. See how to use wood ashes in the garden.
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