So there are a few things I know about: I know about being broke, I know about so badly wanting to grow my own food, and I know about thrift store shopping and making a little something out of nothing. So out of all of my “vast” knowledge and some motivation, I have found some pretty rockin’ ways (through friends, family, and research) to reuse materials for planting and to add a little bit of spunk to a garden space.
One really awesome idea I saw recently was posted by BRING Recycling of Springfield, Oregon. BRING has got everything a person could need for a home and business remodel or any DIY project. Their most recent and fun idea involves mattress springs and gardens. The first idea is to use the old mattress springs for fences for chicken coops or around garden plots to keep animals out. The second idea is to use the mattress spring as a valence for peas and beans to climb or decoratively for vines. The beauty of this is most places practically give these things away and they are extremely light weight. This site has a few photos and examples of mattress garden art.
One very common, practical, and often free, item I see in many yards of Eugene students and gardeners is an old dresser. So there are two ways you can do this. The first is best if done using a short dresser (2 or 3 drawers). Keep the dresser up right and either make sure you have sturdy bottoms to the drawer or reinforce them with strips of wood . Once they are reinforced, drill holes to allow for water to drain. The bottom drawer should be pulled all the way out, the next one half way and the top a quarter of the way out. You need to make sure that the dresser will not be off balance (this is why you should only use smaller dressers), you can bury the dresser part way if you would like more security. Fill the drawers with soil and only grown plants with a small root system. Herbs and flowers will work best in this situation.
The second way, which is better for taller dressers, is to lie it down flat and use it as a type of “raised” bed. Remove the back of the dresser if possible; if this is too difficult drill many holes or cut slices out so that the roots have a place to go (if you have to do this, tap root veggies will not work as well). Remove all the drawers, fill the dresser with soil, and bam! you are left with nice separate sections and raised beds. The drawers can then be used as separate planters or stacked in an artistic way and used as a focal point in a garden. (I love the use of the guitar in the picture to the right, such a good idea!)
Another obvious, but extremly easy object to use is anything wicker! Wicker baskets, chairs, bookshelves. All of it great, water can flow, roots can grow, and there is nothing you have to do except add some high quality soil.
Old gutters can be used as totally bitchin’ hanging planters or pathway liners. Toilets can hold plants in the bowl and in the tank.Sliding glass doors or french doors for cold frames. Some friends of mine even took their old truck canopy, put it up on stilts, and now have a nice cozy home for their chickens with an easy access window to gather eggs.
Wine bottles are something that are never in short supply in my house, and judging by all the recycling bins full of them, most other’s houses as well. So next time recycling day rolls around, roll around on your own and pick up all the colorful, pretty, and nonbroken bottles to jazz up your garden. One idea I have seen, is to take all your wine bottles and create a barrier for your garden by sticking them neck down in the ground. This creates a raised edge and also a pretty mosaic pattern around your beds. Also filling your bottles with water and sticking them straight into your planter will slowly release water as the soil needs (instead of paying out the arse for those orbs on the shopping network). Wine bottles are a great way to create easy art as well. I have seen anything from paths made completely of bottles, to wine bottle lanterns, to simple statues.
a little creativity
Got any great DIY garden ideas? Love to hear whatchya got. Happy Spring!