Meandering around my neighborhood with my baby in tow, I've spotted a pallet or two at numerous homes. Even the "neat" and "tidy" people seem to have one or two propped up against their garage door with a purpose in mind. Pallets get a ton of use in gardening, not only as unique planters but also re-purposed into raised beds. They make stellar planters for herbs and even some veggies like cucumbers, peppers and lettuce. But first, I want to highlight my favorite use for a recycled pallet. Shovel and spade storage. Yup. You can't beat it. In what seemed like less than five minutes, Tom turned a pallet into a storage rack for my tools and I love it. Simple yet profound, I now have one central place in my garage to store all my handled tools. It looks great and functions even better. It's wonderful not to waste time looking for the tool I want. But I have lots of ideas of how you can use pallets now. Pictures included to inspire you today because to some extent, aren't we all visual learners? Let me know what you think you'd try first!
When Tom and I got married ten years ago, we received a few...ahem..odd wedding presents to say the least! Some of which we couldn't identify. Not even when googled. Angels without faces? Check. Angels lacking any head whatsoever? Check. Lopsided circular vase that spins like a top but plops on the floor unless it's being propped up? Yup. Got one of those too. DVD player that turned out not to be a DVD player at all but an oddly shaped wood bowl that was just wrapped in the old DVD box? Yep. Tom was so thrilled with the imagined DVD player and nearly cried when he saw that hideous bowl. Heh. But I can't mock him too much because I felt the same way. Some of the weirder knickknacks had to be donated immediately (after very heartfelt thank you notes were written). But who's got the room to store junk they won't use or and morally can't re-gift? So I wanted to show you how I enhanced my garden space with one of my underused wedding presents. It's quickly becoming my pride and joy! And before I forget, would you leave me a comment describing the oddest present you ever got just to make us all laugh?
Now with five birdfeeders on our property the birds are well-fed. However, now they want a birdbath to get all clean after their feast. Tom wants this too. In fact, birdwatching is Tom's new favorite activity and I can't even relate how much stress it relieves. We're saving thousands just on his therapy sessions alone. So for awhile now we've been exploring various options of making our own DIY birdbath. We wanted natural products that would blend with our landscape. Nothing tacky....right?! We also weren't looking to spend too much cash, if any. So we wanted to stick with stuff already purchased or recycle something that wasn't getting used. This is what we came up with and hope you'll make your own too!
I'm not lazy and I don't think you are either. But this doesn't mean we want to spend all our time working in the garden and zero time enjoying it. Book and lemonade in hand please! So as I get...ahem...older, I'm working on creating a space that I spend less time slaving over and more time savoring. This means incorporating plants and shrubs that don't fuss too much. But first, you have to consider the location. Is the spot you are filling full-sun, shade and/or have dry or wet soil? Once you've answered that, you are golden. Here are sixteen plants that fit the bill for each location that are easy peasy. And now is a fantastic time to start collecting many of these perennials cheap as nurseries and big box stores alike are purging plants like it's their job...because it is. And sure, I know the above picture is an annual geranium, but then again, I've had many survive our harsh Buffalo winters in my basement. So they're hardy to say the least!
Tom and I just got wood fired pizza where the menu stated..."good food takes a long time so be patient." Good blog posts work much the same way. Time and lots of it to create quality work. The time Tom spent researching alone! But these tomato cages are worth the wait. Promise. Tom made these tomato cages for our garden to replace some of our old cages and what a difference! They can be left in the garden all year long so storage will never be an issue. And you know how it is with those flimsy wire tomato cages, they last one season, maybe two and then you toss them in the garbage. The cycle of buying, tossing and re-buying the following year was getting pricey and annoying. Now we have stable trellises that will last a lifetime and surprisingly look sharp too. Use these on your tomatoes, eggplant, squash, peppers, cucumbers and even beans and peas. Best of all, you'll be shocked at how easy they are to make.
Tom here...gardening is supposed to be fun, right? I'm a very competitive person and like to win whether I'm playing a game of cards or sports. So here's the deal. Last year when we partnered with Marle Worm Growers they taught me about how vital worms are. Maybe it's gross but their poop or castings are loaded with some of the best nutrients needed for plants to thrive. When they squirm around the garden they help make the soil more crumbly which improves soil structure and allows air and water to flow more freely. Their movement also creates tunnels which aerate the soil underneath to the benefit of those plant roots. Marle sent us a worm tube/tower to test out which I liked so much that I used it as a model to make more. Since I have the "go big or go home" mentality I decided to make four more identical worm tubes like the one that Marle sells. If you only want one worm tube, it's cheaper to just buy one from them. But if you're looking to have multiples then consider making them as you'll have all the supplies on hand. This is an easy step-by-step guide on how I built four more tubes/towers for our three raised beds.
Tom here. I recently garbaged picked a very nice 75' garden hose from the curb. It certainly didn't looked damaged. At the same time I'm not naive enough to think that somebody threw away a garden hose because it was in good working order. I ended up finding a small hole in the hose. But for $1.92 I fixed the hose and now it works perfect. Have you thrown out a garden hose that has a hole, or because one of the ends got run over by a car or the lawn mower? Does it drive you crazy if you see a little drip coming from one of the ends? Stop fretting over your hose and fix it yourself! Confession time. I just learned how to fix these common problems... The good news? So can you!
I like to think I don't nag. But this probably isn't true. This year, I really wanted every plant to be propped up. Sprawling plants make for a messy looking garden. And since I planted much closer than usual this year, we needed to go vertical. Trellises are pricy, usually one trellis per plant. But I wanted a trellis that could prop up a whole row of peas, beans or cucumbers. So I got on Tom. Tom's a gym teacher. With his go-big or go-home mentality, he was racking his brain with ideas to win. And he came up with a seven' high and six' wide trellis made out of PVC pipe. Guess what else? There's a surprise at the end of this post.
We have a 2' x 4' cedar planter box that needs potting soil. Soon... so that I can get my herb garden going. [Hint hint awesome giveaway coming up]. Anyhow, to buy bagged soil is going to cost us a small fortune. Over $70 I estimated for just this one box. And I have several other containers and pots that need to be filled too. Even though we spent over $500 to fill our three raised beds with dirt, this type of soil is just too heavy when growing in pots. It's time to make my own. Are you in? Want to try it with me?
Hi, I'm Laura and hail from Buffalo, NY. I love sharing my home & garden ideas with you. Thanks for stopping by.
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