How Does Your Garden Grow?

 

That’s my shadow waving at you! Shadow is such a showoff!

That’s my shadow waving at you! Shadow is such a showoff!

 

By servantheart, Editor-At-Large

Sometimes, when I just need to find a way to express myself from deep somewhere within, I write poetry. I never said I was any good at it; I simply said I write it, a cathartic exercise, you know.

Just a few short days ago, I was worried about my gardens, so worried; I wrote a little poem to relieve my worry:

Oh, Sweet Mary, so water wary

How shall we make this garden grow?

With recycled things that imitate spring

‘til the weatherman calls for less low.

We’ve had so much rain in the Deep South. Our back yard is “stepped”; the upper level does fine, as it drains well –right into the lower level! The bottom part of the back yard, the lower level, has stayed wet since January, and, it is still wet. Yep. You guessed it. More rain coming. Woo. Hoo.

I was sinking in two inches of muck every time I walked across the lower level of the back yard. It was very difficult, and very frustrating, to try to work my gardens. 

Guess what? The solution was FREE! Yep. Free. Sturdy wooden crates from the garden center and some given to me by the guys replacing roofs from that awful hail storm last month.  But, hey! It works. And it was free. It doesn’t get any better than that!

This is the lower garden, btw, I have such a big problem with snails and slugs; or, well, I did – until I set out the beer traps! Man, do those things work! The snails/slugs love the scent, crawl right in and drown! Just change the beer every day or so; even cheap beer works well. I used the plastic tubs from my favorite greek yogurt as “beer pools”. Natural; cheap; and it works!

And, then, I read somewhere that partially decomposed compost makes GREAT mulch! Well, hey! I have lots pallet compost binof that!

Here’s my compost bin, made from FREE oak pallets. They’ve been in use for three (3) years now, and still going strong. DH simply lashed them together, 4 to make a “box”. We always have a good assortment of “critters”, including big, juicy earth worms. We keep it moist, but not wet; we feed it with kitchen scraps (all but raw eggs, any meat, or dairy foods) and yard cuttings (chemical free), plus leaves every Fall. Yes, some of the compost material “escapes”; I just pitchfork it back in every now and then. The screens help hold it in place, and the cover on top is held in place by an old tire because the raccoons were able to lift the 3’ long 2×6 board we were using to hold the cover in place! Tires were “free” in the sense that we took them off a car when we had new ones put on. Fiberglas cover was leftover from a greenhouse build project in another part of the yard. The black plastic box to the left is our first compost bin; it did not hold up well ($50), especially as it filled up; we have plugged the openings from the inside with more of our window screens picked up in a yard sale for seventy cents each, and we keep twigs and starter wood in it now. EVERYTHING can be repurposed. There is rarely any reason to put anything in the land fill, y’all. But our wood pallet system? It works well; it holds tons of compost, and it was free!

So then I used the contents to mulch my newly-planted raised gardens; it makes beautiful mulch.cement bed

The gray grid-like things (back – hard to see) are refrigerator parts I “rescued” from the dump; my cucumbers like to grow across the tops.

The DS brought home something from work the other day that will work great for our melons to climb up and then rest across the top as the melons ripen; and it was FREE! (My favorite 4-letter word!). It’s in place in the garden, though you can’t see it here – a two-story, very sturdy powder-coated metal “cage” display thing that, otherwise, would be in the landfill now.

And then there’s my potato bucket. I bought this container at Lowe’s last year for $5.00; DH drilled holes in the bottom; I put in a layer of stones for drainage, and I can’t keep a fresh layer of growing soil on these ‘taters fast enough! They are popping up like crazy. I bought SMALL red seed potatoes, because I did not have time to cut and cure the seed potatoes for two weeks, so I planted them whole. Man, are they growing! And, another one of my seventy cent yard sale screens at work here.

screensSo, this is my garden, such as it is. Cucumbers, squash, tomatoes (4 varieties!), and concord grapes (out front). The lower level contains brasilicas and beans, but, not showing them off just yet. I will be filling in all those “holes” in cinder blocks and growing companion plants; I have done this before and it worked out very well; so, these small raised gardens CAN produce a tremendous amount, if we utilize every available space for growing in them.

 

 

more cement

I am so very happy when gardening; how about you?  What recycles did you find a new purpose for in your gardening? In your neck of the woods, how does your garden grow?

Grace and Truth, John 1:14; 1:17; 2 John 1:3 Sha’alu Shalom Y’erushalayim (Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem)

 

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