Looking for cheap, eco-friendly solutions for common gardening issues? How do you protect plants from unexpected spring storms? Is there a way to plant veggies earlier without a large expensive greenhouse? Wouldn’t you love a place to wash your veggies outdoors? Does rainwater diversion have to be so expensive? Is there an easy way to shade vegetables without building a complicated permanent structure? How can you save yourself work when raking and saving leaves for compost? These simple, yet clever, eco-friendly solutions can help.
Instant recycled greenhouses
Are you one of those people who saves empty glass jars? You hate to throw them away. You feel they could be re-used for something, but you’re not sure what. How about using glass jars as tiny greenhouses for your early spring plantings? Simply plant your seed, water, then place the inverted jar over the planting. Push the jar neck slightly into the ground for stability. Not only does this protect the seedling, it keeps it conducts heat and conserves water. Evaporating water will collect and fall back onto the plant, much like it does in a terrarium.
Re-purposed washing station
When we moved into our home, the owners had left behind a laundry sink. It wasn’t hooked up. We had no use for it indoors. Being the green goddess that I am, I quickly came up with a fantastic idea. We already had a multi-hose connecter on our backyard spigot. By taking a short piece of hose and running it to the old laundry sink, I made an outdoor sink for washing veggies, hands or whatever other nasty dirt I didn’t want to bring in the house.
Bonus tip: I keep a re-purposed mesh veggie bag (filled with soap slivers and knotted) at the sink. The bag makes for efficient scrubbing power. Since we use eco-friendly homemade soap, water from washing can drain right back into the garden, via another hose attached to the drain.
Simple rain water diversion
No rain barrels allowed in your city? No problem. Using rainwater in the garden doesn’t have to be complicated. We’ve found that old ridged plastic sewer pipe fits wonderfully over gutter spouts. By simply running the pipe to the garden, we’re able to give it a good dousing every time it rains. When the garden has had enough, we direct the flow into an old kiddie pool for storage.
You may not be able to afford a pop up shade or complicated shade cloth construction for your shade loving plants. No worries. Simply use four stakes and an old sheet. Staple the sheet to the stakes at the corners. When your plants need shade, plunge the stakes into the ground around them. When the sun goes down, just fold the sheet up with the stakes inside for easy storage.
Easy leaf collection
Don’t you hate trying to stuff leaves into bags for later use? If you have a compost pile, why are you bagging the leaves up? Doesn’t it seem silly to bag them, just to toss them in the pile? Of course it is. Here’s a better idea. Lay your portable shade cloth flat on the ground. Use it to collect raked leaves. Pick it up by the corner stakes. Carry the whole thing to the compost pile. Dump it into the pile. It’s much easier than stuffing those bags. Plus, you’ll cut down on plastic use.
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Growing an Awesome Vegetable Garden on a Small Budget
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