Garden ideas welcomed

mcpeg(5a)March 19, 2006

My sister asked me to help her with her garden (or lack of it this summer). She had a house addition added a couple of years ago and the backyard is full of 2 hills of sand. Her money is limited right now.

I would dearly love to get rid of the sand but that costs money, even to get a skip and have it hauled. So we will be moving the sand around and putting topsoil on top for the garden beds.

I wintersow seeds and expect to have extra plants to share with her.

I was thinking, for this year, to use containers and establish a couple of garden beds. The containers will be used to move around as the yard progresses over the summer. The main garden beds to start I was thinking of placing where the line of sight is when you look out the back window.

Does anyone have any ideas for cheap planters? I am saving the buckets I get for my kitty litter to paint up for my own garden plants. I will also be scouring the neighbourhood when the renovations start in spring and there is wood tossed out - I will ask folk first if I can take some.

Any suggestions would be welcomed.

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You touch on a subject I greatly enjoy. Being creative about containers. So how about this, now that spring is approaching and garage sales are starting up,actually scout for throwaway pots. Visit garden nurseries to search their dumpster. Incidentally garden nurseries (not centres) would sometimes sell fiber pots which are cheap compared to plastic or terracotta pots.
Plastic pails - painted whatever colours you like, make sure to add drain holes. Demolition sites, and look out for chimney tiles. Build your own container out of recycled wood.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2006 at 10:17AM
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owbist(6A-Niagara, Ont)

I have made some hanging baskets 16 inches diameter by 12 inches high for just over $3 each. The same thing could be fashioned for flat bottomed planters, in fact I am about to make a few as planters around the uprights of my overhead trellis in leiu of hard to water wallbags.

TSC sell pig wire (not sure of the correct designation but... )which has 2 inch square holes and strong. I use 16 inches off a four feet width, create the circle then cut and fold the portion to create my baskets. These will be lined with the black cloth used to keep weeds from growing, then plastic with a few holes nearer the bottom for drainage.

A good pair of pliers and a strong grip are needed to cut and bend this material. They do have thinner half inch square mesh too but I tried one and it looks tacky. Too much shiney wire untill the plants hang over and cover it up for me.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2006 at 11:25AM
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There are lots of ways to improve your soil...and lasagna gardening is one of them. Search google for tons of info on this way of gardening as you will be able to start with a small space and just keep on making more or bigger beds as you get more materials.
I collect bags of leaves from curbside in the fall and use them for this as well as composting. I try not to waste anything that can be "returned" to the soil.

I wish I lived closer as I have loads of containers that garden plants came in.
Keep your eyes open on garbage days for throw-a- ways. I found a nice wheel barrow that had the wheels removed and I now have that in my back garden...and with a fresh coat of paint this spring...and overfilled with wild will have a new life :)
I've included a link to lasagna gardening....

Here is a link that might be useful: lasagna gardening

    Bookmark   March 19, 2006 at 11:55AM
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sydseeds(5A /ON)

Post on in your area that you have sand for free - people will come and grab as much as you offer - that should shrink the sand piles and while you're on freecycle, ask for planters, plant boxes, etc. and you should get plenty as folks head outside and start cleaning out their garages.

If freecycle don't put enough of a dent in those old sandpiles, call a couple of golf courses and let them know you have sand they are welcome to - no cost - just come and get it.

Hope these ideas help.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2006 at 12:01PM
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bonniepunch(USDAz4 AgCanz5a)

You might want to keep some of that sand around too - incorporating it into the soil will aid in drainage, especially in pots (and if you go for a lot of containers this year, you'll have to fill them with something). The freecycle idea is a great one to get rid of the extra sand, and to get pots - I have picked up quite a few nice pots that way.

I'll second another already mentioned place to get cheap black 10-12" pots - nurseries - they sell new ones usually for a buck or two, and some of them will sell their old ones. I once bought a couple of dozen used ones for 25 cents each.

If you see professional landscaping guys doing any planting you can often ask them for their empty pots - sometimes they're very happy to get rid of them easily.

Come late April, once the garden centres start selling all their stuff, I also take a walk around the neighbourhood on recycling days. I get tons of pots from the bins.

I use big rubbermaid bins from Canadian Tire for tomatoes, and I have bought big round 'utility bins' from them to use too - they're less than $10 each (supposedly they come in a terra cotta colour, but I haven't seen them). Drill holes in them and they make great big planters.

Your idea of scouring the renovation sites for leftovers is a great one. You can use wood, bricks and tiles to make nice planters or hide big rubbermaid bins.

If you're feeling ambitious you can make hypertuffa containers. They're like stone or concrete planters, but they're lighter. You can look up instructions, or ask here - many people have the directions tucked away in their to-do list folders :-)

Since money is on the short side, your sister should set aside a space for some serious composting. It's a great way to get a lot of high quality free soil in a year or two. Ask the neighbours if she can have their lawn clippings and leaves. Ask around the local coffee shops and see if any of them will allow her to take home the old coffee grounds. If there is a small fruit and vegetable store nearby, they may be willing to let her take home spoiled produce. Don't overlook workplaces - some offices churn out a lot of coffee!


    Bookmark   March 19, 2006 at 3:15PM
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Great ideas!
Yep, I do check out the recycle days as well. The hyperturf stuff I saw on TV looks like fun but I understand you have to let the end product age in the weather to let the alkalinity of the cement wear down before planting.
I have done lasagna planting - a lot of it and it works wonderful.
As for sand - we are talking about the size of 4-5 vans. It was the excavation from her home extension - way too much. Good idea to post sand for free!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2006 at 4:57PM
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casper1(5/6- -10F Ont)

Piles of sand are the backbone of "Rockeries or Alpine gardens" don't be in too big a hurry to dispose of them. I for one have to get several yds. dumped at my place. Adjust your thinking, "FLAT" is not neccesarily the best. Rai

    Bookmark   March 22, 2006 at 2:47PM
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Here in Halifax, in the outskirts, folks are always looking for 'clean fill', so offering it would be a good idea. Just be careful about the amount - it's a rare commodity which you will miss if you overdo it. I would love to have some of your problem! We are actually looking at purchasing soil for our gardens this year even though I have 5 yards of homemade compost looking at me.

My main source for pots and containers is garbage day! I insist on walking the dogs on G-Day and yesterday I got 4 pots - 2 of them are nice huge planters - a small wishing well and a whirlygig as garden decors. The whirlygig is of 2 fishermen in a boat with the oars turning with the wind. Just needs to be painted. The wishing well just needs a couple of nails to fix and it's as good as new!

I have an old wheelbarrow which I'll be using for a planter this summer too.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2006 at 7:59PM
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clairabelle(z4 Quebec)

How about donating part of your 'beachfront'lol to a local elementary school, daycare center or women's shelter for children to play in?

As for the pots, lots of great ideas here. I recycle the white plastic detergent buckets I get at Costco (but don't tell anyone! lol) and also regularly visit the local garden centre for the cheap black plastic ones. Also check out local Dollar Stores. I actually came across a couple of huge clay pots in one nearby for 5 bucks a piece. And... don't forget the neighborhood yard sales.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2006 at 9:27PM
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Great ideas! Thanks!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2006 at 6:09AM
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