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Being Resourceful

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Being Resourceful

Post  sarahemeline on 3/4/2010, 12:14 pm

After pricing a bunch of stuff out at the local Home Depot (and spending most of my garden budget on building those boxes), I'm determined to find resourceful and clever ways to NOT buy materials new by substituting other things in their place.

Store bought grids: all warped.
Substitution ideas: plastic window grids? coated chain link? string? dowels? bamboo? Venetian blinds slats?

Store bought fabric liner: $15 a roll (me=poor)
Substitution ideas: cardboard? (do you puncture holes in it?) cheap cloth from the fabric store? anything else?

I think it would be nice to have a forum about item substitution for any of the following materials, and more:
path (gravel, brick, woodchip, etc)
Vertical climbers
sorting seeds
storing seeds


Let me know what you all think and find out!
Happy Gardening!


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great idea!

Post  boffer on 3/4/2010, 12:23 pm

Why don't you start a thread in the general forum to that effect. It will be seen by a lot more people that way. A lot of us garden on a budget, and I'm sure many folks will have suggestions. Watch for posts from Ward-I think he's one of the best at finding free stuff for his garden.

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Re: Being Resourceful

Post  herbarium on 3/4/2010, 1:07 pm

Grids - I use lath. I picked them out individually because I didn't need as many as came in a bundle. Also, that way I can check the condition. Old blinds would likely blow away on my property. Dowels might work but I don't know if I would save anything. String is too flexible for me. Bamboo is not sturdy enough. The lath helps prevent cats (including mine) from digging in my garden.

Fabric - I only put fabric under boxes where there is bindweed. Some people call it morning glory. It will come up through almost anything so I used the heavy duty landscape fabric. Where there was just grass I just put the box down and filled it. No problems with grass coming through. You could put cardboard or newspaper down if you want and don't have bindweed.

Boxes - I use douglas fir which should last quite a few years in my dry climate as it has a previous houses where I have lived.

Path - I use straw and leaves (I have tons). Be careful though because it can be slippery. After the grass underneath is killed off I will be putting down wood chips and planting some ground covers. I need to take out some trees so if I can get someone to chip them for me I will have wood chips. Tree pruners will sometimes let you have wood chips for free or cheap because they don't want to have to go dump them somewhere. Watch when they are clearing power lines in your area or doing other pruning.

Vertical - I built the trellises just like Mel says using EMT from the electrical department. They are fantastic - hold up well, just move them to the garage for the winter. There are spiral type supports you can buy at some nurseries and garden centers. I like them too but I don't know if they would save you anything in the long run.

Shade - I haven't needed to worry about that. Shade cloth is sometimes available on sale. Home Depot had some on clearance that is green and has a drawstring because it is designed to place over a potted plant for warmth. You could just pull out the string and use it either from some frost protection or shade.

Seed storage - I store mine in ziplock bags and I use the same bags year after year. Once in a while one tears and needs replaced. I have heard of using film canisters.

Compost - I make my own but it is never enough because I use it on my entire yard - even the lawn. Sometimes you can find it on sale or discounted. If a store has several that are broken sometimes you can get a deal on them. If you know someone with horses, chickens, etc you may be able to get it free or cheap. Also, check with area dairies, etc. I have bought some from Johnny's Dairy in Riverdale, Utah


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Re: Being Resourceful

Post  Kabaju42 on 3/4/2010, 9:43 pm

Path:I'm going to try grass for a path. The trick will be that I'll have to dig down my boxes so that the bottom is 4" under the soil. That way the grass roots shouldn't get under them.
Box: I have some planks of wood from a pantry shelf I took apart and I'll be using that for boxes, as well as some wood I got off craigslist

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Re: Being Resourceful

Post  Amy in Idaho on 3/31/2010, 2:26 am

Boxes: I used free pallets. Just ask. Also, I just learned I know a lot of people in construction who will save wood for you if you ask.

Grid: Lath is $0.35 per 4" length at Home Depot. .35 x 6 = $2.10 per box. I also thought, since I need to make mix as this is my first year, of using large sticks from my birch trees bound with wire at the intersections.

Compost: Know anyone with a farm? I have three garbage cans to rotate my compost. Went to my friends farm and got one garbage can full of chicken droppings and straw, and another of horse, goat and cow droppings with straw. I blended them on a tarp and filled the two back up. Will turn through using the empty garbage can once a day. After all, I can have all I want, she doesn't mind someone cleaning her barn and chicken coop.

Weed paper: Again, know anyone with a farm. I have learned that the heavy duty feed sacks, i.e. purina is using them now, with the grid work plastic woven stuff, keeps even bindweed(?) (morning glory) from coming up. I plan to layer feed sacks then newspaper since both drain well.

I will let you know more as I learn. I like recycling and thinking outside the box (pun intended) so I am sure I will find more ideas.
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Post  sarahemeline on 3/31/2010, 9:11 am

I found a GREAT substitute for the wood laths (all of which seemed to be crooked at the stores I tried).
I went down the plumbing aisle at Lowes and they have the drip irrigation tubing stuff priced .09-.11 cents per foot. I bought several feet of their smallest tubing that was kind of a milky white in color. I then bought a packet of those small copper-plaited brad nails and went to town.
This is kind of experimental in nature- I don't know how they'll fare by the end of the Fall, but I'll keep you all posted. Smile


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Re: Being Resourceful

Post  nidiyao on 3/31/2010, 11:21 am

good idea to use the tubing. i need something that will keep that naughty cats out. Anyone have any recommendations?

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Re: Being Resourceful

Post  Lavender Debs on 3/31/2010, 11:25 am

@nidiyao wrote:good idea to use the tubing. i need something that will keep that naughty cats out. Anyone have any recommendations?
I have not personally tried it but using cocoa hulls for mulch is what neighbors swear by (smells like expensive dark chocolate on warm days). Someone here said holly leaves works for them. There is a thread in the PNW reign on this.
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Re: Being Resourceful

Post  OahuSFG on 3/31/2010, 7:32 pm

@nidiyao wrote:good idea to use the tubing. i need something that will keep that naughty cats out. Anyone have any recommendations?

I read this tip but haven't tried this yet. Put stakes that are above the ground at least 6" high around the area you want to keep free of cats/dogs in a zig zag pattern. Run clear fishing line on the stakes. Critters will not like the feeling of getting tangled and keep away.


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Re: Being Resourceful

Post  camprn on 3/31/2010, 7:44 pm

@nidiyao wrote:good idea to use the tubing. i need something that will keep that naughty cats out. Anyone have any recommendations?
hmmm... maybe plant catnip (mint) in it's own box across the yard from your veggies. place a cage over it so they don't totally destroy the plant. I would use a smaller cage than this one so that some of the plant may grow out.

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Re: Being Resourceful

Post  bonnie0128 on 3/31/2010, 7:51 pm

to keep cats out of my boxes, I placed my grids (using string) then laid plastic chicken wire over the boxes - cut to size then stapled on with a staple gun. As the plants grew, I cut enough room for them to fit through the chicken wire. Worked really well. This year it is a bit of a pain as I have to pull up all the staples to remove the chicken wire (to add compost and plant) and the holes won't line up for the new crop rotation - but it'll be worth it...even if I have to lay down new chicken wire as I still have a lot left.

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Re: Being Resourceful

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