Archive for the "reverse this" category

What can I reuse or recycle to make a vertical garden/living wall?

Readers of my simple/DIY living blog The Really Good Life will already know that I’m trying to make more efficient use of the space in my garden this year – I’ve been making lots of planters and raised beds from scrap wood (including this weekend, a 3ftx3ft bed for square foot gardening from our old bathroom cupboard doors) and I’m also interested in vertical gardening – creating a living wall of salad, herbs and companion plants.

I’ve explored the various different types of wall planters/hangers that you can buy – from essentially shelves, to window boxes, fabric bags and complicated systems – but me being me, I would prefer to make them myself, ideally reusing and recycling stuff I already have stashed around the place.

Some lovely people have already made some suggestions – I’m going to try making upside down planters from squash bottles and a fancy living wall type system from an old pallet when I find a suitable one – but I thought I’d ask on here as well in case anyone else has any suggestions.

I realise we’ve already covered similar areas like this before but I think the wall-mounted aspect opens up some other options – and I’d love to hear them.

What have you used to make wall planters? Have you made a vertical garden or a living wall? Or have you made any hanging baskets from anything interesting?

What can I reuse or recycle to make dishcloths or pot scrubbers?

We’re having a cleaning-themed week here on Recycle This – yesterday, we talked about reusing or recycling bleach bottles but today I’d like to think about making and have a question for you guys:

what have you reused or recycled to make reusable dishcloths or pot scrubbers?

A lot of people knit or crochet dishcloths or tawashi scrubbers from either new cotton or reclaimed stuff – but there are also how-tos for making them out of plarn (plastic bags turned into yarn) for a more abrasive dishcloth/scrubber.

Less involved, onion nets can be very quickly made into scrubbers – just followed in on themselves to make a ball/scrubber shape.

What have you used to make them? Any pattern suggestions?

What can I reuse or recycle to make a large wine rack?

Long-time Recycle This friend Alice has emailed to ask about making a large wine rack:

I make loads of home brew wine and beer, and I could really do with a very big wine rack. Any ideas on how I could make one out of recycled stuff?

It’d need to hold at least 36 wine bottles, and/or a similar number of beer bottles. Doesn’t need to look especially pretty though ‘cos I store it all in the shed until it’s drinkable. All that liquid and glass is very heavy though, so it’d need to be very strong and stable.

I found this great page with lots of wine rack designs – and it might be possible to make some of those from recycled/reclaimed materials — for example, the pipe one near the bottom of the page.

Has anyone made any wine racks by reusing or recycling stuff? What did you use? Anyone got any suggestions of things that could be upcycled/reclaimed?

What can I reuse or recycle to make seedling/plant labels?

It might still be February but our 2011 growing season is already off and running here.

In addition to the eight fruit trees John planted a couple of weeks ago, I planted out eight fruit bushes at the weekend and I started my first batch of cauliflower, greenhouse tomatoes and lettuce the weekend before last. Following a recommendation from The Cottage Smallholder, I’ve bought a heated propagator to give my other greenhouse crops – cucumbers, chillis, pepper & tomatoes – a warm start in life — I’m hoping that arrives in the post today so I can get started with them ASAP.

For the first few sowings, I can remember what is where — the lettuce are in the troughs & square pots, the tomatoes in the round ones, the caulis in the fibre ones – but in a few weeks, I won’t be able to remember where everything is. And outside, we’ll want to know next year (and the year after, and the year after that) which fruit trees & bushes are which variety.

In the past, I’ve used slices of drinks cans or plastic milk bottles as plant markers – and they work reasonably well if you remember to write on them using a permanent marker (which I didn’t do last year – lots of confusion mid-year). I also know other people who use ice lolly sticks (but there has been an unacceptable dearth of those consumed here in the last year) and the like. And some people buy white sticks to use as labels – buy? buy?! not I! ;)

Do you reuse or recycle any packaging or bits of “waste” to label your plants or seedlings? Do you have any suggestions for making long term labels – ones that’ll be weather-resistant for at least a few years?

(Photo by normanack)

What can I reuse or recycle to make garden cloches (row covers)?

I thought we’d already covered this but apparently not!

At the weekend, I made some 4ft by 1ft garden planters from scrap wood – having a lot of fun and saving myself a heap of money in the process. I think I’ll probably use them in our front garden – there are just a few scratty pots of herbs out there and planters like these (I may make a couple more) will make the currently dead space a lot more productive. Around here though, between the slugs & the dismal Yorkshire climate, things either need to be started as seedlings elsewhere or grown under row covers — cloches — for the first few weeks of their lives.

So what do you use for cloches? The tops of plastic bottles make great mini-cloches for individual plants – my dad uses the bottom of the bottles as seedling pots, the tops for seedling protectors when they’re planted out.

But what about for larger areas? I might want to grow stuff in rows and had an idea to make some “hoops” on a made-to-measure frame and cover that with either clear but heavy-ish plastic (for example, the chickens‘ feed bags) or opened out plastic pop bottles (although I’d probably need a lot of them to make it work). Any other ideas? And suggestions for the hoops? I can find scrap wood for the frame but would need some metal strips or plastic tubing, or the like for the hoops – any ideas?

As I’m aiming to minimise my workload – and minimise the waste going to landfill each year – I’d like to make them not only from post-consumer waste but also make them to last for as long as possible — so any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated!