Wednesday, April 1, 2015

In the Garden, Part 4: Making Stuff With What You Have

I don't know about you guys, but I am sooo glad to see April- it's almost gardening time again! 

Today, I thought it might be fun to show you some of the things we made last year.
Most of these things were just from crap laying around the place, or in the garage.
F'r'instance, take this, our Baby Buddha installation: 

solar Buddha installation

This was inexpensive to make. The Buddha was the most expensive item! 
He was a gift to the Big Guy- under $25, thank-you-very-much, Ross Dress For Less! 

That light?

solar lanternsolar lantern
Antique glass globe- $3 at Habitat For Humanity's ReStore, and a solar light that was hit by the mower. Drill a coupla holes, add a little copper wire & some chain, and you have a fancy-schmancy solar lamp. The big hook was just...there.
(Once these things are in the ground, they're kinda impossible to remove.)
The planter is one of those glamor crates I was talking about in my last post.

Miss Jewels insisted on "helping".
We turned an outdated recycling bin upside down, plopped it in the crate,
topped it with a mini-pallet, and then the Buddha.
The planters are....(you'll never guess!)....

We priced out all kinds of planters. We really did. But they were all either too shallow (we live in the high desert- shallow=dried out plants!), or waaay too expensive. The buckets were free, deep, and they fit. Really, once the plants grew, you couldn't tell!

fancy schmancy solar light

There's the (supposedly) squirrel-proof birdfeeder, too- it was a gift from my dad. It languished in the garage for years, waiting for a pole. Nearby, a Tiffany floor lamp (!!!) that my son pushed over and broke, as a toddler, likewise languished.

Feeder + lamp pole = happy birds!
(And jealous, jealous squirrels.)

bird feeder lamp pole

We lost our aspen trees to a small tornado-lette a few years back. 
(Yeah, that's a Treasure Valley thing. It cut a neat swath, right through the neighborhood.) 
They became a feeding station, with the addition of a few garden hooks rescued from a neighbors' trash.

We just drilled holes in the trunks, shoved in the hooks, and filled the feeders. 
We also had a lovely crop of volunteer sunflowers, which provided further feeding opportunities for our feathered n' furred friends. 
(Note the goldfinch on the thistle feeder, to the right- they're a big favorite at our place!)

Other cheap-or-free's:


 The ruins of a Vespa body, with an old-fashioned rose.

And we have the tractor treads as planters.


There's no better way to grow tomatoes! Or pumpkins. Or herbs. Or strawberries. Or...anything, really. 

Believe it or not, these pics were from BEFORE things really took off!
Eventually, the tomatoes topped out at over 6', poured down over the supports, and continued to grow ANOTHER several feet along the was crazy.

The hose pot and planters, below, were tractor hubs, but truck hubs would work just as well. 
Prop a large hub up on bricks, for drainage, and just roll your hose up inside.

potting station

And of couse, my potting station, on the left, is just a mailbox to hold tools n' gloves, 
and a tractor seat serves as a potting bench. 

tractor planting station

Happycat sits there when it's not in use.

scrap herb bed

Scrap lumber becomes herb beds.

Pallets become giant compost bins, and old swimming pool ladders make great supports for burgeoning pumpkin plants.

A variety of bricks, rocks, and pavers became a drainboard and hose station.

Lightweight pallets even become trellises!

pallet trellis
And of course, a profusion of cheapo solar lights are everywhere. I wish I had pictures of what all of this looks like at night- it is AWESOME. We stapled zipties to every fence, and then zipped solar lights onto 'em, PLUS there are all the lights in every flowerbed, tread, or planter. (Thank you, Dollar Tree!)
At night, we have our own fairyland, and in good weather, we add tiki torches to the mix. 
The kids played far into the night on many, many occasions last summer.

tiki and solar
See the little lights on the fence? Zipties are magic!

In our caliche (hardpan) soil, it's impossible to "plant" a bamboo tiki torch, so we improvised. That's a tractor part- we used sprockets and such for tiki bases. They work a treat! 
And of course, there's a bunch of solar jars all over the place. You can get the skinny on those here.

Everything, and I do mean everything, finds a use eventually, at our house.
None of it is rocket surgery, just usin' whatcha got. 
We don't bother to call it "shabby chic" or anything. These things just are.


Next time, I'll introduce you to our volunteers, flora and fauna both. :)


  1. Love your garden! I would have so much fun there!

  2. Thank you! If you ever visit Idaho, please, let me know- you'd be welcome! :)


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