Look Out the Repurposed for the Garden We Recycle

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I literally took the message from the side of this basket and I recycle it by turning it into a salad garden.

This house was full of garbage, especially the backyard. Not that I’m complaining – we found new uses for many items while saving money.

The first are the recycling bins: there have been several of them, but we don’t have a traditional use for them, because living in a house means that we are able to hold a large trash can suitable for most of our recycling needs. It was practically impossible to keep a recycling container for a while – while living in an apartment – someone always stole it on the sidewalk! And now we have too many of them. Go figure.

Fortunately, recycling bins are great planters if you can beat the vile ones. We are still in a yard renovation model, because we now realize that a bar is necessary if we want to interrupt the leveling work. I originally thought that we could do the work by hand because I was not a big fan of engine block and maybe even too optimistic when the snow was still on the ground and the courtyard garden was just a dream. Balancing a bumpy and sloppy garden takes time, which I don’t have at the moment, because we are in a layout crisis N° 3.

I also have some hiking photos to take. As a result, I cannot set up my raised beds, which means that I cannot plant spring vegetables or peas. Ah! One of our big goals this year is to become completely autonomous in salad fixings. Starting next month (or so), I don’t want to buy a single head of lettuce anymore if I can help it. This should be quite easy to achieve in the long term, as I intend to dedicate a fairly large bed only to the greens. So exciting! Obviously, this goal is out of reach if I can’t crash….

Right now, as we go through delivery deadlines and other crazy, replacement recycling bins will be my salad garden. Growing in them is a simple task and does not require preparation time, since they already have drainage holes in the soil. I just filled them with potting soil and sowed seeds. And it’s done.

Planting: in this tray, I sowed the Botanical Interests all-red Valentine Mesclun mixture, supplemented with some varieties of red lettuce, beetroot and Radicchio that I had on hand because I didn’t have enough in the package to cover the surface of the tray. I grow this like half-cut lettuce, so I had to sow abundantly.

Design: I opted for a red blend in the hope that it would create a surprising color contrast with the sapphire video tablet. My strategy here is to work with the obnoxious rather than trying to hide it.

Pest control: a family of impatient squirrels is visiting the yard and they are currently in a trench madness in early spring, so I covered the garbage with a piece of plastic wire mesh that we had on hand from another project. I cut it in place with clothespins, I collected more garbage from the yard. The net is designed to prevent squirrels from digging up seeds and seedlings until they are big enough to survive a raging squirrel strike.

Add Drainage: I pressed the container on cinder blocks (more yard recovery) to increase the drainage of the lower holes. Aesthetically, the tray support is also aligned with the steps of the porch. I may use hideous garbage cans as a garden, but I’m always interested in aesthetics!

Since there’s a good chance we won’t be able to plant the farm anytime soon, I plan to fill the remaining containers with kale, Swiss chard and Spigarello. I already have the seedlings inside, but I need to pick up a new potting soil. Oh, and build a cold frame so I can harden them. This is my next task….

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