Garden Recycling - Plastic Containers 2

Posted on May 24, 2016 at 1:40 PM Comments comments (0)

For those who were wondering if my plastic container garden was ever completed, wonder no more. Over this past long weekend, the weather warmed up and I found the time to repot into my recycled plastic containers. It was surprising to see how quickly the plants resettled in. Once the plants are sturdy enough, I will repot them up permanently in my larger metal garden containers - old kettles and pails. With more warmer weather on the way, it won't be long.

This year I've planted sage, tomato, flat-leaf parsley, oregano, thyme, chives, some garlic, rosemary, and mint from seed. All of these were started off in empty eggshells 'pots', then each one placed back into egg cartons. If my egg cartons had been those paper ones, I would have simpled planted the seeds into the carton compartments but mine are clear plastic and I like to reuse these over and over again. I stored the carton 'incubators' under the kitchen sink cupboard - a nice dark and cosy place for seedlings to sprout. Once the seedlings had grew a few inches, I transplanted the little fellows into plastic milk containers (the ones I used for the pizza gardens last year).

Note that before transplanting, I gently crush each eggshell and then place each in the new container. Even though the eggshells will soften in the new pots, it's still a good idea to crush them as it allows the seedling roots to quickly reach out and settle in new soil. Because it was too cold to put these outside, I placed the plastic containers in front of a sunny window near the heating ducts. When it was warm enough outdoors, I moved the containers onto to their bamboo perch.

This is such a simple way for anyone to garden. The kids that live in my apartment building are already working on this year's balcony gardens (I gave each one my surplus seedling plants) and were, again this year, eager to see the results. Note you don't have to use plastic containers - waxed milk containers work just as well. So do tin cans. If you are using tin cans, remember to put something under each can to prevent rust showing up on your patio or balcony. An old saucer or plastic lids work well.

Also you don't have to start off your seedlings in eggshells - egg cartons (as I mentioned above), newspapers or cardboard toilet rolls work just as well. Use what you have and get the kids involved. As with the eggshells, you should make tears in the toilet roll pots and open up the bottom as cardboard takes a long time to disintegrate and this can stunt the seedling roots. Newspaper on the other hand falls apart quickly.

Enjoy your gardening!

Garden Recycling - Plastic Containers 1

Posted on May 11, 2016 at 7:55 AM Comments comments (0)

I'm getting so impatient to start my little balcony garden. I've managed to start chives, garlic, and thyme plants this year and have kept these nice and warm under my kitchen sink. Now it's time to get them outside. However, here in Ottawa it's still a little too cool to put out my plants. My plastic milk containers, all in a row, are ready to be filled. 

I slipped a bamboo rod throw the handles of each container to hold them in place and then added two over-the-door hooks to secure the rod to my balcony railing. I love this time of gardening as it saves me lots of room on my long, but very narrow, balcony. And it's portable, too, so I can move it when the plants need more sunshine. Once the plants are too big for the containers, I will transplant them into bigger garden pots. 

Earth Day Project - Seed Bombs

Posted on April 17, 2016 at 5:15 PM Comments comments (0)

In honour of Earth Day (coming up this Friday, April 22nd), I’ll be hosting a series of Spring Recycling workshops here in Ottawa. As well, I will be posting eco-friendly projects that will hopefully inspire you to view your recycling bin in a whole new way, and keep Earth Day alive all year round.

Why not start off with a way to plant without the hassle of having to till the soil (okay, I know that sounds kitschy)? I'm talking seed bombs here - just make and toss! Rodale Organics have a super easy 'recipe' for making your own using unscented cat litter (which is essentially clay - who knew!). The site also provides handy tips and instructions for how and where to aim your little bombshells. A great project for your inner kid and your kids - it's like making mudpies with a purpose!

I know these little guys work because back in the day when I was gainfully employed, I used to roll up seeds from my breakfast and lunch veg and fruit in dirt and toss these under the trees where I worked. They were surprisingly quick to sprout - unfortunately the landscape guys treated them like weeds and were constanting pulling them out!

Ah well, these days I will be making my own seed bombs and handing them out on Mother's Day, all neatly tucked into recycled egg cartons. I just have to go out and get some supplies including the cat litter.


Back Green Garden Update

Posted on July 17, 2014 at 11:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Well, here they are - photos of our lovely back green garden in bloom.

The lettuce (Lola Rosa) patch is already producing enough for most residents ...

I never knew you could grow your own celery ...

Herbs are my favourites as you can pick, and pick, and pick ....

The rosemary and mint in these clay containers give the garden a distinctly Mediterranean flair, don't you think?

Nasturtiums keep the French beans company.

The little guy loves to play under the trees behind the garden where he makes mud pies but he also loves to water the plants in the garden. This garden has been a godsend for me as I find it hard somedays to keep up with his nibs. So much energy in such a little package. Now we spend mornings in the garden enjoying the sunshine - I get to catch up on my reading and the little guy plays happily by himself or with any of the other kiddies that show up. 

Back Green Garden and Street Finds

Posted on July 2, 2014 at 5:10 AM Comments comments (0)

The housing association that maintains the grounds where we are living recently created a community garden in the back green (the communal park behing the buildings) and it's been a great hit with everyone, especially the kids. Our little guy enjoys watering the plants and eating the produce. Since he never was a great veggie fan, his Mom is happy that he enjoys the garden's fresh produce which includes carrots, lettuces, cabbages, leeks, onions, courgettes (that's zucchini to you and me!), as well as a variety of herbs and flowers. Right now only the lettuces and a few carrots are ready but he happily will much on both without much persuasian. His mom also grows a variety of herbs and veggies on their balcony and he is especially fond of the peas which he will eat raw.

Don't you just love this little toy horse? Would you believe that this was a street find? I came across the little fellow when I got on the wrong bus the other day and had to get off. While looking for the right bus, I spotted it amidst a pile of rubbish bags on the curb. Quickly looking up and down the street to see if anyone was watching, I snatched it up and high-tailed it to the nearest bus stop home. (Didn't get a funny look from the driver either, as they're used to people bringing anything and everything on board - the other day, I watched two Spanish girls lug a foldable single bed on the bus!)

Once I got the toy horse home and cleaned it up, I googled it and found similar ones made ca. 1920s. It seems it may have had a cart attached originally. His nibs immediately claimed the horse as his own and has been riding it in the garden all day!

Garden Recycling - Eggshells into Mini-gardens

Posted on March 26, 2013 at 6:15 PM Comments comments (1)

Eggshells aren't just for Easter crafts. Save them to use as mini-gardens!  This is something I do a lot. I even wrote an article for the Ottawa Citizen a few years back about growing herbs, wheat and rye grasses as well as cat grass in hollo eggshells. It's really easy to do and kids love it - especially if you use cat grass seeds - these sprout in about 5 days!

Liz Stanley over at Momtastic  has a full tutorial (with plenty of pics) to grow wheat grass in eggshells but you can grow what you fancy - please use organic seeds. Once the plants have sprouted you can simply plunk into your garden or pot. Just remember to squeeze the eggshell so that it cracks before putting into the soil. This makes it easier for the roots to grow out and you'll get healthier plants.

No soil on hand, no time to run to the garden centre for some? Never mind, do a little Martha Stewart thingy and just turn those little shells into - voila - vases!!! I'm sure that you, too, will be able to dig up more ideas. So - save up those emptied eggshells and have beaucoup de fun!!