Green Valentine - Something's Growing on Here

Posted on January 16, 2013 at 6:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Valentine's Day is just a few weeks away and I thought I'd post a few ideas to get things started. I try to make Valentines reusing, upcycling, recycling and repurposing stuff, but at the same time I try to make Valentines that don't look reused, upcycled, recycled or repurposed. And it's not difficult.

Here's an idea for the Valentine that loves plants. A Valentine topiary!  I recycled a wire coat hanger, a clay pot (I thoroughly cleaned), and a bit of ivy I cut from an ivy plant that's overgrown. But be sure to use new potting soil.

Make a Valentine Topiary:

You'll need an overgrown ivy plant (if you don't have your own, ask a friend if you can cut some from theirs), a wire coat hanger, a clay pot (or any kind you have handy), and, oh yes, NEW potting soil. First twist or bend the hanger into a heart shape (it doesn't have to be a perfect shape, the plant will cover it), stick the hook end into the potting soil, and then wrap the ivy around the wire form. Water and hand over.

So easy!

The image is mine!

Repurposing wooden doors and shutters

Posted on October 7, 2012 at 1:00 PM Comments comments (0)

And now for something completely different (from the last post) ... Old doors have always had a fascination for me and I miss my old door that starred in so many of my published articles. At least I know it went to a good home. Any road - here's what you can make if you happen to have four old doors handy and no place to hang them. Turn them into a stylish garden shed as shown here.

No instructions given but plenty of pictures, but it appears that the walls are made from three solid doors and one glass front door. A floor and a little roof have been added to complete the project. If you're handy with a hammer, you're probably figure out how to put this together. If you don't have enough doors or none at all, you can buy old doors at places that sell stuff from building demolitions and also at Habitat for Humanity Restores.

Our lady Martha has a neat idea similar to the shed, but this time reusing large shutters to create an indoor closet. I couldn't find the instructions for this one either but again I guess you could figure out the construction if you're so inclined. Me - I get exhausted just thinking about the work involved - find some old shutters/doors, figure out if they can fit together, make them fit, construct - oh, dearie me.

How to Create and Use a Compost Heap

Posted on September 29, 2012 at 8:30 AM Comments comments (0)

If you're a gardener or thinking of becoming one, making your own compost is good way to recycle kitchen waste and improve your garden's productivity.  Riley Merkel at Home Insurance sent me this link for making and using your own compost. The information is very clear and gives a lot of tips and techniques for both novice and expert.

I grew up with the world's most environmentally-friendly and savvy Mom who used composting as a method for growing the best veggies and fruit in our area so the techniques are very familiar to me and I have always maintained a compost bin in my gardens. Since I now live in an apartment, I have a countertop container for composting that I bought at my local Home Hardware store and use that to make the small amount of compost that I need for my balcony garden. It works well and provides me with workable compost every 45 to 50 days.

There is a delicate balance to be maintained when making your own compost but, if you're new to the process, don't get discouraged. Once you've mastered the techniques, you'll find that your garden will be more productive and healthy.

Here are a few more how-to compost links you might like:

Comprehensive List of What to and What Not to Compost (very clear about what you can and can't compost)

DIY Compost Bins (with illustrations)

Tree Hugger Composting Tips and Techniques

Composting for Apartment Dwellers

More Composting Tips and Techniques for Urban and Apartment Gardens

Recycling plastic milk containers - the garden issue

Posted on September 10, 2012 at 9:05 AM Comments comments (2)

The educators and parents at the Tawa Montessori school in the Wellington region in New Zealand have a passion and a mission to ensure that children under their care have every opportunity to develop their self-confidence and personal creativity. And reusing and recycling is an important part of this.

Their garden consisting of recycled plastic milk bottles blew me away and had me hitting my recycling bin to recover whatever plastic jugs I could find. What a great way to start children gardening. I know that my little grandson who attends a nursery school where gardening plays a large part, will enjoy this idea very much. It’s portable, doable, and cost-effective - easy enough for anyone, no matter what size, to have a garden close at hand. Take a gander and pass it on.

If you have a garden, well, you need tools. Take a look at how mother, gardener extraordinaire, creative recycler, and blogger, Melissa, over at her blog, A Farm of Your Home, recycled her plastic milk bottles. And she uses up every scrap from hers.

It's very similar to a the plastic milk bottle dust scoop that I blogged about earlier.  For instructions to make Melissa's garden tools, go here.

Recycling Magazines the Ikea Way

Posted on May 25, 2012 at 5:05 AM Comments comments (0)


Ikea's Livet Hemma site has a great photo of seedling pots made from magazines to decorate a brunch table. I make my own as I'm too cheap frugal to buy those little papier mache seed pots. They're easy enough to make using old magazines or newspapers and here's how to make them. When the pots are ready for transplanting into larger containers or your garden, remember to tear magazine pot at the bottom before replanting: otherwise, the roots won't have room to spread out. 

Ikea is also urging us to reuse our PET plastic containers for gardening; then you get to buy all the accessory products they sell, such as recycling bins, shelving, etc. to make it all look pretty. Gotta admit their stuff makes recycling more interesting and neater than my old cardboard boxes, but will I spend the dough on these Ikea items? No, and not just because I'm cheap frugal but because the Ikea store is too darn far from where I live. I also believe you can make a lot of stuff you bin look pretty. Tin cans, plastic containers, glass containers all can be transformed into usable and attractive gardening and household items. All that's needed is a bit of imagination and work.

Grow Food from Your Vegetable Scraps

Posted on April 24, 2012 at 6:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Did you know that you can re-grow celery using the bottom part that you normally cut off? Yup, you can. I discovered Mary Andrews' and Tim Vidra's wonderful blog, 17Apart yesterday and share their step-by-step tips. They also show you how to re-grown bok choy, sweet potatoes, and green onions (scallions).