Even the most well-managed construction sites generate large quantities of waste, much of which is often slated to be deposited into area landfills. For the home gardener, however, many of the materials that would otherwise be thrown away after a construction project can be successfully repurposed to make the work of growing vegetables easier and more productive. If you are planting a home garden and would like some creative, resourceful and very green tips to increase your productivity, the following ideas can help.
Using leftover pallets as growing space
Leftover wooden pallets that would otherwise be considered trash can be a wonderful asset in the home garden. While the wooden boards that make up the pallets have become popular as material to build furniture, the pallets can also be left intact for use as portable growing beds, both horizontally and vertically.
- To use vertically: use wood screws to fasten the pallet to a wall, fence or post, making sure that the pallet openings are on the top and bottom and that a waterproof barrier is used, if the pallet is to be attached to a building or structure. Fill the pallet with potting soil and plant seeds or bedding plants in the areas where the soil is exposed. When the growing season is over, remove the spent plants, remove the pallets from the wall, sweep up the dirt and store it in plastic bags till the next growing season. Some plants that grow well in a vertical pallet garden are herbs, strawberries, greens and green onions.
- To use horizontally: place the pallets in the location where you want to plant, fill with soil and plant with seeds or bedding plants. Like vertical pallet gardens, horizontal pallet gardens can be left in place or removed at the end of each growing season and used again and again. Plants that grow well in a horizontal pallet garden include the ones listed above, as well as others that do not require a large amount of root space, such as cucumbers, green beans, okra, corn and squash.
Flowers also look and grow well when planted in pallet gardens. No matter what plants you choose for your pallet garden, remember that the soil in a pallet garden will drain much more quickly than a traditional garden plot, so it is important to water them frequently, especially during dry conditions.
Using mesh plastic security fence to shade delicate plants
If you home garden is in full sun, some of your plants may experience sunburn during the long days of summer. To avoid this, consider recycling lengths of used, lightweight, plastic mesh security fence as shade covers over the affected parts of your garden.
- To make a shade cover from mesh plastic security fencing: simply measure a length of fencing to fit the area you want to shade, then attach each corner to the top of a temporarily installed 5- or 6-foot steel t-post. The holes in the construction fencing will allow ample air flow to prevent overheating the plants located below, as well as a dappling effect that ensures that each plant gets enough indirect sunlight to grow and produce well.
Using leftover masonry sand to make garden walkways
Creating dedicated garden pathways are a great way to direct traffic through your gardening areas and using masonry sand to line the pathways can help to prevent them from becoming muddy. Construction sites where brick, block or stone walls have been constructed may have leftover masonry sand that contractors will let you haul away for free to prevent them from having to move it. To make a sand garden path, simply line both sides of the path with bricks or large stones and then spread sand in the path.
If you're having problems with animals getting into your garden, consider installing a fence around the garden to keep animals out. Check out a websites like http://rent-a-fence.com/ for more information.