If you are a reader of our other ‘Good Life’ type posts then you’ll know we like to grow vegetables in the garden. In my last post I’d put together rudimentary bean and cucumber frames made from re-used bamboo canes and foraged branches from the woods.
Up-cycling is taking a product or waste material in its current state and turning it into something new and useful. Re-cycling on the other hand is re-doing the cycle i.e. glass bottles crushed and melted and turned back into glass bottles.
Up-cycling abandoned tree branches
Our local pathways have been undergoing quite rigorous pruning in the last few weeks or so, and on my walks I had noticed that many of the bigger branches and piles of wood chip have been left by the tree-surgeons.
I obviously picked up a couple of the smaller branches ear-marked for the bean and cucumber frames, but at the same time wondering if I could use a couple of the bigger branches for a little landscaping in my garden.
I have a flower bed that I dug out a few years back, but because of it’s location it’s always in shade and therefore the ground around it is always quite damp. This makes cutting in a neat border has been impossible as the earth (clay) is always to squishy to stay ‘neat’ looking. The bigger branches that were laying around in the woods would make great border edging. It would have a more natural look, keep a definite barrier between the grass and plants and most importantly, free without using or buying precious resources.
So, I spent Saturday morning hunting for logs – they had to be easy to carry and all roughly the same width. I just literally plonked them down and made my border. They look fab and will look even better when my flowers start to grow. Rest assured I only took what I needed and any left over went straight back.
Up-cycling plastic drinks bottles
My new bedding plants have been planted, but I noticed that some had been chomped, not by slugs or snails, but starlings currently nesting in the tiles of our roof. I was rather annoyed as obviously they cost me money and I’d put slug pellets down to ensure that the young plants had a fighting chance! The solution, would be to get rid of the starlings, but as they have a nest we’ll have to wait until the young have left before taking action to block any entrance holes. In the meantime, I need to protect my plants.
All I simply did was to cut plastic soft drinks bottles in half and place the half on the plant. Great for a few days or weeks until the plants have established. They also have the added bonus of acting as mini-greenhouses too.
I have also placed an upturned, cut half-way plastic bottle in each of the hanging baskets to act as a extra water reservoir to fill when the weather gets hotter and sunnier (here’s hoping anyway!)
Using those branches again – An up-cycled pathway/steps
As there is such a plentiful supply of logs and chippings to be foraged, my next project was to make a little pathway between the steps that go down to the bottom of the garden to the compost bins. The untidy, patch of grass is difficult to mow (a strimming job only) and was serviced by some round stepping stones that were just a ‘temporary’ solution about 4 years ago!
I have never undertaken anything like this before and I just had a little idea in my head so I was pleasantly surprised at how it turned out. Click an image from the gallery below to see a larger size.
I sawed the logs and stakes to approximate lengths, then arranged them to their estimated positions ready to be fixed in place. I hammered the stakes straight into the earth with a mallet and removed some of the earth where needed. I didn’t really use tape measures or spirit levels; I just just used my eyes to make an organic, natural looking pathway.
I then placed some black matting that I had laying around to stop the grass growing through, and added just two wheelbarrows full of chippings foraged from the woodland.
Finally, I sawed some more logs to act as a barrier between grass and path (I wasn’t going to do this originally) and then ‘staked’ in place so they wouldn’t move. The leftover earth that I had dug out (which wasn’t too much) was re-purposed at the side of the pathway where there was the odd gap. The whole project took me about 5-6 hours over two sunny days in the garden.