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Sunday, May 15, 2016

Old Tires, Concrete blocks, Pallets...Reuse, Reinvent for the Garden

With a little imagination and the wonderful ideas found on Pinterest, one can discover all kinds of ways to garden with limited funds and available space. Being able to reuse something for a purpose other than what it originally intended is very gratifying. No one feels great about adding to landfills so every little bit that can be reused for something else is a good thing.

Old pallets can have a new life in the garden as a tidy place to grow lettuces, greens and even strawberries.

Carefully add soil between the slats and let it settle down as it may. In this photo one pallet has leaf lettuces and the other is a blend of various greens. Just sprinkle the seeds lightly and lightly pat down. Such small seeds don't need to actually be buried in the soil, they need light to germinate. Once the lettuce fills in, take a scissors to thin it out. Snip to create about four inches between the plants. Don't pull them out or you may disturb the roots of the lettuces you want to keep. Use the cuttings for your salads. Pallets keep the plants nicely off the ground, therefore the need to rinse off dirt is greatly reduced.

Concrete blocks can be used to grow strawberries The plants are kept off the ground so dealing with weeds is just about eliminated. Since each plant has limited soil around it, you will have to water frequently. This is the first time I'm trying this idea so I'l find out soon enough how well the strawberries produce. Come autumn, lay straw up and around the blocks to proved insulation from cold temperatures. Remove in the spring. Strawberry plants should be replaced every three to five years.

The way you arrange your blocks is up to you. You can surround an existing bedding box or as here, the blocks were set around a pallet.

The terms concrete blocks, cement blocks, and cinder blocks are often used to mean the same thing. Cinder blocks are the term used in the manufacture of blocks using smelters. Back in the 1930's there were makers of cinder blocks in the eastern U.S. who used fly ash, from coal burning, also called clinker, to produce blocks. Agregate was sometimes slag or other industrial waste. These blocks are softer and not like today's concrete blocks. Dust from those blocks burns the eyes and lungs so is very toxic. Here in PA the terms cinder blocks and cement blocks are used for the same idea but they're not the same thing. Blocks used for construction as we know today are concrete and not at all toxic.

Unless you use a garage tp take care of tire removal for your car when you replace your tires, you may have to pay to get rid of them. Here is a creative way to put those eyesores in your garage to use.

Optional is to first spray paint the tires different colors to get away from the ordinary black. To save space and add further eye appeal these are stacked, but they can be arranged however you want. The tires that are off the ground needed a piece of tarp or plastic to line their bottoms so the soil doesn't just fall through. Poke holes in the tarp for drainage. Add enough soil to fill the holes and plant what you wish. Here we used herbs but last season I had planted impatiens. These herbs were just planted in the month of May so how they do as they grow has yet to be seen. The picture below was taken in August so the plants had nicely filled in by then.