Wacky Garden Projects

Gardening is a trendy hobby.  This page is a list of posts cataloging my experiences with some of the wacky ideas I just had to try out.

Newspaper Pots: I made mine by folding newspaper into little 3-sided cubes.  I started with a square piece of newspaper and folded it into thirds, then unfolded it, first one direction and then the other.  The fold lines then mark out a square in the middle,  which I could fold the sides up around, tucking the excess material from the corners of the newspaper on the outside and taping them together.  You can see pictures of the finished products in this post.  Also, here is a post describing all the things I hated about using newspaper pots.

Low tunnel: I made it by dry-fitting together some salvaged PVC scraps to form 3-sided arches over a framed bed in my backyard, then covering with plastic sheeting and weighting down the ends of the plastic.  I also put several 2-liter bottles filled with water inside to help regulate the temperature after sunset.  You can see the result here.  This project had mixed results.  It did a good job keeping my plants warm, but I found that pests tended to flourish in there as well - lots of slugs and aphids.  Also, if I were doing it again I would probably either make the top rounded or put in an extra piece of PVC across the top of the three arches so that the top was a little rounded and would shed water and snow better.  The plastic sheeting did hold up to conditions in my backyard, but only for a single season - proper, UV-resistant plastic probably would have done better.

Soil Blocks: I decided not to pay the $40 to buy the soil block maker out of the gardening catalog.  After seeing the mess I made trying to construct one myself, N generously put together a very nice mold for me that makes 3" cubic soil blocks.  I have not yet come up with a good mechanism for ejecting the soil blocks, nor have I mixed up a proper soil block mix.  However, after trying to use them a couple of times I have to say that I think they would work much better for greenhouse production than for my seedling production methods.  If they are left outside they dry out very quickly, and tended to crumble in the rain and with transferring from spot to spot, even on sturdy trays.  I may try again with a proper soil block mix, instead of just regular potting soil.

DIY Chicken Coop and Waterer: We built the chicken coop from scratch, using a custom design that is similar to a free design available online.  Actually, it took a long time and a lot of materials.  I understand why these things cost so much now.  We used mostly scrap plywood and 2x4s and one of these days I really will post some plans on the website.  The waterer was made from a Home Depot bucket and some commercially purchased waterer nipples and works great!

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