Tag Archive | recycled garden products

Potato Storage Bins

one hill new potatoes from raised bed 18 potatoes

one hill new potatoes from raised bed 18 potatoes

This is the time we gardeners have been waiting for: harvest! One crop I love to harvest is potatoes. Digging potatoes is like digging for gold—especially if they happen to be Yukon Golds.

Since there are only so many potatoes that can be eaten at once, how can they be stored without rotting? Potatoes need a cool, dry room with air circulating around them. At our home, our pantry is a cool, dry room but we still needed a container to allow air circulation. Here is the solution my husband devised.

potato storage bin

potato storage bin

He cut some leftover wire shelving to fit in milk crates. He also found some metal strips to hold the shelving in place.

leftover shelving

leftover shelving

This allowed us to stack our potatoes and add storage space when needed. It’s worked so well for us, and we didn’t have to purchase anything. I hope this idea will help you and allow to enjoy your vegetables longer.

stored potatoes






grow light box

Snow and subzero temperatures always give me a bad case of spring fever. It was during one of those January daydreams of tomato plants that I decided I needed a better system for starting my seeds. In the past, I’ve started seeds in our bedroom window, and although they would come up just fine, the seedlings soon became spindly. I needed a different system but I didn’t want to spend a bunch of money. So with a little research, some supplies we had at home, a couple of purchases, and technical assistance from my husband, I have a grow-light box.


hole in grow box


I lined a 14 gallon plastic tub with aluminum foil (using duct tape to affix it) and then cut a hole in the lid big enough to insert an 8.5” clamp light. Getting the correct light bulb is essential. It should be 100 watts, 1600 lumens, and 5000 K (which is about the brightness of daylight).

basil seedling

Although it’s way too early to start tomato seeds, I wanted to try out the box. I started a couple of basil seeds which should do well later in my window as mature plants. I also added to the box a couple of hyacinth bulbs that I’m forcing. I didn’t do anything special; just left the grow-light on for about 14 hours a day. As you can see, the plants are doing great!

hyacinth in grow box

If you’re interested in making your own grow-light box, please check out an excellent YouTube video by The Rusted Garden, “How to Build a Cheap Grow-Light Box for Seed Starting.”  It’s such a fun project to do when the snow is blowing outside.

snow barrel 2/2/15

Hummingbird Swing

hummingbird swing garden

I never knew hummingbirds liked to swing, but evidently they do, because I found a hummingbird swing for sale at our local hardware store. The idea fascinated me. I had never thought about hyperactive hummingbirds ever resting, but they do sit—just not for as long as I do. I showed the swing to my husband and he thought he could make one using materials we had at home. The above picture is one of his products.

hummngbird swing

Although No 9 wire would work well, he used copper wire for its ornamental appeal. The wire could also be decorated with paint or an overlay of fine wire. For this swing, the sides of the square are five inches long and the bottom rung (hummingbird seat) is the plastic body of an ink pen that he painted red. A wooden peg or dowel rod would work nicely, too. He used pliers to shape the ornamental metal on top of the square and then soldered them in place. The red heart came off of an old pair of Valentine’s Day socks I had. The red ornament is supposed to help attract the hummingbirds to the swing.

We’ve had several destructive storms since March, so I set my humming bird swing in front of our house to keep it from blowing away. I’d love to set it in a more open flower bed in the middle of our front yard, but I think I’d be asking for trouble. Most people place them near their hummingbird feeders. A hummingbird was working over the flower you see in the picture about ten minutes before I set the swing in place. I hope he’ll return soon and will decide to “sit a spell.”

hummingbird swings

I also hope you all are enjoying many hummingbird visitors. And if you have a swing, maybe they’ll sit and visit for a while.

Recycled Treasures as Plant Containers

toolbox flowers

Now that Mother’s Day is past and so hopefully is the threat of snow and frost, our thoughts turn to colorful annuals to brighten our landscapes. Who can resist just one more six pack of pink petunias? Ah, but reality bites when you get home and wonder where on earth you’re going to plant these guys.

Coal bucket flowers

Late last winter while dreaming of spring, I decided I needed some additional plant containers, however, I wasn’t too keen on spending a bunch of money. In our barns, we have all kinds of treasures (aka worn out junk) that with a little work, had potential to be just wanted I needed. I found an old coal bucket that had seen better days, an old tool box that fits on an even older tractor, and an actual flower container that once held flowers from a funeral several years ago. After a bit a cleaning and sanding, I gave them new life with a few coats of spray paint that I had found sale at a local hardware store. As you can see, they will serve me well this summer.

flower pot

In addition to my plant containers, I found an old plant stand that I had a billion years ago back when I was single. It also needed a ton of work, but I thought it had real possibilities as a bird feeder/waterer/entertainment center. My husband added metal legs to the bottom of it to secure it in the ground and keep the wind from blowing it over. I’m still looking for some wide-mouth cups or cans or perhaps lids to glue to the metal trays to use for water and bird seed.

unfinished plant stand

Have some fun and look for some unique flower containers you might have around the house or sheds. Old boots make great flower pots…just make sure your husband is truly ready to part with them!

Happy Spring!                                                                         plant stand