The Experimental Gardener
I recycle, but I also re-purpose. Individual yogurt containers make great planters. I drill holes in the bottom with my little Dremel tool, but you could use a sharp knife and make little x cuts. I had some foil cupcake pans that I cut in half lengthwise so they would fit on my narrow window shelf. The yogurt containers fit down into them nicely. I filled the yogurt containers with seed starting soil, put the seeds in and watered them. I wrote with a pen on Popsicle sticks to label the plants. Then I covered them with cellophane and stuck them up in the window shelf to sprout.
It has been an unusual summer here in Northwest Arkansas 2013. In late July and early August we have had rain almost every day. While this should be good for the garden, it also means cooler temperatures and less sunlight, which are not good for the garden. This after a record hot dry summer last year. This year I allowed grass to grow in the pathways of my raised bed garden. I did it for a reason.
This spring I purchased some chickens. I built a chicken coop beside my garden and in the process of putting a run all the way around my garden. I have fewer bugs this year. I hope it is because my plan is working. (I think I need a martin house to get rid of the mosquitoes!) My plan is to put the chickens in the garden this winter to "fertilize" it, pick out the larva of harmful bugs, and to eat all the grass. We'll see how that worked out in the spring.
I'd rather make something than buy it. I like re-inventing the wheel because I enjoy the process. I have enough confidence in my creativity to believe I might discover something someone else missed. So, when I started my garden, I started from scratch. I built it on a hillside, hauled the dirt to fill it in a wheelbarrow and designed it with raised beds. My neighbor told me I'd have more lumber in it than plants, but I knew what I wanted. I had a picture of it in my mind's eye. I got started with my garden a little later than I planned, but fortunately it was a good year for a garden. Unfortunately it wasn't a good year for us. That was 2010, the year my husband was paralyzed during a heart cath. I stayed with him at the hospital from June 28th to July 16th and then a week into rehab. My garden was neglected, but it produced. I was going home at night and picking bags full of produce and then bringing it to the rehab for employees. The garden provided something stable in my life that summer, and a way to stay connected. Each year I try new crops and methods. This past winter, I even experimented with a winter garden. It worked! Fortunately it was a mild winter, but I'll try it again, always seeking something new. I'm a creative gardener - an experimental gardener. I believe you never know what you can do until you try, so I'm always breaking new ground - figuratively and literally.