Sarah Shah ~ Reclaimed Garden

Here’s a fun, thrifty video for anyone interested in repurposing materials and creating eco-friendly landscaping on the cheap. I’ve had another of those synchronous garden moments in which I put out a call for old concrete slabs to line garden beds like I did in Madison:

Reclaimed concrete edging in our Madison side garden (with newly planted GrowSoxx)

Reclaimed concrete edging in our Madison side garden (with newly planted GrowSoxx)

Just as in Madison, our next door neighbors smashed up their old concrete and left huge, unsightly piles by the curb. Thankfully, this time I have a wheelbarrow! It’s still hard work, but our mulched out front yard beds are beginning to take on an organic shape.

Without any plants yet, the beds look quite grim, so I started searching for the best plants to soften rocky edges. I think lavender and nasturtiums will look nice spilling over the edges, and some colorful creeping thyme can line the edge by the driveway. My search produced the inspiring video below. I thought I’d share here for anyone who’d like to have a garden but believes it would be cost prohibitive. If you don’t want to buy plants, you can cheaply grow them from seed. Begin asking around, too. Last year, I hit the mother lode of free plants on freecycle.org, and Sarah mentions craigslist.com as a great source of free plants:

I will probably need to rearrange some of our concrete slabs after tomorrow’s rain shows me what they look like without the dirt. David also doesn’t want tough edging against the grass or sidewalk, which means I need to find some sort of grass repellant, yet pretty border for the lawn areas. I’m sure some solution will present itself. In the meantime, it feels sooooo good to work outside again!

Cheers!

9 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Dancing Light on March 18, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    Dahling….try this! http://www.groworganic.com/low-growing-good-bug-blend-lb-4267.html I am putting it under the big oak trees where normal grass just will not grow….Covers a LOT of space for few dollars…..

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  2. Posted by Dancing Light on March 18, 2014 at 9:51 pm

    AND…here is a pic I grabbed on pinterest for what to do if you have someone who cuts down an old tree. Tree cookies I think they are sometimes called..great for stepping pads!

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  3. Thanks, that mix looks like it has some good possibilities for an area I’m figuring out right now. Where is the pic, though?

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  4. Posted by Dancing Light on March 19, 2014 at 12:16 am

  5. Love this! People who live in cities can’t do this so readily, but if you live “out” don’t forget xeriscaping, where you transplant local wild plants into your garden areas. They need a lot less care than those fancy nursery plants. Make sure and leave no trace of your perfidy!

    Also there have been a few things going around the Internet about taking the ends of celery, lettuce, carrot tops, etc. putting them in water and then replanting them. I experimented with all of these last year and here are my results: the celery worked great but nothing else did. You can’t grow new carrots from carrot tops, but you can get seeds for next year if you plant the carrot greens in soil. The romaine ends were not worth the effort since planting lettuce seeds and greens are easy and grow well in most environments. The celery ends did continue to grow and made nice roots hydroponically, which I planted in the garden in the spring and had celery all summer. Celery is hard to grow from seed so this is a very worthwhile project.

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    • Thanks for the tips! I had great success with celery regrowth in our shady garden in Madison, but for some reason, it did not take in Goshen. I may try it again, because we do go through a lot of celery. One advantage of living on the formerly worst looking property in Goshen is that people are so grateful for anything I’m doing that I get a lot of leeway. Mulch was in the driveway for the better part of a year with all the different loads. The reclaimed concrete is not my favorite edging, but it’s free, allowing me to splurge on some gorgeous bulbs to edge around it. Do you know if full grown onions that have sprouted green onions can be sliced off just below the greens to regrow another onion? We have a red and a white onion with 4 inch long greens.

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      • Hmmm… good question. If the shoots are coming out of the top of the onion (as opposed to sprouting a bulb on the side near the base) the onion is basically a goner to eat so I’m betting you could cut it in half, dig the green part out to find the rooting bulb, and grow that. Onions are really hardy in terms of what they will withstand. I’ve had them freeze solid in my cold compost pile and sprout up like weeds in the spring, so give it a try and let us know!

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