Garden Recycling: Turn Your Trash into Garden Treasures

Don’t throw away your old swing set or bed frame, use it in your garden.

Creating a garden can be expensive these days. Along with the costs of plants, fertilizers, soil improvers, disease control, and pest control, purpose-built garden infrastructure, such as trellises for climbing plants and raised garden beds, add even more to your costs.

If you are growing plants for food and want to achieve a worthwhile harvest, you want to do things properly and invest in getting the best out of all your plants.

Image by Amelia Spink

Climbing plants such as Grape Vines (Vitus sp.) and Kiwifruit Vines (Actinidia deliciosa) need to have something to climb on in order to receive good airflow and avoid fruits resting on the ground. Ensuring good airflow is important to reduce the likelihood of fungal diseases establishing themselves.

Keeping the vines growing horizontally will also increase fruit production; as with espaliered fruit trees, they will also produce more fruit if their limbs are kept growing horizontally.

Think Outside the Square

Finding a spot to grow these vines, if you don’t have a spare wall (or if the only spot in your yard which gets any amount of sunlight is right in the middle!), can be difficult.

There is a saying which goes something along the lines of “think outside the square”. If you have an old child’s swing set sitting around, your problem is solved. A child’s swing set made of metal will often outlast any interest your children have in it and, if you are like me, you won’t get around to selling it or taking it off to the tip.

The result of this is a much-loved toy slowly rusting in a forgotten corner of the yard like a decommissioned ship.

Don’t let this happen, pull it out to the best sunny position that you have for growing vines and make it useful once again. Remove the swings and monkey-bars that the children loved to play on, secure it to the earth with some tent pegs, and firmly attach wires between the outside legs.

Now plant your vines! As the vines grow, a lovely arbor will be created, where once again your children can sit. They can listen to their i-pods or play Nintendo in the shade.

Garden Beds

An old bed base can be converted into either a raised garden bed or, as I am intending to do with a cast-off single bed frame, turned into a receptacle for large quantities of green waste which is heading for the compost heaps.

A bed with a base should have it removed so that it sits directly on the ground, and it should be strengthened around its joints to avoid it collapsing under the weight of soil or green waste.

If you are anything like me, you will have a myriad of unwanted, unused ‘things’ sitting around the house and the yard just waiting to be chosen and recycled into something useful once again, remember, “think outside the Square”.

ways to recycle materials in the garden