Grow in gutters and hoe a row in five

Here’s a great way to beat unpredictable weather. I have discovered a simple strategy to get a head start on peas, beans or annual flowers by simply sowing them in an old used gutter, which has been filled with seed-starter mix. This method insures even germination and results in a full row when the gutter is “planted.” It also makes it possible to plant a row of flowers or vegetables in just five minutes. I simply hoe a furrow to match the length and the width of the gutter, dust the furrow with granular organic fertilizer, peel out the strip of rooted transplants and fit it into the furrow. Hoe a row in five!

Plastic Garden Cloches to Extend the Season

These lightweight cloches are easy to make, and even easier to place, for added protection for your plants. Gather together recycled wood strips to make the framework of your choice and simply cover the framework with 6-ml plastic, (really cheap if you use vapour barrier). I love the way the lid simply flips on and off – so useful for harvesting winter vegetables and protecting tender plants or early transplants.

Chimes from Pots and Washing Line

It’s all about whimsy in the garden! Turn a stack of terra-cotta pots into a cute wind chime with an interesting “tinkle.” A short length of washing line will do this: simply tie a knot to block the hole in the pot. It’s fun looking for something to tie on the end as a ringer; we used an old Tibetan bell for ours.

Cold Frames from Palettes

It appalls me to think of all the wood wasted on wooden palettes. For years I have been collecting perfectly good palettes from my local lumberyard around Halloween, (headed for a bonfire if not taken). I build a cold frame simply by nailing three palettes together, one back and two sides, and using planks of recycled wood for shelves. I attach a sheet of 6-ml vapour barrier over the back first. I then nail the vapour barrier to the top of the back palette, roll it over the palette and cut to fit. I attach the front end of the plastic to a medium-weight alder pole with thumbtacks, so I can roll the plastic back in the daytime and cover with it at night. Perfect for hardening plants off in early spring and keeping plants off the ground, away from bugs. The best part is how little an 18-m (60-ft) long by 2.5-m (8.5-ft) wide roll of vapour barrier costs!