Who says you can't get something for nothing? I just finished two raised beds made from my neighbor's old shutters and odds and ends of left over wood, then painted them with surplus deck
paint! ZERO COST!!
For quite a while, I have admired all sorts of wonderful homemade and commercial raised beds seen on Pinterest and Hometalk. Because I couldn't justify the cost of buying the lumber and didn't want to tackle disassembling pallets, raised beds did not seem to be in my future. But then, our neighbors replaced their shutters and were nice enough to give them to me when I asked. They know by now that a repurposing project is about to get underway.
You could do other configurations, but I used two shutters on each side and one-half a shutter for the ends. That used up all ten of the free shutters. Odds and ends of lumber stored in the garage rafters came down and became corner, end and middle supports. I even had enough wood screws from another project to use for this one!
See more pictures and all the details on Our Fairfield Home and Garden's latest post
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Weeds. The enemy of gardeners the world around! They are responsible for choking the life from vegetable and flower gardens, while stealing life-giving nutrients away from our plants.
Weeds are also the reason many gardeners throw their hands up by mid-summer and call it a year.
It simply doesn't have to be that way. In fact, some of the most time-consuming chores we have been led to believe help with gardening and weeds - are actually the main culprit to creating more! Simply by eliminating those weed promoting practices, and replacing with a few time and labor saving methods - you can all but eliminate the issue of weeds in your garden.
We spend no more than 10 minutes a day handling all of the chores in our garden - including weeding - and that's not a misprint! The first step is realizing that eliminating weeds in a garden is a process and not a one time thing. But don't let that scare you - the process is simple and leads to a productive and beautiful garden in a fraction of the time.
Here are six ways we keep our garden weed free - and fun to be and work in!
TIP 1: Eliminate Bare Soil From Your Garden And Beds
Bare soil is at the root of most weed problems. Bare soil is an open invitation for blowing weed seeds to become established. By using mulches and protecting the soil, you can cut the potential for future weeds dramatically! We use a combination of mulches in our garden space to keep it covered. Straw and shredded leaf mulch in the walking rows, and a 2 to 3 inch mulching of compost right around our plants.
Just remember - open space is an open invitation for weeds and soil erosion
TIP 2: Resist the Urge to Dig and Till Your Soil:
This is the biggest time-saving AND weed saving tip we can give. Stop tilling the garden! In the time it takes a person to till between the rows of a garden the same size as ours, we have finished our 10 minute gardening work day, grilled out for dinner and are sitting on the patio enjoying a cool beverage! And while working that extra time tilling - that person also just replanted tens of thousands of weed seeds that will germinate in the coming weeks.
Tilling simply takes all of the weed seeds that are laying on the surface, where they may never germinate, and plants them into the soil. Tilling over time also can destroy your soil's structure, but when it comes to weeds - it's a prime reason gardeners have to spend so much time trying to eliminate them. It takes time, gas, and is a never-ending chore. Instead - heavily mulch your rows with grass clippings, straw, or shredded leaves - they keep weeds to a minimum and help add vital nutrients to the soil as they break down.
We believe in this one so much we actually have an entire post dedicated to it: Why Not To Use A Rototiller.
TIP 3: Don't Over Hoe Your Row
Here's another long time garden chore that used to take hours in the garden - and should take only minutes. Using a hoe to loosen the surface soil around the base and root zone of your plant is a great weekly practice. It provides air to the plant's base and allows nutrients and water to more easily reach the root structure. But that is the extent of what is needed - just a 3 to 5" light hoeing of the perimeter soil around the base of each plant. Leave all of the other space in your planting rows alone and simply mulch it! Over-hoeing creates the same issue as tilling - planting above ground weeds seeds back into the earth. All you need is a light hoeing immediately around the plants - it saves tons of time and labor, and eliminates replanting weed seeds.
TIP 4 : Start Practicing The Art Of Cover Crops:
Start cover cropping this fall. Cover crops really help eliminate weeds over time by protecting your bare soil over the late fall, winter and early spring months. They have obvious benefits to helping your soils vitality, but they also help to form a barrier for blowing seeds to enter and lay in wait. After a season or two of cover crops - you will be amazed how little weeds actually even appear in your garden. You can find more about cover crops here : Cover Crops In Your Garden.
Tip 5 : Keeping The Weeds Out Of Walking Rows:
Keeping weeds out of the walking rows between your plants is just as important to the health of your garden as it is the look. The answer - Mulch - Mulch and more Mulch! We use whatever we have on hand. Straw and shredded leaves work great to create a thick 3 to 5" covering between our planting rows. From time to time a few weeds will start to pop up - and we simply pull them on our daily trips through the garden. If they become thicker - we simply take the weed eater through the garden and mow them down to the grown and reapply a few more inches of mulch. It immediately looks great again and stays that way for weeks. It's so much quicker and better than tilling up that soil between your rows!
TIP 6: Practice The 10 Minute-A-Day Philosophy
I think there are a lot of skeptics when we say we spend only 5 to 10 minutes a day in the garden for maintenance. However, that is one of the biggest secrets to maintaining a weed free garden - actually spending that time in the garden each day! This may sound a bit crazy, but 10 minutes of daily work is not the same as spending 70 minutes once a week in the garden.
In fact, there is a huge difference between the two. If you let the garden go for more than a day or two - weeds and the problems they bring multiply and magnify. Roots get deeper, spread and multiply, and suddenly you feel overwhelmed. What takes 10 minutes one day can suddenly take 4 to 8 hours when it has been neglected for a week or two. And guess what? It's not fun anymore at that point.
We head into the garden every day and walk the rows. If we see a weed around a plant, we pull it as we go. Usually, once a week we will spend the time hoeing the area only around the plants - once again - the process just takes 10 minutes to do the entire garden. Another day, we spend the time putting down some extra compost mulch around the plants or straw or shredded leaves in the paths. That's it.
So there you have it - how we keep our weeds and workload to a minimum. And remember the reason most of us garden in the first place - to eat healthier and get a little exercise. This is a perfect 10 minute workout every day!
Happy Gardening! - Jim and Mary
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Commented on Apr 14, 2013
i argue with the hubby constantly NOT to till our veggie garden. Doesn't need it and we spend
hours dumping mulched leaves and grass on it during the fall to keep weeds down. I just move the mulch around and within one year, in our heat/humidity, the stuff breaks down very quickly while it serves double duty as mulch. The only places where weeds pop up is where the mulch has washed or blown. A little hoeing and bam, weeds r gone. I don't even rake the leaves off my perennial border, just move them around. It's not perfect, but saves a lots of time weeding and raking.
sometimes easier said than done depnding on soil conditions. The trench will fill back in if
not maintained regularly. Two easier options, one funky and cheap, another more industrial and expensive. Funky and cheap, stoneware dinner plates buried halfway up. Curve em, make em straight, pick ur pattern, mix em, match em. Easy and really keeps soil in and weeds/grass out. Goodwill/salvation army, big pack for nominal $$. Husband is the lawn ranger and hasn't broke one yet. More expensive option which I've used but can no longer afford, is steel edging from the big box hardware stores. U can buy straight, curves, corners. U can trench them in just a tad and secure with their stakes. Not as deep as dinner plates, but do a great job. Brown or green, last a long time, easy to install. As they rust, they blend in even more. I used them to define the border between my bed and the rock mtce border next to the house. I keep bed at least 2-4 feet out from the house to be able to maintain. Mallet, and some sort sort of tool to trench a little is all u need for steel edging.
Have tried the trench border method and it was alot of mtce and husband had no patience with the divet along the edges. A solid edge has worked much better. I'd rather plant than trench.
ok, stop with the great repurposing ideas. My hubby already thinks I'm crazy for planting
stuff in old shoes/boots(they look great if u haven't tried yet...easy!). Try hanging old flatware close together on a tree limb for easy windchimes. Then ur neighbors will think ur nuts, too. But, I don't care anymore, it's just fun!
This is a "warning" post. I had planted a row of these about 4 years ago, with the intention of blocking out the neighbor behind us. Our 6 foot privacy fence, on a slope, was only about 5 feet in reality. True to their information, they do grow extremely fast and provide excellent privacy. Within 3 years they were about 15 feet tall.
Unfortunately, we spent last summer trying to exterminate them. The roots are VERY invasive. I found a
root up against our above ground pool, and my pool means much more to me than privacy. I didn't need roots poking up through the vinyl liner.
The way we got rid of them was to cut them down, and then spend the entire summer applying TORDON stump killer to the shoots. There were shoots everywhere, even 15 feet up into the yard, in every direction. The drought we had last year was a blessing in disguise for us, because it helped in preventing more roots, since they like water. Tordon works fantastically in immediately killing the shoot.
So, if you like these and want to plant, I would suggest you do it out on the back 40 where it won't bother anything.
Commented on Feb 04, 2013
yep, and they die quickly too. Be cautious of any tree that grows too fast. Leylands may not
make it in illinois(native chicagoan), plus there is now a disease of Leyland's slowing spreading. They have been way overplanted. Why did u plant a deciduous border to create a screen? Contact ur local cooperative extension center in your county, usually associated with a university, and bounce some ideas around with them. It's free. There are many different evergreens that do well for screens and windbreaks. U may even consider a mixed border of evergreens and deciduous for varying seasonal interest. Also consider planting on a burm, but that requires lots of soil to create and care is critical initially as burms dry out much faster than level soil. Not to be smarmy, but consider a privacy fence with a plant border on ur side. Goes a long way for the dollars. Good luck with whatever u decide.
There's nothing worse than seeing gritty residue at the bottom of your drinking glass.
This is especially true if you have company at your house, it's the holidays, and your
wife is the one who spotted the problem. So what's the solution?
Here are a few tips that helped us with our dishwasher's efficiency
+Use a granular dishwasher soap instead of gel
+Clean sprayer arms with picture hanging wire and a white vinegar bath
+Remove grit and reside from fine and coarse filters
+Check underneath the coarse filter for grime
+Eliminate hard water scale buildup with Lemi Shine
You can check out my post for additional tips, pictures, and a few short videos. The videos are less than 4 minutes but they take you on a tour of the inside of our dishwasher. You'll discover ideas that will get your dishes looking better within 24 hours :)
Here's the link http://www.homerepairtutor.com/dishwasher-no...
One of our New Years resolutions is to keep our dishwasher's cleaning efficiency like it was on day 1.
If you have some tips please share them, pretty please (for the safety of husbands everywhere).
i've used gel or gel/powder paks for awhile in old and new dishwashers. Everyone always
suggests finish quantum or other finish powder products. That's when i get the film. It doesn't matter where i put the tablet, dispenser or bottom of dishwasher. I always switch back to a gel. My only "secret" is, I run very hot water thru the water lines first, put the gel pack in the prewash dispenser and wash most loads normal but with temperature boost, and don't block the dispenser door with a large dish or whatever. I don't even use a rinse aid anymore. I clean the dishwasher once a month or so with vinegar or dishwasher cleaner. I do 2 loads a day(we cook alot and have many dogs). It's all working fine.
wonderful idea and great look. My husband and i struggle against clutter all the time. We have
an island combined with a bar height counter also. Between cooking items and our "stuff", the countertops always have something on them. Looking at the system, and to cut costs even more, could this be done with decorative towel bars, s hooks, inexpensive wire/wicker baskets and ribbon/rope? It would not look as polished and uniform, but I tend to go with eclectic looks anyway. A wire grid system, pegboard and magnetic knife holders also work to get things off counter.