Sunday, November 6, 2011

Roll Out The Barrel

Recently my friend and neighbor, Lea, had quite a bit of "trash" at the curb.  She was cleaning out her backyard and just as quickly as she was bringing it out I was carrying it home.  There was so much stuff I felt drunk from the excitement of it. I didn't know what I was going to do with all of it but I knew something would come to mind.  I just needed to figure it out before my husband came home from work and saw it all piled up in the driveway looking like a yard sale in progress.

When I saw her rolling out this barrel I knew I had to have it.  My mind went into overdrive, thinking of all the possibilities.  It wasn't in good enough shape for a planter and I'm not handy enough with a hammer and saw to make any big changes.  I considered using it as a pot for growing potatoes, but I've had such dismal luck at producing spuds that I nixed that idea.  The barrel sat in front of the garage for a few months until we got our new puppy.  My neighbor came up with the idea of using the barrel as a dog house. 
We rolled the barrel up against the north side of the house to sheild it from the sun.  2 lemon trees (one on either side) provide some additional protection from the elements. 

The barrel gave her a cool spot out of the summer heat.

The barrel continues to keep her happy and comfortable.  The rain is pouring but Maryah doesn't seem to mind.  She pulled out some of the extra blankets and I found her curled up and fast asleep.
The barrel turned out to be a great fit in my "trash to treasure" lifestyle.  It fills a need, cost nothing, came from trash and if our dog decides it's not for her, I can always revisit the potato pot plan.
Be well and happy Autumn gardening!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Outsmarting Outdoor Pets

One of my favorite neighbors, Lea, has wonderful "trash".  The bright orange fencing that she left at the curb became a compost bin in my 05/26/11 post.
Recently that same fencing helped us deal with some problems from our new dog and the neighborhood stray's.
My husband spent hours cleaning out a tiered area in our back yard.  I had lots of new growing room and plans for a big row of leafy greens.  I amended the soil and planted the seeds but what I viewed as an edible garden the cats saw as a litter box.   It was a disgusting sight and I had to come up with something fast. 

I layed out the orange fencing, running it the entire length of the tier.
The fencing overhung the edge of the tier so I cut it down about a foot.

I anchored the fencing in place using the posts of solar lights.  I scattered lettuce, chard and arugula seeds throughout the fencing, covering the seeds with sifted compost and vermiculite.

The bed hasn't been disturbed and the seeds are sprouting between the plastic fencing.  Looks like I will be thinning out in no time.
Our new puppy loves digging in the pots.  Something about the soil seems too enticing to resist.  My husband, worried about the plants (and the dogs well being) made it his job to figure out a way to out smart her. Using the leftover fencing from my kitty control project, he fashioned a grid to cover the top of the soil.

He cut the fencing in half circles, using some pieces of metal to anchor the fencing in place. 

I added a solar light as an additional anchor as well as providing a bit of light and a touch of ambiance.  In the two weeks since we put the fencing down we haven't had any puppy problems and that has us all breathing a bit easier.
Be well and happy frugal gardening!