Wednesday, June 23, 2010


What, you thought this was a naughty blog? Sorry… just discussing trash cans here.

Potting season is just about over unless you are one of those people who starts a second crop. I have been thinking about doing that as my yellow wax beans have been producing and producing for over a month now, and I now have to sneak up to back doors and leave bags of beans hanging on door handles in the dark. Kind of like folks with too many zucchini plants… Sigh. So, assuming you are finished with all your potting for this year, where and how do you store those left over bags of potting mix, perlite, vermiculite, fertilizers – whatever you use… and how about all the flats and pots that you will reuse?

For years I used to just stack things on top of my cold frame, or on a crate hanging on a barn wall.DSC_0420

Neither one of those were great ideas. The stuff on the cold frame often got distributed all over the yard and into the woods in hurricanes or nor'easters, and once the things on the barn blew away. If you look carefully, you will see square flower pots in the icy water in what is part of my yard where I now mow grass.DSCN2826 Often I just shoved things out of the way of the mower. Laziness, right? Or just plain disorganized… Potting mixes were stashed in old kitty litter containers – great things for storage of small amounts, but somewhat messy to stack and stash, and some got left here, some there… have I ever mentioned I have an organizational problem? I am organizationally impaired. This past winter, the weather was rough, and the bad weather started early. (see my blog at  for details and pictures!)

DSC_0979DSCN1331 This is my garden wagon – guess you could call it my covered wagon, eh?

Things were left here and there waiting for that day when it did not rain or snow, or the temp was above 40. It was a loooooooooooong wait. One storm after another, and when the snow stopped, the rain started. Did I mention I am a wimp? Thermostatically impaired… can’t take the temps when they are in the 80s let alone above that, and don’t do well below 40. Pitiful. Last winter, there were parts of the yard I just could not even get to even with boots on. The mud sucked the boots off your feet! So, when it dried up enough to walk around, I spent a day and a half retrieving flower pots and trays, tools left out “for tomorrow’s” project that actually was months away. Yep, a very unusual winter. So, having gathered most, but not all of my pots and things, I decided it was time to put them in a safe place where they would not blow around. An old local hardware store was going out of business, and I noticed they had several rectangular shaped trash cans. I love these cans for raking leaves and clean up jobs – having flat sides, they are great for raking things right into them and then rolling them to the dump site, an advantage of having a few acres of land and lots of woods. They are also great for toting mulch. So I bought a couple more cans and now use them for storing my bigger bags of potting soil where the raccoons can’t get at them,DSC_04021

and potting trays where they can’t blow away. Being rectangular, the trays fit better than in a round can.DSC_0418 DSC_0419

Round cans work real well for hose storage, but the BIG square ones work well, too.DSCN2533

and the metal ones are great for storing bird seed. Again, metal keeps the coonie bears out. Be sure you have a strong tight bungee cord. The raccoons ate thru my old plastic trash cans back before the Trash disposal company gave us their cans. I am sure there are a gazillion other things one can store in trash containers. Like last time, send me your ideas and I will post them on here. Thanks!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


IMAGINE MY SURPRISE when I got so many responses on the many uses of clothes pins. I have excluded some that had to do with car maintanence or laundry... trying to stick to the out of doors or gardening type stuff.
  • do it your selfers - use a clothes pin to hold nails so the hammer doesn't smash your thumb.
  • We always take a bag of pins with us when we go camping, not just for the usual hanging things up to dry, but to make privacy screens for changing clothes by holding towels together. They also hold outside shower containers in place and close the tubes (on shower water bags) to shut the water off while soaping up.
  • I use clothes pins to hold the pages of my book when reading outside in a breeze.
  • My wife uses clothes pins to attach Honey Do notes to my work bench, tools, the visor of my truck. You name it, a note is there.
  • I know this sounds dumb, but I lose the car in big parking lots. So I fasten a big Christmas ribbon to the antenna with a clothes pin, but I remove it before driving home.
  • I guess this is only kind of outdoorsy, but in the winter, the kids keep their gloves together to dry with colored clothes pins. We can't find the colored ones any more so as they disappear, the kids write their name on a c-pin and we hang them up in the mud room to dry.

Well, I never expected so many ideas! Thanks Ya'all!

Monday, June 14, 2010


I think I will start with my cheapest garden tool, the lowly clothes pin. I am one of those people who loves to improvise, and hates to spend money on something really quite unnecessary when something closer at hand (and a lot less expensive) will do as well – or even better. I use clothes pins to hold fencing together when in use, or when wrapped up to be stored for next year.DSC_0415 Clothes pins hold netting in place.DSC_0409 Here I have used clothes pins to train vines up a support in my attempt at vertical gardening.DSC_0427 After this little section has attached itself, DSC_0426 the same clothes pin can easily be moved to the next tendril.

This is a great way to keep potting soil and other such supplies closed and dry.DSC_0403 I usually use the oldest clothes pins for garden stuff… I am lazy and leave them on the line, you see, year round, as I am one of those old fashioned folks who LOVES to hang clothes outside when the weather permits. The GOOD clothes pins are in a clothes pin bag thingie, but the gardening ones are in an old strawberry box that hangs up with an old hanger from a now deceased birdfeeder (read squirrel damaged). DSC_0417 Now ya can’t get much cheaper than that! And, it is a great example of recycling!

I also use clothes pins to hold birdfeeders in place – again, the squirrel thing, but also we have some serious wind here – and they keep bags of bird seed closed and waterproof… they hold covers on picnic tables, canvas covers on lawn furniture, and so many other things, I can’t think of them all right now. Maybe another post! Send me your ideas!


The purpose of this blog is to help the little home gardeners with things that will make their gardening experience and out of door chores a little less frustrating, less expensive, and therefore hopefully more enjoyable! Hopefully my readers will send along their tips which, with their permission, I will pass on to anyone who wants to try them. I do not want this to be an academic guide to gardening - there are plenty of those books on the market, and I bet you have a few in your personal library already. What I want is for us to share things we have tried and pass on whether they worked or not. The truly intelligent learn from other's mistakes - the rest of us have to make our own! Please feel free to share your experiences here.