• 50°
Hartselle Enquirer

Recyclables save day

One of the benefits of living on a mini-farm in the city is having extra space to store things that might not serve a useful purpose in the short term but could come in handy in the future.  

I was reminded of that recently when I had to cover early planted tomato plants in my garden three days in a row to prevent them from being exposed to late frosts.  

Likewise, I used similar protection in the two prior years to protect my tomato crop. 

On days when early morning frosts are likely, I use a plastic bucket to cover each tomato plant and top it off with a piece of brick to prevent it from blowing over.  

I began collecting these containers several years ago when I had little use for them. I store them outside in a wooded area adjacent to the garden. To date, I have used 300 of them in a single covering.  

I also use long cane poles, which were rescued from a neighbor’s trash pile, to frame up my tomato plants to a height of six feet. While still green, these poles were first used two years ago, and I plan to reuse them this year for the third year in a row.  

I also use slender stakes cut from wild tree seedlings to stake green beans two rows together, with beans spaced a foot apart. These seedlings cover a large part of a 4-acre tract of woodland and reproduce to heights of 1012 feet in three to four years.  

They promote productivity by giving beans ample space for growth. New stakes are cut and cured a couple of months before use, and most are sturdy enough to be reused.  

All yard waste, with emphasis on dead leaves, is collected in a large pile adjacent to the garden and distributed back into the soil as a nutrient supplement.  

The compost is used during the growing season to discourage weed and grass growth, reduce labor and retain moisture in the soil. The remainder is added to the garden’s soil during fall and winter months to build topsoil and facilitate seedbed preparation for the next spring’s planting season. 

While gardening is not the easiest job in town, it’s safe to say it can be more enjoyable and profitable when these and other recycling efforts are part of the project.