Check the condition of the material to be reused: a box, for example, may need to be reinforced. Check the material for splinters or nails that could cause injury. Finally, check for holes or cracks where excess irrigation water will drain. Some materials are naturally drilled, such as market crates and plastic crates. However, if the material does not have holes or cracks, you must drill them.
You can drill holes in plastics with a drill, soldering iron or by heating a thick nail over a stove flame: hold the nail with pliers. If the material cannot be drilled, here are two suggestions, depending on the size of the container. The materials you use to line the container must also allow water to pass through. Raffia is naturally permeable, but fabric and thick plastics must be pierced.
If a lot of water runs off when you water your beds, you are watering too much. Too much water can wash away the nutrients in your soil. Some containers don’t need to be lined because they don’t have cracks for soil to escape through: styrofoam, cans, burlap bags, etc. Don’t forget to make the holes.
RECYCLED MATERIALS: HOW TO FIND THEM
Permaculture is a system of bio-system design that aims to plan closed systems. That is, taking advantage of all available resources. One of its principles is observe and interact. Before starting to build or modify an environment: a yard, for example, it is necessary to observe what is available in the system or nearby, and the flows. For example, where does the rainwater go, what waste is produced in the kitchen, on the street, in the neighborhood, and what is the positioning of the sun in relation to the space?
By making this detailed observation, you will begin to notice what is available in or around the system. Since the goal is to take advantage of existing resources, and repurpose them, you will try to introduce into the system what is abundant in the local area. For example, there is no point in trying to fertilize your garden with cow manure if you live in the city and there are no cows around. But, if you live in a large city, there are probably many fairs in your area. Fairs are a rich source of materials that can be reused for your garden.
So are construction dumpsters. Once you’ve identified existing resources in your environment that can be used, it’s time to start interacting. With the materials and with your space. This is how you become a voracious bucket hunter and make friends with the market traders, who will give you crates and straw.
OTHER APPLICATIONS OF REUSED MATERIALS IN A VEGETABLE GARDEN
So far, we’ve talked about flowerbeds and siding. But be aware that there are other items that can be reused instead of purchased.
There are three ways to avoid buying land for planting. On land where construction begins, land is plentiful. Just ask for it and add compost or earthworm humus. You can also compost at home, making piles of clippings and grass clippings: this organic material, once composted, becomes fertile soil. The third method is to recondition the soil in your old beds by adding compost or humus.
Rainwater is better for plants because tap water contains chlorine, which disrupts the rich life of soil microorganisms, which is what provides food for plants. Search for rainwater harvesting systems. A simple way to do this is to leave a bucket outside when it rains, or place a container under the gutter drainage.
3. KITCHEN WASTE
A rich waste that becomes a resource. Your kitchen waste, when composted, becomes compost and fertile soil. Look for home composting systems: you can compost even in apartments and small spaces.
4. PRUNING AND GRASS CLIPPINGS
You can use them for composting or pile them in a corner of the garden and leave them alone for a while. After a few months, they become planting soil. Large pieces of prunings can also be used at the bottom of the garden bed to make a drainage system instead of expanded clay or pebbles.
An example of a reused material that can be used for many things in a garden. Especially for covering flower beds and pots: the soil should never be left bare. And it can also be used for composting.
VEGETABLE GARDENING WITH REUSED MATERIALS: IN SEARCH OF AUTONOMY
Gardening is about reconnecting to natural cycles and seeking food autonomy or at least a little independence from markets. Making a garden with reused materials gives joy, pleasure, and awakens the perception that we do not need money for everything in life. Some things are free. You just have to know how to take advantage of it.