Tuesday 7 September 2010

Resourceful gardening

Down on the allotment 'make do and mend' is second nature to us gardeners - or perhaps, to be more accurate, we know how to extend the life of useful materials. Ingenuity in our use of resources is the order of the day, as these pix show.

In my first pic old bathtubs are doing duty as herb gardens. They're just the right height for picking herbs - here we've got several different types of basil, mint and oregano. In the background there's a repurposed dustbin, now being used as a charcoal burner.

Next, old rubber tyres make good raised beds for salad leaves and chard.

Water bottles are perfect for mini-cloches, to protect tender young seedlings.

My next pic really is about 'make do and mend'. Some of our volunteers are skilled with wood and metal and know how to prolong the life of garden tools indefinitely. These tools all have new wooden handles; the old metal parts are good for many more years of active service. Our tools are communal tools, by the way; we all take responsibility for looking after them and we need far fewer tools than if we all bought our own.

And this is our spectacular centre-piece: the apple press, made entirely from recycled bits and pieces by William.

Last, my much-loved shopping basket, which accompanies me on every trip to the allotment. I've had it for at least twenty years and had forgotten all about it until I started veggie-growing again. Its rigid shape protects the produce from being crushed; and it can cope equally well with sudden showers and baking sunshine. Today, I've got lettuce in re-used brown paper bags; potatoes in plastic punnets hoarded from another time; and another paper bag or two with courgettes and plums.

Those plums will spend the next few months in preserving jars that I've re-used again and again - but that's a story for another day!

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