As you may have figured out from some of my previous posts, I LOVE to garden. I wouldn’t say that I am a professional, but I am all about learning and improving what I do. I have a mix of veggie and flower/herb gardens. As you also may know from posts such as my “Fun-Day Friday” posts or financial advice posts, because my husband and I are on a tight budget I am very much about using what I have or finding great deals to do the things I need to do.
One such area is in my garden. This past growing season I have been doing a lot of expanding and improving in my garden. In doing so, I needed things like new fence posts, plant supports, and trellises. This Spring and Summer we have also been doing a lot of home updates and renovations- some of which included cutting down trees and large shrubs. I figured, hey, why not use what will otherwise be yard waste to complete other projects I need to do around my garden. So…here are a few ways you can use yard waste (tree branches and stumps) to beautify and improve your garden area.
1.Create plant-supports from old limbs: I have this lovely, blue balloon flower that comes back every year. I could almost say it gets taller and taller each year. Once it gets to a certain height it always ends up leaning on the ground which isn’t so attractive. This year, I found a 2-3 foot long branch what was pretty straight. I dug a little hole next to the plant and “planted” the branch in the ground. After that I just used some twine to tie the plant to it to help it stand up straight, tall, and beautiful. This could be done for any plant, or even things like tomatoes.
2.Create vine trellises from limbs or tree saplings: A friend of mine gave me a HUGE black planter. I decided to fill it with veggie and herb plants to grow in a partial-shade area of my garden. A few of the plants I put there were cucumbers and heirloom sweet peas, both of which are very viny. I had also seen the idea on Pinterest to make an “upwards” cucumber garden, so after the plants developed and settled a little more I decided to do the same in this planter so the other veggies wouldn’t get overrun by the cucumber vines. **Also, as a side note, we have a large honey-locust tree that likes to root new baby trees around the yard that we have to consistently chop down.** I took three “baby” trees that had been cut down and allowed to die and created a tepee-style trellis around the cucumbers. I tied them together at the top and made a zig-zag pattern going down using twine. As the cucumbers and sweet pea plants develop I’ll train them to grow up it.
3.Turn old logs into rustic planters: My dad had to cut down a tree at their house. Instead of chopping up and burning the logs he turned a few of them into planters for me and my mom. He used his saw to cut rectangle-shapes at the top then chiseled out the wood to create the planter space. Mine doesn’t currently have any flowering plants in it…but it will soon. They make adorable, rustic, eco-friendly, and affordable garden accents.
4.Use shrub trunks and limbs for fence posts: My veggie garden has expanded quite a bit this year. I’m working to grow heirloom plants so I can save the seeds from season to season, and I’m growing more varieties than I have in the past. In doing so, I ended up having to expand my growing area a bit. In the picture…forgive the overgrown grass- that was space for bean plants that didn’t make it and will soon be space for late-coming tomatoes. Since we have dogs I’ve always had to make sure I had a chicken wire fence up around my garden, otherwise my plants get trampled. In the expansion of my garden, I had plenty of extra chicken wire, but not enough fence posts, and some of my old ones needed replacing due to rot. After we chopped down some large, overgrown shrubs I used some of the longer trunk and limb pieces to use as fence posts. Use ones that are 4-5 feet long. Since you’ll have tension on the posts, you’ll want to make sure they are buried deep enough in the ground to hold up the wire fence without leaning, but also still tall enough to meet or go above the top of the wire fence. When I did mine, I used a shovel to dig large holes for each, placed each post in, replaced and packed the dirt around the bases, then used wire to secure the chicken wire to the new post, and voila…free fence posts!
5.Use V-shaped limbs and trunks for hanging basket shepherds hooks: My grandmother gave me a beautiful, hot pink desert rose plant. She said it would be great for a hanging basket, and I had just the place in my garden…right over my Bolivian Jew plant and blown glass reflecting ball. I had already planned to put a hanging basket there but I wasn’t sure what to plant…but this one was perfect. It added a splash of color and attracts pollinators to the veggie garden. Again, when doing this, make sure you use a longer and sturdy limb or tree/shrub trunk, and make sure to bury the base deep in the ground to prevent it from falling over or coming out. You’ll want to find one to use that is V-shaped and strong enough to hold a heavy planter, but again, it makes a thrifty, rustic, and attractive addition to the garden.