Cultivating a Culture of Gardening™

Saturday, September 18, 2010

MacGyver Gardening

Has anyone noticed that the notion of recycling/re-purposing is being marketed as a new, contemporary idea? I'm thinking that re-purposing was actually kindled back in the mid-80's with the TV drama "MacGyver". Angus MacGyver continually amazed me with his ability to catch international criminals with something like a ball of twine, an old bicycle wheel, and a ballpoint pen. The idea that I could utilize common items that are just lying around to deal with a pressing need left a deep impression on me.
That being said, when I decided last week to add another several hundred sq. ft. of raised beds to my vegetable garden with no extra cash for bordering material, I simply got in touch with my inner MacGyver. "What do I see around me that I can use to make raised beds?" In the back corner of our holding area are an assortment of leftover cement blocks. And piled up like a mausoleum in waiting are a ton of granite blocks leftover from some project that no one can remember. I use a front end loader to put both type blocks in my truck and head for home.

The cement blocks were heavy but I was a woman on a mission.
Then I started on the granite.
Have you ever manhandled granite? No wonder they use this for gravestones - nobody's coming up out of the ground with a stone this heavy over their casket.
With MacGyver like ingenuity I grab the dolly from the garage and start stacking.
Hours later, back aching, I finish the bed as hubby drives up. He takes a look and remarks, "You building a crypt for your dead plants?"
There are a few times when it's good that I don't have a shovel in my hands....

(Just in case Billy Goodnick sees this and wants to put me in his "Crimes Against Horticulture" list, I'm not finished yet!! I'm sitting here thinking, "What would MacGyver do?" to make this more appealing. I guess I should consider that Halloween is right around the corner)



At September 18, 2010 at 10:34 PM , Anonymous Sarah from Toronto Gardens said...

Wow, this is brilliant, Barbara, and my hat is off to you doing this all by yourself. Is that landscape fabric underneath the beds? What is your strategy for that?

Love your phrase, "Mausoleum in Waiting".

At September 19, 2010 at 9:33 AM , Blogger barbara wise said...

Hi Sarah! Thanks for stopping by the blog. I used this leftover landscaping cloth to help kill the grass (I'm a no-till gardener). I usually use newspaper to weed and grass block an area. Once beds are bordered and grass has died I will open up landscaping cloth inside the beds, cover with newspaper, and add soil and compost. When budget allows I'll cover the walkways with crushed stone or pinefines on top of the landscaping cloth. The whole garden bed will be surrounded in the front with blueberry bushes.

At September 19, 2010 at 3:36 PM , Blogger Jan said...

Brilliant Barbara!I love it when others reuse things! Great job!

At September 19, 2010 at 3:37 PM , Blogger Jan said...

Brilliant Barbara!I love it when others reuse things! Great job!

At September 19, 2010 at 4:21 PM , Blogger Kylee said...

Wonder Woman, you are! I don't know how you mustered up the energy for this after the week we just had in Dallas!

I think it will look great when you're finished. If I'd been there, I would have smacked hubby FOR you. LOL.

At September 19, 2010 at 8:21 PM , Anonymous Dave@TheHomeGarden said...

I think you definitely need some skeleton hands and arms to stick into the soil after you fill the beds. Like it's rising form the earth! Those stones can be a pain to move - I've done plenty of that this year!

At September 22, 2010 at 8:14 AM , Blogger Commonweeder said...

What a plan! This is just proof that gardening isn't 'exercise', it is 'trauma'. Your poor back! I can't wait to see it all planted.

At September 23, 2010 at 7:29 AM , Blogger Gail said...

Barbara, I rather like it! Also, that's back aching work~I would have to have a serious lie down in neutral position and rest for a day! gail

At September 24, 2010 at 10:32 AM , Anonymous Dee @ Red Dirt Ramblings said...

Barbara, that looks like a ton of work. Hang in there.

At September 25, 2010 at 10:40 AM , Anonymous Heidi said...

Nice job! And fun to read... Re-purposing is so smart and you did a great job of saying yes to your inner MacGyver.

At September 25, 2010 at 10:43 AM , Anonymous Heidi said...

Great job! And a lot of fun to read. Re-purposing certainly brings out the ingenuity in a gardener and you did a fab job of channeling your inner MacGyver.

At September 26, 2010 at 4:58 PM , Blogger FlowerLady said...

How can they even say that recycling/repurposing is a contemporary idea? They are late getting with the program. We've been doing it for over 40 years now.

I like what you did for raised beds. Concrete blocks are heavy and will wear you out in no time, especially that many, and then you hauled granite too!!!

I look forward to seeing how this all comes together. I'm sure it will look great.


At September 28, 2010 at 11:39 AM , Blogger scdd said...

"What would MacGyver do?" -- Love it!


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