Found: old decking boards. Used to make garden beds

I found a huge load of decking boards in hard rubbish a while back. Most decking boards these days are made out of merbau, which is a rainforest timber sourced in nations with lax environmental controls. It’s a sad industry for the world…

The wood is incredibly rot resistant and strong. I guess it grows in rainforests in Malaysia and other south-east Asian countries so only the toughest survive. It is amazing for use in the garden as it takes many years to rot so can be used for stakes, structures and garden beds.

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this is what they looked like when I finished them last year.

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this is them 6 months on, full of green. The little gap between them is now a place to sit and contemplate the freakishness of our scarecrow

I made the boards I found into two garden beds. They are about 240cm by 120cm and about 40cm high. They have a little lip around them to sit on. I really love them. They took quite a while to build but they were easy to do (just a bit time-consuming due to the fact that I was joining lots of different length pieces together). They look really nice and its satisfying to know they came from hard rubbish, they cost nearly $0 to build (just had to buy screws) and that they will probably last 10-15 years or more.

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If you ever see merbau wood lying around, grab it.

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also made this ramp to get our bikes up onto our deck, out of the merbau

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and this step-up into the boxbike

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What Kids Like To Do in the Garden

Regular readers will know that I am a member of the “Society of ELG“.

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Our founder, giving a seminar on something.

We have a lot of passionate people in the Society of Extremely Lazy Gardeners, but we are always looking to recruit new members. Thinking about joining? As a member you are entitled to a range of benefits:

– Low amounts of work

– High production of fruits and veggies.

– Money saving

– Great relationships with kids and neighbours

– General happiness and satisfaction.

Today was one of my laziest gardening afternoons but also probably my happiest. As an Extremely Lazy Gardener, I let many of my plants “go to seed”. This means that I don’t dig up or chop down all my veggies when they have finished producing their beans, fruit, and what not. For example, I leave a few lettuces unpicked until they shoot up into flowers and seeds. I leave a few broccoli unharvested so that their brocooli-bits turn into yellow flowers then seeds. I leave some zucchini to grow massive and hard then scoop out the seeds to be replanted next spring. I leave some of bean plants alone so their beans remain unpicked. They dry up and I can use the beans to plant again.

I like to tell people that I have a plan, but really it’s just that I forget to harvest some stuff, and nature did the rest. You have to ‘be okay’ with a garden that has a few towering, dried-up-looking stalks and a few rattling beans dangling from the vine. And believe me- I’m ok with it! Really, it’s just how everyone used to garden until they started selling seeds at the supermarket.

Anyway, enough about being lazy in the garden. Let’s talk about being lazy with kids in the garden! I wanted to include a brief description of what kids love doing in our garden:

Kids love:

  • planting broad bean seeds
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Another ELG member doing what I would consider to be a bit too much hard work in the garden. Probably trying to impress his kid. ELG Society rules state that broad beans should always be planted from a hammock or while half asleep in a wheelbarrow (see above).

 

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ain’t got a garden? do it in an old bottle!

  •  collecting and counting sunflower seeds from a dried up sunflower
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I asked my little fella how many seeds this one sunflower had given us. He said “Probably about 50hundred!” We counted them and turns out he was right…

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  • popping open dried-up bean pods and collecting the shiny beans
  • finding creatures in the jungle-garden

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two praying mantis mating- probably our best creature discovery in the garden. A great discussion was then had about what mating was and whether/why the female then ate the male’s head afterwards.

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  • eating tomatoes off the vine while they are still warm from the afternoon sun
  • eating anything within reach
  • pulling up a Jerusalem artichoke and plucking off the little tubers.

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  • Sharing these experiences with their friends in the street

 

All these things happened this afternoon. And it wouldn’t’ have happened had I not been so extremely lazy to have left all these seeds to dry up, pumpkin vines to take over (and harbour the amazing praying mantis), artichokes to grow in random places, sunflowers to wither, tomatoes to sprawl… Being extremely lazy has its rewards!

I’d love to hear your “what kids like to do in the garden” ideas too. Drop me a comment and we can all put together a list for others to be inspired by!

Growing gargantuan gaudy gourds

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our gourds drying out in the sun. Not only do they look cool but they are blocking the summer sun from our front porch.

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other cool object de art from the gourd family (and a couple of random aubergines)

Ever been game enough to grown a gourd? Go on, good golly, they’re great!

They are as easy to grow as a pumpkin. We used to grow ours at the base of a tree and just let it climb straight up, with gourds adorning it on the way up- like some sort of hippy-Christmas tree.

Once they are fully hardened off in a breezy and dry spot, they can be used as rattles, water containers, and about 17 other things. Some people even have the time to carve them into fantastical shapes.

They also make an awesome jack-o-lantern that can be used every year (and, unlike using a pumpkin, you don’t need to eat pumpkin soup for 23 days after making it.)

What’s 5 foot 10, bald, wears gumboots, hangs from trees, has facial tattoos and scares our neighbours?

If you said this small thing it the red t-shirt, you’re close…

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nah, this one’s about 3 foot 2

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not very sunsmart, Dawn

Dawn, our scarecrow, that’s who.

We made this cool scarecrow using an old wetsuit, a bail of straw, some old gumbys and some gloves. We also had an old head lying around (who doesn’t) which the kids painted a while back.

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See? not a bird in sight!
(and none of our friends seem to visit anymore…)

How to make her:

1. get a wetsuit, from the 2nd hand shop

2. get some gloves from your shed and some old boots/shoes

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3. Before you stuff it with hay, put the boots and gloves on the wetsuit and stick some wire through them to hold them on.

4. Stuff it with hay

5. Get that old plastic head that’s sitting in your loungeroom (or you might find one at a 2nd hand shop, or there’s new polystyrene ones at Spotlight type shops, but they’re not particularly great for the environment when theyre worn out. You could probably make a cool (and less bleedin-scary) head from a balloon, or a balloon paper-mache crafty effort, or just a plastic bag filled with hay.). Stick it in the neck hole. We shoved a stick down the body for the head to sit on so it didn’t loll around.

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she’s so beautiful… in a completely horrific kinda way

6. Hang her from the zip cord and wave goodbye to those pesky birds (and door-to-door salespeople to hopefully!)

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Our spiny leaf insect

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What an incredible creature! We just inherited her from a friend and have since built this enclosure from a secondhand plastic tub, drilled with holes, a flywire screen attached with sticky Velcro, and a jar of water (also attached with Velcro) with the leaves stuck into it. I attached a really heavy hardwood base to the tub so that it is super stable but still portable. Hopefully the whole thing is kid proof/friendly!