Garden repurposing and recycling mark two

After writing about ‘caning the recycling in the garden,’ a thought occurred that much more than what was written about can be added to the list.

While the garden waste collection is suspended and the recycling centres closed, the garden rubbish is piling up. 

Meanwhile, with the garden centres shut, it’s a case of make do and mend in certain areas.

At present, however, it looks particularly bowed. Raking the earth within, drawing the soil away from the edge and gently trying to get the offending strip of wooden posts to stay upright had mixed results, but improved it slightly. In the meantime, a few bricks along the outside will help to cajole it into position.

The make do and mend policy isn’t just applicable to the garden, as it happens. There is much talk about a changed outlook that has been forced upon us under coronavirus. What’s important to us?

In the case of a favourite jacket with a broken zip, the urgency to replace it suddenly abated, in favour of taking it to a dry cleaner and zip/clothes mender locally, when they reopen. Why buy new when a local business can be kept busy?

The shop will be likely to get a stranger request too – can they mend the zip on the smaller plastic greenhouse that’s been a struggle to use? It’s been in use two years, but I’m determined that as it’s plastic it will last a lot longer and be nowhere near single use.

As for the rest of make do and use, those old compost bags are proving a strong haven for the seed potatoes. Golly they are “hungry” though. The Saturday trip to the store for a newspaper now involves buying a bag of compost, too. Most of it goes straight on those growing green shoots.

The long beams to make a raised bed elsewhere came from internal home improvements – and now that all the compost either came from old pots or the composter the earth is soft. To break up other areas, hay has been worked in to break up the soil – and it will be useful for the strawberries to protect against slugs after this week’s rain.

The lack of ability to get rid of the mounting bags of garden waste, however, is more problematic. With already two “dalek” compost bins in place (I wish I had a second water butt because rainy days are worth their weight) there are questions about what can go in them.

Hay, guinea pig droppings and bedding (wood shavings) has to go into the compost in limited quantities. The bedding doesn’t break down as fast as other items, such as fruit skins and vegetable peelings.  

Moss, it seems, is fine if you have four times other waste, I read. Maybe after being treated. Hmm. But what about those pesky dandelions in the lawn (which I am picking out daily when I see them so as not to leave craters when doing so all at once)? Most gardeners I speak to are reluctant to put them in their compost, roots and all, fearing they will just come back. 

A neighbour says he leaves them out to rot for a while, then puts them in, believing the roots to then be dead. I’m tempted to risk it. Anything to reduce that massive pile that is ultimately destined to be with me in a long queue when the community recycling centres reopen (a neighbour says there are “rumours” of a temporary reopening, but I’m not holding my breath).