Spring is here (even if it’s rather hard to tell here in the northeast with April snow showering down upon us.) Spring, for me, is a wonderful time of regeneration and growth. I clean, I clear, I prune, I plant. I dig and a till, I run and I laugh. Spring is a wondrous time. Every year I pore over catalogues and websites, order tons of plants and seeds during the winter, and wait for Spring to arrive. When it does, the decision of where to plant becomes paramount.
Some plants I know just the right spot for them. Other plants I carefully consider height and sun requirements, and still I am not sure. All plants, however, get the last say on where and when they would like to be planted. Yes, you heard correctly: I ask the plants.
I quiet my mind. If I’m outside, great. If I’m inside I imagine myself outside. Either way, I close my eyes, quiet my mind, and let myself feel the garden as a whole. Then I think of the particular plant or seed, and “talk” to it. Sometimes, I ask silently where it would like to planted and receive an answer. Other times I picture in a spot where I would like it to be planted, and see if I get a good accepting feeling in my body, or a rejection. Then I imagine another spot, and so on, until I receive the best-feeling location with the strongest feelings of affirmation. And sometimes I draw a map of the property and dowse for my answers.
Thus, this year my amaranth seeds, which I have never planted before, have asked me to tame and till an area which is usually filled with jewelweed each August, claiming that they will do very well there. My pole beans have asked for their teepee to be next to my son’s small pool — this is also very near our cream-colored house in nearly full sun, so they will be getting both prolific sun and water here. My fava beans wish to be planted where the tomatoes were last year. Corn wants to be where I had grapes and squash — I am only too happy to move the grapes as they will not fruit on my property and have asked to go live with my mother who gets true full sun. My basil wants to be planted in a triangular formation, and my hot hungarian wax peppers in circle with a plant in the middle. Mint has asked to be planted among the glacial rock boulders in our backyard. And so it grows…
We drink a gallon of milk a week, fresh from the farm. The farmer brings us our milk in recyclable gallon plastic jugs, which pile up until I can get to the recycling center. They are big, and they are unsightly. They get on my nerves.
Until now! I have come up with several uses for gallon jugs in the garden and on the farm. The first use I came up involves using a serrated knife to cut the bottom of the jug off about 1.5 inches from the bottom. This creates a very nice single unit “greenhouse” for spring seedlings in the garden. Use the discarded bottom to start seeds in, or place under pots to catch water.
Holding the handle, you can further cut away part of the “greenhouse” to create a nice feed scoop.
Or, use the container to make the gorgeous plant ID stakes pictured in the post. I cut off the bottom of the jug with a knife, and then with scissors I cut the flat portions of the jug off. Then, I cut the flat portions into strips varying from 4-5 inches long. With two snips, I tapered one end to a point. They look very much like the white ones you can buy at stores, except that they are translucent. I made over 50 strips from two jugs.
I’m sure this barely scratches the surface of what can be done with milk jugs. I used to store mead in them. You can cut the top half with the handle of to create square-ish bins. Decorate the edges with bits of ribbon for a pretty, and safer, effect. Or, leave the jug whole, cut a big door at the bottom and some windows, decorate and paint it and you have a dollhouse or toy car garage… Anyone have any other uses for them?