Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Scrap Cedar for Squash Vines


It seems my reputation for welcoming stuff other people regard as useless is now well established.  My parents refurbished their deck over the summer, replacing the old boards with rot-resistant cedar planks.  My dad had set aside all the end pieces he trimmed off, none of them more than about 12 inches long.  There were about two dozen of them.  He asked me recently if I wanted them.  I said yes immediately and with such enthusiasm that he asked me what my plans for them were.  With this year's winter squash crop failure much on my mind, I'm already dreaming of a bumper crop next year.  Good pieces of rot-resistant wood will be ideal to place under next year's developing squash fruits.  They take such a long time to reach ripeness that moisture from the ground has plenty of opportunity to hasten spoilage.  These little pieces of cedar wood will be just the right size for tucking under next year's crop as they grow.  Redwood would do nicely too if you happened to come across it.

Cedar is expensive, and I'd never buy a new piece of wood just for the purpose of cutting it up into short lengths.  But the chance to put this scrap wood to good use was far too good to miss.  I love all the many ways that the garden turns trash into treasure.

Converted any trash to treasure lately?  Do tell.

14 comments:

eatclosetohome said...

Brilliant!

Rachel said...

We use old roofing tiles under our squash. Well, this year we didn't but didn't have any issues. We live where it doesn't rain in the summer, so as long as the squash aren't sitting in the beds, they are usually fine.

frazzledsugarplummum said...

I have a big pile of these too...unwanted by a friend. Some went for firewood and the rest has been used to make pathways in a wet area. I also plan to make some plant boxes from them. I will remember to use them for squash. Thanks for the tip.

Sue said...

I used pieces of styrofoam that came in a package under my squash and canteloupes. Worked like a dream! Don't ya just LOVE finding uses for the "un-usable"?

becky3086 said...

Well, on my blog I have two posts about making Halloween decorations out of a jar and tin cans. I have been getting fishbowl type jars from the thrift store to make Christmas potpourri jars with. Haven't done a lot as far as the garden goes except maybe the reused plastic vanilla barrel that I now use for a rain barrel and it has watered my fall garden several times now. I am sure there are more, I reuse lots of things but I just can't think of them right now.

meemsnyc said...

What an awesome idea. I love that you can use that scrap cedar! Gardeners are so creative! Cedar is so expensive, we made raised beds last week and wanted to use cedar but it's so expensive. We ended up buying Douglas Fir.

Leigh said...

I've been using bricks for this purpose, but we do have scrap cedar around from fence post building. I'll have to try our scraps next year.

Yobette said...

I had a lot of scraps over from when I T-11 panelled my screen porch, but they're all sitting by the firepit waiting for cold nights and flames! But I am going to recycle four old dining room chairs. Going to hang them by their back rails on hooks in the wall about 6'5" high and then use the struts between the legs as a hanging rail--either for clothes on hangers or in the shed for tools. The chair seats might be a good ledge for storing things on.

Tree Huggin Momma said...

Something that my Grandfather used to do - to protect his squash while ripening was to put a wire mesh about 3 inches off the ground over the plants once the seedlings are pretty well established. The plants grow up through the mesh and then the fruits stay on top of the mesh (it also keep the gofers, moles and voles out of them...)

Tamar@StarvingofftheLand said...

Well, we just turned an old washing machine into a chicken plucker. Then there's the reclaimed lumber that makes the foundation of the hoophouse, the garbage-picked plywood that houses the turkeys. And then there was the time we needed a deck plate for the boat and my husband made do with an old yoga mat and a cutting board.

Does this put me in the running for Hayseed of the Year?

Peter said...

I made place "mats" using slate roof tiles from an old house in Vermont. Bits of felt stuck underneath to protect the tabletop. They go with everything, from plain to fancy.

Joel said...

Two black plastic tubes (the sort that would be sliced thin to make the Roman numeral III's for a gigantic Risk set) came with a friend's new refrigerator. They're now standing upright a few inches off the soil surface, in the middle of the tomato jungle. The notion is that they'll warm up in the sun, and draw air up through them, helping the tomatoes stay better-ventilated.

Kate said...

Emily, ;)

Rachel, that would work nicely I imagine. Our summers are usually pretty moist, both in terms of humidity and rain.

Frazzled, I like the pathway idea. If we had more scrap pieces, I might do that.

Sue, yes, I've *almost* come to love packaging. So much of it has great after-uses.

Becky, the plastic barrels as rain barrels is a great re-use project. We've done one and I'd like to do a lot more.

meemsnyc, I imagine your Douglas fir will hold up nicely. Cedar is indeed very expensive.

Leigh, do the bricks not wick moisture up to the squash? I have bricks, but never thought to use them because of their porosity.

Yobette, clever idea with the chairs. It reminds me of how the Shakers stored their chairs when not in use - on long peg boards on the wall.

THM, I've seen designs for a mesh support for squash vines, raised up off the ground by a foot or so. Supposed to improve air circulation and thus prevent mold. But I imagine the heavy fruits would absolutely need some padding between them and the wire, lest the wire cut into them or at least deform them.

Tamar, you're in the running if you want to be. Those are impressive hacks and re-uses, for sure.

Peter, I like!

Joel, I sure would like to see a picture of that. I get the concept in general, but I'm not exactly sure how you arrange it. You've got a blog, I see. Post an image, please?

bethanial11 said...

I just made a raised bed garden frame out of pallets, old chicken wire, and a used piece of baling twine. In order to not have to shovel so much dirt (the pallets are standing upright), I'm planning to get used tires and put in the bottom until there's only about 18" - 2' of dirt that needs to go in. I've recently had back surgery, and bending of any sort isn't good. There's a post about this on my blog :-)