how to repurpose a garden

Repurposing is the trendy thing to do these days. Pinterest has made it so. But lets just get real, repurposing is a fancy way of finding new uses for old things, because you can’t afford the new thing that would function in that way. It’s also an opportunity to be creative you poor old sap, because you don’t really have any other option but to get funk-tional.

Being that I’m in a tight spot financially, I decided to try to think of clever ways to make use of old things. Well, some of you visiting this site, have been long time followers of my old youtube channel homesteadprovocateur or my even older garden blog.

Here is a picture so you can have a better idea of what I’m referring to.

Old Garden

Old Garden

Well, long story short, I made a difficult decision to end a 5 & 1/2 year relationship and in doing so, abandoned my fiancee, our properties, my cat and this garden. It was not an easy thing to do, but I’m convinced, even more now than ever, that it was the right thing to do for innumerable reasons.

That being said, it was painful and I am still in the process of grieving for little moments in my past, but have assurance that in the end, I’m better off for it. So fast forward about 5 years later and I decided to suck up my pride and got in touch with my ex and his wife. I asked them if it were possible for me to salvage the old garden. I figured it would at least be worth a shot to find out right?

Well, the answer was that I could, so I got to work a couple of weekends ago, with the help of my Mom and a couple of friends I managed to at least disassemble the beds, transport them to my house and cause some severe discomfort to my back in the process. I was supposed to go over there this weekend to try and tie up loose ends, but unfortunately the back was far from ready and it doesn’t help that I have a horrible bed to further perpetuate the issue.

Needless to say, I managed to take a couple of days off for my birthday and spent all of today at least assembling the garden array. I’m surprised at how well the wood has held up all these years! Some of the lumber is warped for sure, and a couple pieces are rotted out quite a bit, but for the purposes of my garden and the fact that I’m going to be implementing various techniques into the soil building such as hugelkulture, back to eden deep mulching with wood chips and what have you. I’m not too concerned about the wood rotting as there will be beds standing in place regardless of that small fact, I just need a temporary form around the bed to hold it in place until everything decomposes.

I’m posting pics below.



So this was the garden 5 years later. It is literally just as I left it minus the old trellises I made which were probably a real pain in the ass to remove. When I showed up to the property I was flooded with a tidal wave of memories and I felt horrible about leaving my ex with all this to deal with on his own. I can only imagine the pain and stress I must have caused. At least I can now clean up some of this and make it easier to manage as a landlord.


When I removed the bed frame, it revealed a beautiful dark hummus that worms were literally falling out of from every direction. I built up this soil for several years, and I wasn’t sure how it would hold up without any care, but looks like it has aged marvelously.


The beds were extremely difficult to disassemble, because I made them so stout. I screwed them together from every which way and it was a horribly difficult task to remove them. I would love to salvage the soil, because I have none of my own having started to build it from scratch this year, but I am not sure that I will be able to muster the strength to do so. I can’t afford to hire anyone to help me but I will see what I can manage to do next weekend with a wheelbarrow and heavy duty construction bags as my method of transportation to the truck I will be borrowing.


This here is the damage, I know it doesn’t look like much, but try telling my back that!



At my current property, I’ve decided single tier garden beds is more than adequate for my purposes. No need to go crazy as it is going to be hard enough filling the beds as it is since I don’t have any soil of my own other than what lies beneath the thick layer of mulch I placed all over the property.





That large structure in the middle of the yard is what I inherited from the previous owner along with the glass windows. The corrugated plastic was from my old garden. It is a makeshift cold frame that I modified using some of the materials I salvaged. This is a superb benefit to my garden and it will be where I start all my seedlings going forward. Last year when I tried starting seedlings inside my apartment for my plot at the community garden, I developed a horrible fungal gnat problem. Won’t have to worry about that here!


I moved the cold frame back because I plan to build a fence and want to make sure it will receive adequate sunshine regardless of its location.


I ended up moving the beds behind the cold frame to the other side of the yard, because it gets more sun and also I plan to repurposes the clothes line as a trellis support for vining and climbing varieties of plants. This should work out superbly. I did broadcast various grain seed in that section of the yard thinking it would be a small pasture area for the chickens to scavenge for roughage, but this arrangement is so much nicer than my original, namely due to the fact that I still retain some semblance of a yard to do fun stuff in like horseshoe, or install a firepit etc. And I can broadcast more grain in the open section too, shouldn’t be an issue.



I plan to fill the beds with what mulch I have left over and then build on top of that with soil I either take from the old garden or from other sections of the yard. This years garden will probably not be too great as a result. I am hoping I can find a source of manure somewhere also because that would be optimal. Anyways, we will see, I am excited to get started either way.



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