by Charlene Burgi
Yesterday was delightful. The temperatures ranged in the 70s, the sun was shining and the garden beckoned me outside to see what the new day brought.
One of the first things I noticed was the greenhouse. The snow still mounded around the north side from the previous day’s snowfall. A few hardy perennials that didn’t require heat had been placed inside the greenhouse the week before, but the time was drawing near to get more tender seedlings started. The warm sunshine and blue skies pushed me further along this avenue of thought, knowing the balmy weather conditions were short-lived. Temperatures would decline again, and electric heat in the greenhouse was not an option. It was then that I grudgingly admitted to the benefit of stuff saved by my dear husband, who saves everything.
Most people eliminate stuff from their life when they move. But when we moved last fall, somehow we managed to accumulate more than we started with. Sounding like a prime candidate for the next episode of Hoarders, Jack suggested checking the inventory behind his shop to see what would work to passively heat the greenhouse—he thought a water tank pulled out of an old camping trailer years ago might do the trick. Lo and behold, there was the cache, right where he said it would be.
Armed with a special black spray, I soon transformed the five-foot tank into a coated, rubberized, heat-attracting, water-holding vessel that will accept the sun’s energy to heat the water within. The warmed water will radiate during the evening hours and keep the plants at a comfortable temperature. At least, that is my hope.
While scrounging around, I also found a steel-framed, door-sized rectangle with wire mesh that could act as the perfect table to place over the black tank. I could water the seedlings above, allowing water to percolate through the mesh and onto the tank and plants below.
The treasure hunt also unearthed large, flat flagstone stepping stones left over from one of Jack’s landscaping jobs. A bed of gravel in the center aisle of the greenhouse would keep my feet clean, but the stepping stones could accomplish that and provide space to plant herbs in between each stone. Taller basil and parsley seeds could be planted on the outside portion of the stepping stones, and Thymus praecox ‘Elfin’ could grow low in the center portion of the walk. Mentha requienii, commonly known as Corsican mint, could thrive at the end of the greenhouse where overhead water from new seedlings would provide the ultimate growing conditions for this high water-user. I can already smell the fragrance from these plants, emanating with each misplaced foot bruising the foliage.
Yes, yesterday was like Christmas. The more I looked, the more treasures I found, waiting to be reused and recycled. All the materials needed to build a chicken coop were located. All types and sizes of wire to line raised beds or make baskets to protect roots from gophers were neatly arranged.
Walking back to the garden, I noticed new green growth coming up from dormant perennials. The antique farm implement that I just discovered would make fabulous garden art and enhance the beauty of their soon-to-be blooms. They, too, would benefit from the treasure trove of stuff.
This area deserved a better name than the junk area. I shall forever call it, “The Recycle Center.” I wonder what else lies in wait . . .
There may be treasures lurking in your garage, garden shed or beyond. Recycling is the Bay-Friendly—and Earth-friendly—way: less to the landfill and found treasure in your pocket!
Celebrate Earth Day with MMWD Tomorrow, April 21
Speaking of Earth-friendly, MMWD will be celebrating Earth Day tomorrow, April 21, and we hope you will join us. First, kick off the day by helping to restore habitat along Bon Tempe lakeshore from 9:00 a.m. to noon on the Mt. Tamalpais Watershed. Then join us at the Earth Day Marin Festival at Marin Civic Center Lagoon Park. This free, fun, family-friendly event includes music, organic food, interactive activities, speakers, local artisans and more. Be sure to drop by our booth to say “hello”!