Gardening Shelves

Limited Space

When I began my small gardening hobby, I didn’t think that I would collect plants as fast as I did or even considered running out of space. Both happened in a small amount of time. As I continued to feed my new addiction, I looked into vertical gardening for a time, but since the outside walls don’t seem to support much, I gave up on the idea. Soon after I started researching gardening shelves and other ways to save space while enjoying my garden.

To my delight, I found a plethora of designs and prices for gardening shelves. I love shopping and research, but this felt a little overwhelming so again, I gave up the search. That is, until my husband suggested he could make me one at the fraction of the prices I saw.

I then began to research more in depth the design, size and materials I wanted for my own garden shelf. Like I said before, researching this became a little overwhelming but I was able to narrow my search based on those three things. And since this is a site dedicated to those who have limited space for gardens, I had to consider the small size of my porch.

gardening shelf
Gardening shelf

I will now discuss in detail various designs, sizes and materials so that you may also make your very own gardening shelf on a budget for your limited garden.

Gardening Shelf Design

There are many types of designs for a gardening shelf. After you’ve seen an unlimited amount of pictures, you will be able to narrow down your results like I did. They can look like a traditional shelf as well as more elaborate and imaginative. Yours can be made based on your preference.

First of all, I recommend you figure out how much space you have to work with. My gardening shelf takes up the majority of one side of my porch. If you have more space to work with, you might prefer something longer. The size may also play a part in helping you decide on a design, but many styles of gardening shelves can be made different sizes.

Gardening Shelf Materials

Next are the types of materials you want to build with. Since my husband and I were trying to cut down on costs, I wasn’t too picky about the appearance of my gardening shelf. He ended up buying some small wood supports and natural wood colored fencing posts at Home Depot. Hubby also bought nails and screws. Total cost of my shelf was around $30. You may spend more or less.

Since the materials were longer than needed my husband ended up sawing most of the pieces down with his saw. He also used a drill and hammer that we already had. A leveler also came in handy. Now, my husband did all this without an actual paper in hand, so yours may be different.

After hours of sawing, drilling, hammering and some trial and error, I had a beautiful custom made gardening shelf. Now it was in no way perfect, but it does the job of showing off my beautiful plants. Hubby suggested I get it stained or painted, but I like the natural look, so for now its finished.

gardening shelf
My finished gardening shelf

If you like the white picket fence look, there are plenty of parts to create a white picket fence garden shelf. If you prefer something dark and modern, there are numerous supplies to achieve that look as well. With extra work, you can also pick out natural wood and paint it a color or colors to match the outdoor look.

Another way to save on materials is to ask friends and family with larger yards if they have any materials they won’t use that you can for a gardening shelf. Lumberyards and scrapyards are also great places to find cheap materials.

Gardening Shelf Sizes

My gardening shelf is about 5 feet by 4 feet tall with four shelves. Each shelf is spaced so that the one below juts out by half the one on top. Each shelf is about one foot wide so that a variety of pots can be placed on them. When my husband built the framework, the shelf was pretty wobbly and unsteady, so he added the supports that criss-cross the back.

If you choose to start small, I suggest a corner shelf. You can make this short or tall, depending on what you want, how much money you have to put toward your shelf, and how many plants you want to display. Another good size to start with as a base for each level is one foot in height, depth and length.

Also, when you consider the size of your gardening shelf, make sure you have enough supports to handle the weight of your pots. I have my larger pots on the ground and lowest shelf. The smaller ones I placed on the highest shelf. This can vary based on size and materials used.

gardening shelf
My gardening shelf

Other Gardening Shelf Ideas

If you would rather use a pre-drawn out plan, there are many to choose from. There are plenty ready made shelves and ones that you build yourself that come with plans. Another inexpensive way to have your own gardening shelf is to scan Craigslist ads in the for sale and free sections.

If you decide to start from scratch like my husband did, I highly recommend making several drawings with measurements. This will help you avoid making mistakes and waste time redoing certain steps. Of course, if you do start from scratch, everyone has their own way of doing things.

Conclusion

In conclusion, enjoy the process and definitely the finished product of your own gardening shelf. You will learn a lot as you build your shelf (or by watching you significant other build it). And if you really enjoyed the results, this may lead to other homemade outdoor furniture. Let me know if you have your own tips and tricks on how to make your own gardening shelf. Enjoy and happy creating!

Ann

How to Keep Squirrels Out of Your Garden

Why Squirrels?

Several months ago I found some odd occurrences happening in my garden. Several of my pots had what looked like holes in the dirt. There was also evidence of what looked like an animal had dug through some of my plants. My new lavender was also flattened, as if something had fallen in it.

I live in an area surrounded by trees, so I figured all of this was caused by falling branches or small animals. It shouldn’t have surprised me when I heard some noises outside and saw a squirrel laying on one of my planters.

 

The squirrel glared at me, then jumped from the planter to my hanging strawberry plant, where he began digging in the dirt to bury what looked like a large seed or rock. He patted his burial place neatly before scurrying off into the nearest tree.

This didn’t alarm me, since seeing the squirrel made all the other oddities make sense. I wonder if he is also the reason why some of my plants are not growing.

Why Keep Squirrels Out of Your Garden

Squirrels are small, cute and furry creatures that I enjoy watching while walking around my complex, as well as having staring contests with them. Why bother keeping them away from your garden?

 

There are many reasons to keep squirrels out of your garden. They can destroy flowers, fruit and vegetables that you worked hard to grow. Squirrels will steal and smash your prized plants as well.

My husband began researching how to keep squirrels out of your garden, hence this blog post. He showed me some videos of how to do this with homemade items. I will be discussing these as well as other methods below.

How to Keep Squirrels Out of Your Garden

There are many ways to keep squirrels out of your garden, but I will be only discussing several.

Cayenne Pepper

The videos my husband showed me talked about placing cayenne pepper in the garden to keep the squirrels away. Apparently they do not like the smell. I figure this would be a free way to keep the critter out.

Luckily, we had a jar of cayenne pepper. The pepper does not harm plants, so I sprinkled some in all my planters that had evidence of the squirrel. Its been a few days and so far I have seen no proof that the squirrel has been back. As far as I’m concerned, the cayenne pepper worked!

Peppers in General

Squirrels don’t like peppers for the same reasons many people don’t, their strong taste and smell. Other red peppers or a combination of peppers, such as paprika and pepper flakes can also keep these critters away from your garden.

Mint

Just like squirrels don’t like the smell of peppers, they are also repelled by the smell of mint. I haven’t tried this method yet but will definitely consider planting mint in the future. Plus, I like the smell of mint.

Bulbs

Squirrels do not like to dig up certain bulbs. As I stated earlier, my best friend’s in laws gave me an amaryllis bulb that bloomed beautifully vibrant flowers for me to enjoy several weeks ago. Thankfully, the squirrel left this alone. Hyacinth, allium and daffodils are some bulbs that squirrels do not like, so if you prefer these bulbs, plant them in your garden!

Mulch

If your plants can thrive in mulch, add these to your garden. I have several planters with dirt that are also topped with several inches of mulch. I’ve noticed that the squirrel has not touched these areas of my garden. The heavier the mulch is, the better.

Neatness

Keep your garden neat. I love being surrounded by so many trees, but some of them in particular love leaving scraps of bark and other debris on my balcony. Make sure there is nothing on the ground that may attract squirrels. I try to sweep the garden area about once a week.

Put Your Pets to Good Use.

Have a cat or dog, or both? Your pet(s) can also keep away squirrels from your garden. If allowed, let them roam around your garden. Our cats are not allowed to walk around our complex, but squirrels are not around when the cats are near the window to my garden.

Do you have any other suggestions for keeping squirrels out of your garden? Let me know!

Until next time,

Ann

Pruning Fuchsias

Fuchsias are plants with beautiful hanging flowers that are available in a variety of colors. They look great when planted in the ground or from a hanging planter. I bought my hanging fuchsias from Home Depot late last summer.

The last flowers fell near the end of the year. I noticed the plant was still growing leaves but not flowers. I thought about throwing the plant out and starting new since the flowers are the reason I bought the plant, but figured that was not the answer. After I did some research I discovered that by pruning my plant I could encourage new flowers to grow back in and save money!

Today I am going to talk about pruning fuchsias. One way to budget while gardening is pruning plants to enjoy over and over again. As I stated above, I almost threw mine out, but did not since I can save money by pruning. The only tools you will need are pruning shears and possibly garden gloves. I was able to find my shears at Ross for a discounted price. Sheers can be found at a variety of other stores too.

There are several ways to prune fuchsias. Cut the branches back by at least a third . You can prune even further and cut the plant back near the soil. It is also a good idea to cut branches that criss-cross to avoid getting them tangled up. This will also keep the plant from looking messy and give it a cleaner appearance.

Cutting back dead and unhealthy parts periodically will also keep your plant looking nice. Pruning can also give the plant a new or updated shape. You also want to do this early in the year, around springtime, so that you can enjoy new fuchsias for as long as possible.

Pinching off buds and flowers can also bring in new growth. This will help the plant produce more branches and flowers. Make sure the plant is growing green wood. This is where the new flowers will appear.

Dead flowers should also be pinched off to help the plant continue to grow new flowers. This should be done during the flowering season of the fuchsia.

Also, make sure your fuchsias are getting enough sun. I keep mine partially shaded due to the warm area of the country I live in.  If you live in a cooler area the fuchsias will need more sun. If you are not sure, check the plant climate zone map in your area.

Another way to help your fuchsias thrive is to use soil with good drainage. If you have your plant in a pot like me, make sure the pot has holes in the bottom for the remaining water to drain from. If there is no drainage the plant may rot from sitting in water.

Fertilize the fuchsia plant periodically, about once every month or so, to encourage new flowers to grow. I use fertilizer sticks that dissolve in water that I was able to purchase from the local dollar store. Jobe’s Fertilizer Spikes for Flowering Plants are a popular choice. These are pretty inexpensive in other garden stores as well.

I waited a little late to prune mine, but as you can see, new fuchsias are growing in nicely. There are even several buds forming all over the plant, so hopefully I will have a bunch of fuchsias growing in soon. I will check every few days to see if I need to cut back some more branches.

Happy pruning everyone!

Ann