So I'm scrounging containers, scraping up soil and mulch from around the property, and hitting the spring garage sales *real* hard for necessary containers, tools, and anything else helpful that I can get for small change or a few dollars.
My first big score that I was desperately looking for was a cheap wheelbarrow. (Good new ones are as much as $200!) Got lucky and found one for five bucks. The tire was flat ($2.00 patch kit and two trips to the local $.75 air machine because my air pump turned out to be defunct) and the plastic tub was blown out with a huge crack the full length. But I stitched it together by drilling holes and weaving wire from an old piece of Romex my dogs dragged home to chew on (seriously, they are weird rescue dogs). And then I stabilized the repair with a $4.00 tube of LocTite dual epoxy for plastics. Now I can go *much* farther into the woods on our land to borrow container gardening soil, leaf mold, and old leaves and grass for mulch -- and bring a lot more back than I could carry in the 5-gallon buckets I was using.
This weekend has been great for large containers that can be used for planters. Found numerous $.25 flower pots at the sales, plus a variety of baskets, trash cans, and coolers of various sizes. (I find that old coolers work well in my hot climate for container gardening; my working theory is that the insulation moderates rapid swings in container soil temperature.)
But the best (and totally unexpected) score at the garage sales today was some local genetic material for cheap and free. One lady had a jar (maybe a pint?) of self-harvested dill seeds, priced at a buck. These are from plants that thrived in this climate last year, cheap enough for me to scatter throughout my nascent orchard Fukuoku-style. Score! Dill grows easily here so I'm thinking I may be able to get it established as a self-re-seeding weed, which would be lovely; I like it a lot as a salad herb and could never have too much.
But the BEST find was from the same lady; she had a box marked FREE on the side that was full of large but disreputable sweet potatoes. They were obviously left over from last year's crop in her garden, and these were cracked or had broken/dried spots or really odd shapes. But if you looked close you could see they were already starting to sprout, and they were BIG healthy tubers weighing close to a pound apiece. I was delighted to see them; all the sweet potatoes I've found in my local stores have been sprayed (presumably) and are very resistant to sprouting. So it was a delight to get my hands on some local, unsprayed seed stock. She obviously meant them for that purpose, too; as I picked one up to look at it she volunteered in her deep-country drawl "Just put that in some water, honey, it will sprout right up!" I thanked her profusely and took two.
Moral: don't overlook yard sales as a source of plantable stuff!
Works for me! You can't have too many wheelbarrows.
Mike Cantrell wrote:Awesome. How'd the dill from spring of '14 do?
Sadly that dill did not distinguish itself, nor ever really grow in any manner visibly better than dollar store seed-packet dill.
On the other hand seeing this post just now reminded me that those perpetually-flat-tired wheelbarrows I posted about in this old thread taught me a valuable lesson about garage sales, and not the one you would think. Cans of Fix-A-Flat (a spray can full of air and sticky sealant gunk) cost eight bucks or so -- more than I paid for the wheelbarrows! -- but they are always turning up at garage sales for a buck, and I have put half a dozen into these tires over the years. Garage sales are great for finding dramatically underpriced consumables.
Best place to get seeds is to ask for them in the fall. Most people with gardens have stuff seeding out, and I have never had anyone say "no". Now they all to a man think I'm daft but I have a bunch of seeds every fall. They all go into the chaos garden and the strong replicate. If I see a squash plant alive and green after mine have all tapped out I ask if they have been spraying, and if they haven't I plead for one of the aged gnarly ones. Into the chaos garden...
Tj Jefferson wrote:Look at auctions.
I do go to auctions but mostly only to be sociable with my sister and brother-in-law, who have more cash than me and shop for bigger stuff. In my tri-county area there is only one auctioneer and he has a habit of aggregating stuff into expensive lots. No $5.00 wheelbarrows at his auctions; he'd stack fifty dollars worth of welding rod in that wheelbarrow and sell it as a unit. It's a lot of time investment standing around in a big crowd waiting for the rare unpopular lot that nobody wants that he has to knock down into my bargain-hunter price range.
Tj Jefferson wrote:Best place to get seeds is to ask for them in the fall. Most people with gardens have stuff seeding out, and I have never had anyone say "no".
This is great advice and I even gave something like it to someone in another thread a few days ago. But I don't actually *do* it very often because ... well ... I have just a touch of some kind of spectrum disorder. It socially inhibits me from making requests of strangers that I know they will consider odd. It's not utterly paralyzing; I can overcome it, but the mental cost is high. It uses up a lot of spoons that I don't always have. I have to mentally prep myself and visualize the conversation repeatedly and psych myself up and all kinds of weird broken-mental-health stuff. Usually it's not worth it. I have to want them seeds real bad. Which is sometimes the case. Or I have to be having a really great day, the garage sales have been going well, I've had six great interactions with strangers, I'm chock-full-o-spoons, and I just breeze right up and do it without thinking about it too much. That can happen too. Just, you know, don't bet on it happening on any given Wednesday.
Think of how stupid the average person is. And how half of them are stupider than that. - Carlin But who reads this tiny ad?
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