DIY around the home can be a great way to save money and build skills.
If you are as impractical as I am, however, the results can often be less than perfect. That’s why garden projects can be such a great place to start. Simple, low-cost, and less, ahem, aesthetically demanding than a kitchen remodel, they are a low-risk opportunity to have some fun and build something useful in the process.
Below are a few videos of projects you might like to try.
DIY compost tumbler
Compost tumblers, which speed up the composting process by making aerating easy, often cost several hundred dollars at the garden store. Here Michael Nolan — aka The Garden Rockstar — creates this effective-looking and hefty compost tumbler out of a pickle barrel, a few hinges, bolts and other hardware — as well as some reclaimed wood.
Make your own worm bin
Worm bins are another great way to create compost fast. There is also some scientific evidence to suggest that worm compost can help suppress plant disease. Here Hal Brindley and Leigh Ramsdell of the Environmentals (yes, DIY garden videos are often made by people with silly names) show us how to create a simple DIY worm bin out of some plastic storage tubs, some screen and a few bricks.
Serious homemade rainwater storage
It’s not uncommon to see DIY rain barrels made out of old food-grade barrels. This guy, however, has gotten a little more serious. Connecting four barrels together using a homemade manifold — and incorporating some isolation valves to make expansion of the system easy — he’s built a rainwater storage unit that can hold four times the capacity of a typical shop bought model at a fraction of the price. See this post on TreeHugger for more DIY rain barrel ideas.
Reclaimed chicken coop
Chickens are pretty simple creatures. They need a place to roost and lay eggs, some protection from predators, and an area to scratch around in, eat and drink. And that’s about it. This DIY chicken coop was built from an old doghouse for about $25. Not bad, considering some (admittedly prettier) commercial coops can cost over $1,000!
Grow 40 pounds of potatoes in one barrel
Is there anything the humble food-grade barrel can’t do? Here, it’s being used to create a potato barrel. Taking the traditional gardening trick of “mounding up” potato stems with soil, a barrel like this can grow spuds all the way up a plant’s stem right to the top — creating a huge amount of edible tubers in a tiny amount of garden space. These guys get a little carried away with creating the perfect soil mix, but as they say, you can probably do this to good effect with just compost and soil too.
Related gardening stories on MNN:
- Hugelkultur: The ultimate raised garden bed
- Top 10 vegetables to grow in your garden
- How much is your vegetable garden worth?