Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tote That Bale and Hose...and Coathanger

Yes, coathanger.

Specifically the wire ones that DH gets with his drycleaning. The rest of the family likes plastic hangers, meaning there are TONS of these accumulating.

So what better use for them than out in the garden?

These are dykes.

No, not that kind.

The kind used to cut metal or wire coathangers.

Cut each side of the hanger at the shoulders.

Then cut the long bottom side exactly in half.

Leaving this. (Toss the hook part unless you have another creative use for it).

Here's the two ends, looking suspiciously like stakes, perfectly designed for holding down drip hose in any sort of garden: raised bed, tilled earth, lasagna or........wait for it.............straw bale!

One can never have too many stakes for hose.

And here they are serving their new purpose - just push them down over your hose every 2 feet or so.

Keeping staking those miles of drip hose, using T-connectors where necessary, and caps at the endpoints.

I love drip hose. To use the straight or T-connectors, just push the hose into the connector. Drip hose lasts season after season and can be re-configured every year when I change my mind as to which way my garden is laid out. At the end of the gardening season, I watch the stores and buy up whatever hose and connectors are put on sale, stashing it away till the next spring.

The yellow hose leading towards the camera is the main hose that connects to the yard spigot.

The eventual goal is to have a water barrel here in the corner of this end of the garden, but I'm not entirely sure that it will have enough water pressure to push water through the permeable drip hose. Either way, the spigot water remains a backup, with the water barrel being a main source for water buckets.

All that hose laid out and staked with the wirehanger stakes. Yes you can purchase "garden stakes" if you need them, but why spend your hardearned money if you have wire hangers around the house? They work for staking hose, black plastic, clear plastic tunnels for starting plants early, the list is endless.

Occasionally when the drip hoses are first connected and turned on, there are geysers in unexpected places (that's what that odd brown root is marking). Then the water is turned off and that section of hose is cut and a connector put in. Or sometimes it's mended with duct tape. Depending on what I have available. Duct tape works, but is not the most aesthetically pleasing.

If you're planting a straw bale garden, and have laid and staked your drip hose, the next step is to spread a layer of soil over the drip hose.

This afternoon I had enough garden dirt (not potting soil) to layer over the first U shape of the bales. This early in the spring, this is all I need to prepare at this time. On the left arm of the U will be the melting sugar snap peas; along the back of the U spinach will be planted, and on the right hand side of the U, cauliflower.

The peas (and later the beans) will do much better (no matter where they are planted) if this Granular Garden Soil Inoculant is used. After reading about it (and reading it was available in any garden supply store, which it wasn't) I eventually had to order it online from Planet Natural.

It's easy to apply and non-toxic. Make a furrow in the dirt, add the seed, then sprinkle in the inoculant. The can above is enough for 150 linear feet (cost is $8.95 plus shipping). No danger of an overdose - the legume roots love it. The idea behind it is that the bacteria (that's what it is -bacteria) clings to the plant roots, and pulls nitrogen out of the soil/air/straw/planting medium and making the roots thick and healthy.

Then comes the fun part: writing the name on the little copper sign. I love these old-fashioned copper markers, and I pick them up at Target every year, in that $1 section at the front of the store.

What I planted today: Melting Sugar Snap Peas, Cauliflower, and Spinach. All cold weather crops that will love to have the occasional chilly evening, and then the hot sunny afternoons.

And if there should be a late frost or light snow, they'll be okay with that too.

I won't, but they will.
Disclaimer: No coathanger manufacturer has supplied me with coat hangers free of charge, and all Planet Natural did was accept my order and ship it to me for their customary charge. I can't remember the last time I got anything free. Definitely not the packets of seeds. Paid full price for them. Sure hope they grow.


  1. Love the hanger stakes! How perfectly obvious but I never thought of it!

  2. We return our wire coathangers to the cleaners, instead of letting them pile up. The cleaners provided a cardboard box just the right size to stack them into. When it gets full, DH returns it to the cleaners.
    Would that be an option for you? Otherwise, you might be able to recycle them with your other metals.