I grew up in a household that frequented thrift shops out of necessity, and like many kids in that economic bracket I was deeply embarrassed by our sorely out-of-date second hand outfits and household goods. Somehow between ages 14 and 16 and I did a mental 180° and found myself embracing thrifting as a lifestyle and a thrill rather than a cross to bear. Buying my clothes used meant that I didn’t show up at school wearing the same shirt or dress as every one else… being different was suddenly a good thing. When I moved away from home at 17, I began buying my home goods there as well, and for a time, thrifts stores became my answer to one-stop shopping and cheap afternoon entertainment rolled into one. Where else can you see the bizarre, discarded detritus of decade’s past?
Thrift stores are magic.
I still love thrifting, but my frequency reduced significantly over the last 10 years as our urban shops became more and more picked over and filled up with completely useless garbage. We recently moved into a new neighbourhood and I don’t know what it is about this area, but the stores are pretty good. As a result I’ve starting looking in the shops again, pretty much weekly.
Scouring the stores for items that I can transform or use in the garden this spring has been one way that I’ve made it through the grim days of winter when I was practically scratching at the walls with the urge to get outside and get started making my scrappy yard into something.
I’ve picked up an assortment of obvious garden items including an assortment of high quality terracotta pots, a well-made orange metal watering can for just a dollar, a number of plates to be used as saucers, glassware for terrariums, a cloche, a vintage windowsill herb gardening set (complete with very old seeds), and several very good canning supplies that aren’t really for gardening but it’s all one and the same to me.
The two items shown above are my most recent acquisitions. I garbage picked the wooden fruit crate from my therapist’s neighbour’s garbage. I’m probably crossing some kind of therapist-client personal boundary there, and if I am, I don’t want to know about it as the box is not the first thing I’ve dragged home from their curb side discards! Recently, there have been other items that I wanted to take, but didn’t because I “didn’t want to be too weirdly inappropriate”.
I’m planning to use the crate as a box for holding transplants. Although, it would make an excellent box for starting outdoor seedlings, I’ve decided against that use as I don’t want to damage its integrity. Those plastic trays that come free from the garden shops are flimsy and often don’t hold a tray full of transplants well.
The larger item on the left that looks like a doll crib is actually a small shelving unit. I bought it the other day for $5.99. The plan is to line the insides with landscaping fabric or screening and use it as a planter. It looks crappy now, but just you wait and see.
What crazy items are you upcycling for use in the garden this spring?