Five Cool Make-it-Yourself Garden Gadgets

A great garden gadget is an exciting find. You spot them occasionally in garden catalogs or at your local garden center, but the best gadgets are the nifty homemade widgets that your friends have devised.

You know what we mean — a planter made from a milk jug and a piece of plastic pipe, a plastic soda bottle modified to be a watering reservoir, pieces of plastic miniblinds recycled as plant markers.

Here is a small sampling from this book, of how to make some nifty gizmos! Here are some tips to help your birds using old door mats, and cracked old concrete birdbaths; cool lantern delights for outdoor lighting, using baby food jars; a string holder, and more!

Clean 4- 6- ounce baby food jars.

6 to 12 clean baby food jars
Spool of fine-gauge wire (not plastic coated)
6 to 12 voltive candles

1. For each jar, cut a piece of wire 40 to 50 inches long. Vary your lengths so your finished lights can hang at different heights.
2. Bend a wire in half to form a V-shaped handle for the jar. Hold the bent wire over a jar so 6 to 10 inches of the V extends above the jar for hanging. Wrap the rest of the wire around the threads of the jar mouth.
3. Twist each end of the wire around the V-shaped handle to fasten the wire securely. Pull tight.
4. Place a voltive candle in the jar, light, and hang!

On hand: Old craced concerete birdbath without its base.
Turn it into: Ground-level bird feeder and sanctuary.
How to do it: Dig a slight depression in a flowerbed and set in the birdbath saucer. Place a little bowl of water or fruit in the middle and pour seed around it.

On hand: Old door mat
Turn it into: Birdseed catcher
How to do it: Put a scrap of door mat under the bird feeder and on top of fresh snow so seed falls on it and not into the snow where the birds can’t get to them.

On hand: Old filing cabinet
Turn it into: Tool storage chest
How to do it: An old metal or wooden file cabinet makes a great place to store hand tools, pruning tools, string, gloves, and all kinds of miscellaneous garden items.

On hand: Plastic strawberry flats
Turn them into: Dahlia tuber holders
How to do it: In early winter when frost has killed dahlia foliage, lift the tubers and shake off the soil. Then line each of the flat’s compartments with a paper towel, et in the tubers — one per cubbyhole — and put the flat in a cool, dark place. The rectangular flats stack easily so they won’t take up much space, and the ventilated sides will keep needed air circulating to the tubers all winter long.

On hand; Plastic detergent bottle
Turn them into: String caddy
How to do it: Cut a hinged flap into the side of a plastic bottle, baking it large enough to slide the string cone in. Stick a couple pieces of Velcro on the flap so you can open and close it. Poke a hole through the cap, and slide the string out the top.

Adapted from Great Garden Gadgets, a Rodale Organic Gardening Book. Copyright (c) 2001 by Rodale Inc. Reprinted by permission of Rodale Press.
Adapted from Great Garden Gadgets, a Rodale Organic Gardening Book.

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Jhonny W.
Jhonny W.11 days ago

Keep the ball rolling you have done the great job here.Topiary Dogs

Dana W.
Dana W.3 years ago

I saw a great tip about using old shower curtains to line your trunk to protect the carpet when storing wet stuff or bringing home plants from the nursery.

Miranda Parkinson

great ideas!

Kathleen Conroy
kathleen Conroy8 years ago

Try storing gardening packages of seeds and small pruning sheers in an old coffee container

Jacquelin Cummins

anybody know how to make a hanging pot holder for the kitchen from an old abndoned bike wheel.

Alejandra Miller
ale Miller8 years ago

Wonderful tips! I use half a galon cartons of milk, as storage 'drawers' for my packages of seeds. I wash them, let them dry, and cut one of the sides of the carton only on the long sides and the upper side, leaving the bottom side connected to the carton. This will be the flap cover of your seed storage box. Use it laying horizontally and with the pouring hole as your 'handle'. Label it underneath of pouring hole.

Carol Schramm
Carol Schramm8 years ago

I am a retired science teacher and always had my students do a project called "Reusing". They had to take a discarded object (or however many) and make a useful new item from them. Great ideas every year.

Tina B.
Tina B.8 years ago

my father make a bird feeder from two differing sized pots / pans lids, a 10-12 inch eye-bolt, a few washers and nuts. Example: take 6 inch and an 8 inch pots/pans lids (domed or curved lids work best)and remove the handle from the top of each lid. Next take place an appropriate sized washer on the eye bolt. Slide the larger lid (top size next to the eye bolt), add another washer and the a nut. This secures the larger lid in place. At the bottom of the eye bolt screw on a nut, advancing it up the eyebolt several inches. Add a washer, then the smaller lid with the top of the lid facing away from the top of the eye bolt (makes a bowl). Add another washer and nut (just until it clears the end of the eye bolt). Bring the lid, washer, and nut down to secure the lid. Determine location to hand the feeder, add bird seed, and what the fun begin. P.S. my father frequents yard sales or garage sales for the lids.