Autumn is the time to finish the harvest from your garden and put it “to bed” for the winter but it’s also a great time to look over the decorative items in your garden. Youngsters can help to assess items and fix any that require repair, place new items or rearrange “found” treasures to to brighten your garden during the winter months. It’s a great opportunity for families or classes to work together on activities that can benefit your garden as well as the birds and other creatures that may inhabit it.

Repurpose a Found Item for a Playful Planting Bed or Structure

Gardening kids absolutely love coming up with inventive ways to repurpose old items and appliances as planting beds for home, school, and community gardens. And we do too! We have put together guides that reference using old toys along with abandoned bikes and wheelbarrows to create playful planting beds.

Abandoned or found items can be used to provide colour and interest in a winter garden but they can also help shelter dormant plants from cold winds, snow and sleet. An old ladder or gate can provide a sturdy structure for vines and other spreading plants even an old toilet bowl and/or tank may be used as a planter for colourful cold-weather kale plants that will make onlookers chuckle. Even old rain and winter boots can be provide a home for winter-hardy plants

A walk through the back alleys of residential neighborhoods in the days preceding garbage pick up can reveal all sorts of found items that could be “repurposed” for your winter garden. As the saying goes: one person’s trash is another’s treasure! Just be sure to bring along some gloves and sanitizing solution!

Bird Feeders (or things that can be repurposed as bird feeders)

Bird feeders are aesthetically pleasing as garden accents and they also invite feathered pollinators into your yard which promotes biodiversity. Take the reuse/repurpose concept a step further by reimagining common household items as bird feeders. Need some fun examples? Old watering cans, wine bottles, bundt pans, teapots, even stringless ukuleles will provide a buffet of suet and seeds. From large pine cones to mason jars, tea cups or discarded tin cans, so many things can be repurposed.

It is important to ensure that your creative bird feeders are filled regularly with suet and/or seeds especially during the winter months when birds may not be able to access other sources of food. Keep your feeders up off the ground and don’t forget to clean them regularly too. Let your kids’ imaginations run wild while on a walk through the neighbourhood or local wildlands, or browsing garage sales for potential bird feeders and garden decorations.

Have you seen other fun yet useful ways household fixtures or found items can be repurposed in a garden or urban farming environment? We’d love to hear about them – leave a comment below when you find this article post on our Facebook Page.

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