How-To Projects

3 Ways to Use Cattle Panels in the Garden

Many favorite vegetable plants — such as tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, peas, melons, and squash — need a little help standing tall. Cattle panels, available online and at farm supply stores, are a simple, affordable way to keep plants off the ground and away from foraging critters and soil-borne diseases.

Herbal Sea Salt

Preserve the flavor of herbs like cilantro, rosemary, oregano, sage, and thyme with homemade herbal sea salt. It’s simple to make, and once you’re done, the salt is ideal for flavoring buttered popcorn, grilled chicken or steak, and roasted vegetables.

Homemade Herbal Sachets

Who doesn’t love the fragrance of fresh herbs? By bundling them together in a small cotton sachet, you can add the lovely aroma of herbs to your daily life. Place one in your dresser drawer or use it in place of dryer sheets to lightly scent your clothes and linens.

DIY Pumpkin Planter

Pumpkins abound in the fall, so why not turn one of those beautiful gourds into a pumpkin planter for your fall flowers? Simply cut off the top of the pumpkin, scoop out the seeds, and add a little potting soil plus your favorite autumn blooms.

DIY Herb Drying Rack

Want to preserve garden-grown herbs so you can enjoy them all the way into winter and beyond? This hanging herb drying rack will air-dry them beautifully in your kitchen (or wherever you want to hang it). It’s easy to make, and all you need are a few items that can be purchased at the local craft store.

Easy Homemade Vegetable Wash

It’s always a good idea to wash your produce, and using vegetable wash is a great way to make sure you get it nice and clean. Instead of buying pre-made wash from the store, though, why not mix up your own? Our homemade version uses just three simple ingredients, all of which you probably have in your kitchen.

Easy T-Shirt Harvest Bag

This time of year, you’ve probably got your hands full carrying fresh produce in from your garden. If it seems like you don’t have enough hands for the job, you’ll love this easy, helpful DIY project: turning a few old t-shirts into harvest bags that are sturdy, yet soft on delicate fruits.

DIY Climbing Vine Teepee

This colorful support is a simple, eye-catching way to give climbing vines like peas, beans, and cucumbers a place to grow. As an added bonus, the same design can also be used to stake determinate tomato plants.

DIY Plant Caddy

Containers are a great way to create a garden anywhere you have sun, but larger pots can be heavy and hard to move in case of frost, or to follow the sun as the seasons change. This DIY plant caddy is a easy-to-make solution.

Make Your Own Super Green Powder

Turning fresh greens into super green powder is a great way to up the nutritional value of the meals you serve your family. Kale, collards, spinach, Swiss chard, turnip greens, and beet greens are all rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and act as antioxidants in your body, so choose the one you like best.

Art in the Garden: Upcycled Lettuce Planter

In no time at all, upcycle an old container to craft an easy, one-of-a-kind DIY lettuce planter. Here we have planted two varieties and colors of lettuce in a galvanized trough to create a unique focal point in the garden.

Create a Butterfly Bath

Butterflies bring so much more than color to the garden. They act as pollinators, moving pollen from plant to plant, making it possible for you to experience a generous harvest. This simple Butterfly Bath helps draw these winged beauties by providing them with a source of clean water

How to Build a Strawberry Basket Tree

You don’t need big patch of ground in order to grow your own fresh, delicious strawberries. This simple strawberry basket tree provides a hanging strawberry patch that’s as attractive as it is productive. All you need is a sunny spot, a few simple materials, and a couple hours of free time.

Create a Simple Herb Bouquet

Forget overpriced store-bought bouquets. Show your favorite someone how much you care with a simple, elegant herb bouquet from your very own garden. Mix in some cool weather flowers for an extra pop of color.

How to Build a Portable Planter

Thanks to casters and a built-in handle, this roomy planter can be moved around your driveway or deck to take advantage of anywhere you have sun and a bit of extra space. It’s easy to build, and is perfect for growing greens, herbs, and more.

How to Build a Simple Corner Trellis

This simple corner trellis does double duty as both a sturdy support for your plants and a beautiful edible landscaping element in your yard. Use it to grow cucumbers, melons, peas, beans, or virtually any other vining plant.

More Simple Garden Projects!

Feeling handy this weekend? This DIY e-booklet from garden expert and Bonnie partner P. Allen Smith is filled with fun, easy projects, most of which can be completed in an hour or less. Here’s a sampling…

How to Build a Raised Bed Cold Frame

Protect your plants from frost with a simple raised bed cold frame that sits right on top of your existing 4′ x 4′ bed. The lid is held open with screen door closers, and the entire frame can be moved easily when the weather warms up.

Decorating with Pumpkins

Come October, most of us plunk a pumpkin on either side of the front door and call it good. But with a bit of planning and some creative ingenuity, your entryway and garden can scare up some autumnal style that is worthy of a second (and even a third) look.

How to Build an Outdoor Sink

An outdoor sink puts water where you need it, when you need it. For washing vegetables, filling a vase, mixing plant food, or quickly watering a wilted plant, you can’t beat it for convenience. Happily, everything you need to make your own outdoor sink can be purchased at a home improvement store, or recycled from items you already have.

How to Build a Bamboo Trellis Tower

Here’s a simple, beautiful way to support tall-growing tomato (aka “indeterminate tomato”) plants: a Bamboo Trellis Tower, brainchild of horticulturist and garden designer Charlie Thigpen. Bamboo can be surprisingly easy to find, as it grows vigorously and often a little too enthusiastically for the person on whose property it resides.

Simple DIY Garden Projects

A tool rack made from a couple of recycled wooden pallets. An eye-catching trellis fashioned from downed tree branches. An old wheelbarrow transformed into a convenient salad garden. These are just a few of the handy, easy-to-make projects you’ll find inside this creative DIY Garden Projects e-booklet from garden expert and Bonnie partner P. Allen Smith.

How to Build a Raised Bed with Benches

This half-day project makes gardening easier and more comfortable. It’s higher than most raised beds, so you don’t have to bend over quite as much, plus it has a bench on each side so you can sit while you plant, weed, and harvest. This is an ideal garden set-up for older gardeners, folks with back… Read more »

How to Build a Fold-Down Greenhouse

This simple, inexpensive greenhouse folds down to protect your plants during early frosts and cold snaps, then can be raised up on warmer days to allow them full access to sunlight and rain.

How to Make an Herb Wreath

Capture the beauty, fragrance, and flavors of your herb garden in a classic wreath—no special skills or artistic ability required. Not only will it look beautiful, but you can snip herbs from it to season your favorite dishes.

How to Build a Straw Bale Frame

Add a touch of elegance to your straw bale garden with a simple, handsome wooden base. We’ve added casters for easy movement, making it perfect for a deck or patio. Cut the lumber yourself if you have some woodworking experience, or make it easy by having the boards pre-cut at your local home improvement store…. Read more »

How to Condition and Plant a Straw Bale Garden

When it comes to thrifty, versatile ways to garden, it’s hard to beat a straw bale garden. It’s inexpensive (usually well under $10), you can put it wherever you want, and it’ll eventually turn into compost – so what is your garden this year can feed your garden next year. How’s that for recycling? Many… Read more »

How to Build a Vertical Herb (or Lettuce!) Planter

Love the taste of fresh herbs? This vertical herb planter lets you grow them all in one convenient place – right outside your door! With removable shelves that can be easily left off for taller growing spaces, this simple project can be completed before lunchtime. We chose to build ours out of naturally long-lasting cedar,… Read more »

How to Build a Strawberry Pyramid

Celebrate strawberry season by building this simple, elegant strawberry pyramid in an afternoon. Cut the lumber yourself if you have some woodworking experience or make it easy by having the boards pre-cut at your local home improvement store. Next, be sure to choose a sunny spot in your yard – strawberry plants do best with… Read more »

Keith Poche’s Raised Bed Planter

When the fish aren’t biting, why not bite into a homegrown tomato instead? That’s Elite Series pro fisherman Keith Poche’s philosophy. When he’s not traveling across the country for fishing tournaments, Keith enjoys spending time outdoors in the garden. Keith first learned to garden from his parents in Louisiana, but at his new home in… Read more »

How to Make Bath Salts with Lavender and Rosemary

The soothing scents of rosemary and lavender enliven our gardens and kitchens, but the usefulness of these and other aromatic herbs doesn’t stop there. Handmade soaps, scrubs, and salts bring herbs into your bath as well, with soothingly satisfying results. Chasity Curtis of Alabama-based Freedom Soap Company uses garden-fresh herbs in her homemade body-care creations…. Read more »

Make a Row Cover Hoop House

Many leafy spring and fall crops are frost tolerant into the 20s, but if you’re dealing with lower temperatures, you need to give them little extra warmth under the protection of a row cover. Depending on their thickness, these blankets give 4 to 8 degrees of extra protection on freezing nights…

How to Make a Straw Bale Raised Bed

You can create a quick, easy raised bed using straw bales. The ideas is simple: You form a bed frame with the bales, then fill the space inside with a mixture of premium quality potting soil and compost. A straw bale raised bed is a convenient, inexpensive way to build your first garden or add… Read more »

How to Build a Super Easy Raised Bed

Make this 4- by 8-foot easy raised bed from 3 8-foot boards that you can have cut to size at the store. One 8-foot board needs to be cut into 2 4-foot sections. (To reduce the size to a 4- by 4-foot raised bed garden, simply have 2 8-foot boards cut into 2 4-foot sections.) To build… Read more »

Make a Cucumber Tent Trellis

A tent-shaped trellis makes a great support for cucumbers. Create your own cucumber tent trellis using farm-ready welded steel panels. One panel costs about $25 and will make 2 or 3 trellises. Step 1. Purchase a steel utility panel, available in farm supply stores. Panels often come in 16-foot lengths and 2 to 3-foot widths. They… Read more »

How We Built Our Big 8 x 24 Raised Bed

Our 8- by 24-foot raised display bed is built to last. We built it in front of our home office in Union Springs where we can watch Bonnie plants grow day in and day out. However, when we’re crazy-busy in spring, the garden will almost have to take care of itself, so we mulched the… Read more »

Grow a Strawberry Fountain

This strawberry fountain project is an easy way to grow strawberries without a lot of space. It keeps berries clean and easy to harvest. It’s an alternative to the popular strawberry jar containers. The key is keeping it watered because if it dries out, the fruit won’t form well. Of course, that is true for… Read more »

Give Mom an Herb Garden

Here is an easy way to show the moms in your life that you appreciate them on Mother’s Day and every day—a growing gift of a container herb garden.

Easy Container Combos: Vegetables and Flowers

“Learn to grow easy vegetables in great looking container combos.” That is the tagline in a book that teaches gardeners to do just that. Author and landscape architect Pamela Crawford makes vegetables beautiful. It’s more like a journal of trial and error, where Pamela, an accomplished flower gardener, shares her first stab at vegetables. You’ll… Read more »

An Edging You Can Eat

The pretty foliage of parsley does double duty as a source of leaves for the kitchen and a pretty edging for a flower bed or vegetable garden. Plants set out now will thrive all summer, fall, and even through winter in milder climates. Plant curly-leafed parsley for garnishes and flat-leafed parsley for easier chopping. Besides… Read more »

How to Build a Raised Bed

This easy 4- x 8-foot raised bed for vegetables and herbs has just enough style to fit most anywhere in a garden design, even by your patio. Using 2×6 lumber, you can make it as shallow or deep as you wish—1, 2, or 3 boards high. Ours is 3 boards high (not quite 18 inches)…. Read more »