Reduce, Reuse and Recycle: How I Got a Cupboard For My Gardening Tools and Supplies

by Wendy Diaz EMGV

We all know that we can help the environment by reducing, reusing and recycling all the stuff we need, use and buy. Last year our family upgraded to a larger screen TV that rendered our large oak entertainment center obsolete (Photo 1). I tried to donate it as a piece of furniture to reuse stores, however, they would not take it. A local consignment shop told me to just throw it away. Now I can’t throw things in a landfill if I feel they could be of use to somebody and when I couldn’t find a stranger to take it, it became clear that it was up to me to reuse and find another purpose for this well-made but outdated piece of furniture.

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Photo 1 Before: Empty old oak entertainment center. Photo by Wendy Diaz, June 10, 2018

After a quick search on the Internet, it became obvious that I wasn’t the only one with this idea. There were abundant images of repurposed entertainment centers mostly transformed into wine racks or portable liquor bars and children’s play kitchens (think sink instead of TV). Nevertheless, there were a few enterprising gardeners who repurposed this large piece of dated furniture into a tool storage unit for their garage or back porch. And that is how our oak entertainment center became one garden cupboard (Photo 2) and a TV stand.

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Photo 2 After: Repainted and retrofitted into a garden cupboard. Photo by Wendy Diaz, December 7, 2018

The top third of the entertainment center was a detachable unit and my husband attached rollers to the base and that became our new TV stand. The remainder two-thirds of the unit became my garden cupboard for tools and supplies. My husband was skeptical at first because he didn’t want to take up valuable real estate in the garage next to his work bench but after I discarded a damaged bookcase where we kept various tools and fuel etc. he became a believer and now stores these items in a more organized and easily retrievable fashion (Photo 3).

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Photo 3. Interior of garden cupboard with hooks for tools and storage for garden supplies.  Photo by Wendy Diaz, December 7, 2018

My repurposing supplies included paint brushes, one gallon of discarded green paint from a recent kitchen renovation, left over wallpaper from an old bathroom remodel, a few hooks and a $3 piece of board (purchased from the Scrap Exchange in Durham). The board was used to block the large open back in the former TV section of the entertainment center. I left some former electrical chord holes in the back for ventilation and I repainted and reused most of the shelves. After two weeks of painting whenever I was free for a couple of hours (total of about 8 hours), I was able to store most of my garden items (with the exception of my long-handled tools) as well flower pots and the spreader on the wide top which freed up more floor space in the garage. The shelves were covered with burlap coffee bean bags to prevent scratching of the paint and I even have a small shelf for repotting small pots (Photo 4).

Now everything has a place and I have almost a place for everything! It also feels pretty good that I am helping nature, if just but a little, by not taking the old furniture to the dump.

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Photo 4 Potting shelf in garden cupboard. Photo by Wendy Diaz, December 7, 2018

 

Learn With Us, week of April 14

Is It Warm in Here? New Approaches to Gardening in a Changing Climate – Durham Garden Forum
Tuesday, April 16 from 7:00 – 8:30 PM in the Doris Duke Center, Sarah P. Duke Gardens. There is no charge for parking.
Our topic this month “Is It Warm In Here? New Approaches to Gardening in a Changing Climate” will be presented by Bryce Lane, NC State Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor Emeritus. Is Global Warming Real? Are we poised to take advantage of this phenomenon as horticulturists? We will talk about the effects of changing climate on horticulture, and identify new practices and approaches to consider using in the future.
Annual membership fee remains $25.00 per person. Program entrance fee for non members remains $10.00. Students will be admitted free of charge with a valid student ID.

TOMATOES 
Saturday, April 20⋅10:00 – 11:00am
For Garden’s Sake
9197 NC-751, Durham, NC 27713, USA

TOMATOES are the number one planting choice for home vegetable gardeners. Learn more about the care and feeding of these popular fruits (yes, they are). The presenter will review some of the many varieties available (including heirloom and hybrids); pests and diseases; soil, sun and water requirements; companion plants and some good references for gardening in general and tomatoes in particular.

Free/Registration required
To register, email ann@fgsnursery.com or call 919-484-9759

 

Learn With Us, week of April 7

Painless Perennials
Sunday, April 73:00 – 4:00pm
4505 S Alston Ave, Durham, NC 27713, USA
Painless Perennials will keep you in bloom year around both shade and sun. We will guide you through the year with continuous color.
Classes are free. Registration is required. Register online at the Durham County Library website durhamcountylibrary.org. Click on “Events” to find the full calendar of events. Go to the date of the class and sign up. You can also call the Information Desk at South Regional Library to register: 919-560-7410.
Vegetable Gardening 101
Sunday, April 73:00 – 4:00pm
211 Lick Creek Ln, Durham, NC 27703, USA

Robin Barth, EMGV
Discussion will be on soil preparation, kinds of vegetables and when to plant. Registration is required. Register online at the Durham County Library website durhamcountylibrary.org. Click on “Events” to find the full calendar of events. Go to the date of the class and sign up.
You can also call the Information Desk at East Regional Library to register: 919-560-0208.

 

TOMATOES & OKRA – Durham Garden Center
Saturday, April 1310:00 – 11:00am
Durham Garden Center 4536 Hillsborough Rd, Durham.
Growing TOMATOES & OKRA are southern traditions. Learn how to grow these two staples of the southern garden and use them in your kitchen. This seminar will include research-based advice on varieties for our region; soil, sun, water and nutrient requirements; pests & diseases; when to harvest and perhaps even some recipes.
 Free/Registration required Contact: 919-384-7526 or http://www.durhamgardencenternc.com Sign up at the store, online or by phone. Include the seminar title and full name(s) of persons attending

Learn With Us, week of March 24

Gardening for Newcomers
Sunday, March 24, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
4505 S Alston Ave, Durham, NC 27713, USA

Learn With Us, week of March 16

Mar. 16, 2019 – SPRING VEGETABLES – For Garden’s Sake Nursery – 10-11 am 
For Garden’s Sake Nursery – 9197 NC-751, Durham
SPRING VEGETABLES offers up-to-date information about choosing a garden site, soil testing and amendments, planting guides to include area specific varieties and general care and feeding of a successful vegetable garden. Topics covered will include local frost dates, the benefits of containers or raised beds, critter control, encouraging pollinators, disease management and others. Whether you are new to gardening, new to Durham gardening, or re-starting a garden – this is the information you can use to succeed.

Free/Registration required
To register, email ann@fgsnursery.com or call 919-484-9759

Mar. 17 th – First Season Gardening by Charles Murphy
3:00 to 4:00 pm
South Regional Library, 4505 S. Alston Avenue, Durham, North Carolina 27713
We have three distinct gardening seasons in our area, with the first beginning in late Feb.-early Mar. This is the time to plant garden peas, radishes, leafy greens and the like, so they will be harvestable by the time for second season plantings (the summer vegetable season).

Classes are free. Registration is required. Register online at the Durham County Library website durhamcountylibrary.org. Click on “Events” to find the full calendar of events. Go to the date of the class and sign up. You can also call the Information Desk at South Regional Library to register: 919-560-7410.

New Plant Picks – Durham Garden Forum
Tuesday, March 19⋅7:00 – 8:30pm
Duke Gardens
420 Anderson St, Durham, NC 27708, USA
Jason is walking horticulture encyclopedia and plant enthusiast. He always seems to have the latest info on new introductions and plants we should use more frequently. Join us to hear about new selections for your garden!
Presented by: Jason Holmes, curator of the Doris Duke Center Gardens, Duke Gardens

Lecture Fee: Forum Members Free with $25.00 Annual Membership
$10.00 fee per class for Non-Members, payable to Durham Garden Forum
No pre-registration necessary. Free parking after 5:00 pm