Posted on 07 March 2013 by

3 Ways to Repurporse Your Old Aquarium in Your Urban Garden

Photo Credit: Bonny Kellswater by This Year's Love used under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Photo Credit: Bonny Kellswater by This Year’s Love used under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

The other day, I was walking down the road and saw several aquariums sitting in the trash.

All three had some slight imperfections that prevented them from holding fish.

While their primary purpose was ruined, they still had a lot of usefulness left.

So I rescued these little glass boxes and took them home.

As I walked home, I wondered what I was going to do with three slightly imperfect aquariums.

Once I got these aquariums home, I discovered that they had many uses in the urban garden. Below is a list of the ways I repurposed these aquariums.

1. Aquarium Cloche. I love to get my garden in as soon as possible but the frost in my area can put a damper on my plants. To prevent frost damage and/or to start seeds early in the ground, I use a cloche. I have made ones out of plastic milk jugs, 2-liter bottles and even plastic produce containers. While these work great, I am always worried about plastic contamination. A glass aquarium eliminates this problem. Also, the area that can be covered is larger then using individual cloches for individual plants. When the sun comes up, I simply vent the aquarium by laying it on its side and return it to an upright position in the evening.

2. Aquarium windowsill garden. A small aquarium that fits on a windowsill can be converted into a windowsill garden for lettuces and herbs. To do this, just place gravel in the bottom of the aquarium. This will be the drainage material that will help drain away any excess water. Top the drainage layer with 4 to 6 inches of an all-purpose potting soil. Once this is done, plant your seed. You can place a piece of glass or the aquarium to speed up seed germination or just leave the top open. Either way the seeds should germinate in 7 to 14 days.

3. Aquarium birdfeeder. An aquarium can be turned into a birdfeeder that is simply placed in the garden. This simple act can not only provide a sheltered area by which birds can feed but can also create a welcome mat to your garden space. This welcome mat can be one more organic technique that one can use to control insect pests. To turn an aquarium into a birdfeed is easy and requires no special tools. Simply lay the aquarium on its side and fill with birdseed. The birds will enter the aquarium and feast on the bounty placed before them.

The old saying, “ Another man’s trash is another man’s treasure” is so true. So save an aquarium from the manmade terra firma and give one of the repurposed ideas a try. Until we blog again, never forget the three R’s when one is gardening for a better future.

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