By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter
The other day, I was coming across campus when a gust of wind hit my umbrella.
It took all my strength to hang on to this umbrella but when I looked up I noticed that my umbrella was inside out and I was getting wet.
Well, I still needed my broken umbrella and decided to hold on to it.
After my classes were over and I got home, I thought about my umbrella. While I knew I could not repair it, I just could not throw it away without considering a re-purposing or reusing project. The more I looked at the metal skeleton the more I considered alternative uses.
First, I thought of hanging it upside down and using it as a clothesline for light-weight objects. But I really did not like that idea. Another consideration I had was turning the spent umbrella into a plant drying station.
While this was a great idea, I wanted something more unique. Something that had a distinctive flavor and this is when I decided on a trellis.
While this will be a short trellis and not one designed to support things such as tomatoes, it still can serve a purpose in the garden. To begin this process, one must first remove the cloth covering the umbrella. Once that is done, the next step is to decide where you want to set up your trellis.
I decided to set mine up in the middle of my vegetable garden where I planned to plant cool-season or Cole crops. In this project, I decided to grow hulling peas and sugar snaps. To prepare the trellis, I simply opened up the umbrella and pushed the handle down into the ground.
From here, I arranged the spines of the umbrella along the ground. Where each spine touched the ground I planted a pea seed as I planted around the umbrella I decided on another project utilizing this trellis. This project was to sow a low-growing companion plant underneath the umbrella. The plant I picked was spinach. To complete this project, I had to leave part of the umbrella unplanted with peas. This simple space gave me room to sow my spinach seeds.
As the weather warmed, my little peas germinated and my spinach sprung to life. The pea’s vines gently wrapped around the wire skeleton of the old umbrella like embracing an old friend while the spinach was as happy as a lark in the shade created by the peas. What a wonderful and delicious combination growing up an old, torn-up umbrella.
While I saved a little umbrella from the dump for the time being, the experiment of thinking before disposing paid off in the end. I now have a unique conversation piece on my little piece of earth I call my paradise. So until we blog again, when the day gives you lemons turned inside out look at the bright side and think of the opportunities you now have to explore and play with.