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Think Reuse Before Recycle, Artist Proposes, for Practical and Whimsical Garden Objects

Six more garden-related workshops to come.

Do you have an old, rickety bed headboard and footboard that you’re thinking of throwing away? Or recycling?

Ken Elwell and Amy Hirschfeld of Soluna Garden Farm have a more creative idea. Reuse them. Move the headboard, footboard and even bed side rails out into the garden. Paint them with leftover house and trim paint. Plant a quilt of flowers within the perimeter.  Voila:  a real garden bed.

People often think of recycling first, Hirschfeld told an audience at Spence Farm at a workshop on “Reused and Recycled Objects for the Yard and Garden.”

Instead, “Keep your eyes and mind open to what could be, said Elwell, an artist. Looking up into the sky, one of the clouds could be a dragon, he said, or a rocket ship.

Elwell showed an audience of about a dozen people other reuse ideas for items ranging from soda and pet food cans (flowers), egg cartons (seed starters), wood pallets (compost bin) and a bowling ball (gazing ball) to metal crib mattress supports (A-frame trellis).

Elwell and Hirschfeld are presenting a series of seven free workshops and demonstrations at Spence Farm this year. Hirschfeld will lead the demonstration and tasting of

“Pesto, Sauces and Condiments from Fresh Herbs” this coming Sunday at 11 a.m.

They will host

“Composting Basics” on Aug. 12 at 2:30 p.m.;

 “Pickle Making” on Sept. 9 at 11 a.m.;

 “Preserving the Summer Harvest” on Sept. 12 from 6:30 to 8 p.m.;

“Root Cellaring without a Root Cellar” on Oct. 14 at 2 p.m.; and

“Eat Local for the Holidays,” using local produce, at a date and location to be announced.

The reuse program last Sunday was the first in the series.

At the garden art session, Elwell pointed to the shape and color of soda cans:  perfect, he said, for cutting aluminum “flowers.” An upside-down soda bottle can become a watering tool, with a small hole punctured in the top.

A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, in the industrial design program and a metal worker, Elwell works with an artist who makes musical sculptures, including the one at the Kendall Square T station.

He has made more elaborate reuse works. One is a pink propane tank pig, with wings.  While most of his ideas require no special knowledge or equipment, the pig requires welding experience, he said. Not just anyone should open a propane tank, he told Patch after the presentation.

His cow jumping over the moon was shown at a League of New Hampshire Craftsmen’s show.  The cow is a former carbon dioxide canister.

Hirschfeld started to sell spice and tea blends at the farmers’ market last year. She grows fresh herbs and flowers.  Her father used to garden on a plot of land in Winchester, she told Patch after the workshop.  She bought a house adjacent to that garden and tills that soil.

The Woburn Agricultural Commission leases Soluna Farm an acre of land to cultivate, according to commission Chairman Paul Medeiros, in exchange for their workshops at Spence Farm. Excess produce will go to the local food pantry, Hirschfeld said.

Pat Ryan of Woburn and her sister, Kathy Harkins of Reading came to Spence Farm for the first time for the reuse and recycle program. After the program, Ryan described Elwell as “clever, creative and innovative.

“He’s so right,” she said of Elwell’s philosophy. “Think reuse before recycle.”

Frank Kautz July 30, 2012 at 01:25 PM
Hi, Is there any way to contact these folks directly? I won't be able to make it to the Farmer's Market for many weeks. Frank
Amy Hirschfeld July 31, 2012 at 08:36 PM
You can contact use using the contact link on our website. http://solunagardenfarm.com/contactus.html Thanks! Amy

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