Car accident + totaled truck = best garden ever!

photos: we heart this

In honor of Earth Day, I want to share with you the largest recycling effort that I have ever embarked upon (or, call it upcycling if you will). I will preface this by saying in all honesty, my husband, Derwood, did most of the work. But he doesn’t have a blog, so I get the glory.

In 2007, our 1978 Chevy Cheyenne pick-up truck was hit by a drunk driver (who subsequently went on to slam into two more cars). Because the driver only had limited liability insurance, the $5000 pay out was split between the three parties hit, based on the blue book value of each car. Our portion for our totaled truck, my hubby’s gas guzzling baby? $325.

(Let me touch on the gas aspect for a moment. It gets eight miles a gallon. Yep, I said eight. A smart car it’s not. But we only use it for hauling purposes. And let me tell you, living in the sticks? It’s amazing the amount of things you have to haul! But I digress…)

Seeing as the only damage to this beast of a truck was cosmetic, we set out to get it back on the road again, using only the money we were given. The mission? Find a new truck bed and dispose of the old one.

Sourcing the replacement truck bed went fairly quickly. The worst part of it was the two hours Derwood had to spend sitting in the junkyard that he found it in, while he waited for someone to pick him and the bed up (he actually laid in it and took a nap, so it could have been worse!)

But getting rid of the original was the part we had an issue with. Unlike the bed that Derwood found, this one was mangled. Not terribly so. But enough so that we knew it probably wouldn’t be used again. And the thought of dumping it to a slow rusty death was not pleasant.

So, our truck bed became a flower bed! Well, with the help of 10 large bags of manure it did. And from the twisted metal grows beauty. Over time the flower bed morphed into a vegetable garden, which eventually became the cactus garden that it is today.

Now, I know not everyone is going to have space in their yards for a 3/4 ton truck bed filled with manure (good luck talking your landlord into that). But since it’s Earth Day, I ask you to think about what you’re throwing away. Did you use it all, truly ALL of it? Or is there maybe a second use for it? From things as small as printing on the other side of your copy paper or feeding bread ends to the birds, to bigger things like composting or these artistic re-uses of ordinary things. Be conscious of what you throw away and I bet you become more creative because of it!

Happy Earth Day everyone! Let us know what you do to make a difference (big or small)…

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Written by Stef Andrews

17 Comments

  1. Profile photo of Kellie
    Kellie

    Love the pictures, as always Stef!!

    And what a great idea. I am very inspired. I already try to do my part. But I could do sooooo much better. I am going to investigate some new avenues of conservation for myself and my household.

    Probably the best thing we ever did was years ago changing from bottled water to using a stainless steel reusable. It was so easy! We drink more water than ever. And it so much kinder to the earth!

    I also like to gift 2nd hand books quite a bit. I use paperbackswap, used bookstores, our shelves. I just hate to see these gems just sitting there or worse tossed out.

    I also suggest buying art or jewelery from people who use re-purposed items. They are so clever!! One of my favorites is our Katie at http://www.LemonJitters.etsy.com.

    I am going to get creative and do something new!

  2. Profile photo of tiffany
    tiffany

    Very cool idea Stef. I’ve been thinking of ways I can plant a veggie garden in my backyard. While we don’t have room for a truck bed, a raised bed would work perfectly. Now to think of what I already have that could be used to make it.

    My biggest contribution to saving the Earth is the amount of recycling I do. The city gives out ginormous recycling trash cans that I fill up top each couple of weeks. This thing is a monster. Bigger than my regular trash can. I also use the cloth bags instead of plastic for grocery store visits. I’ve gotten better about buying plastic water bottles and have started quite a collection of cool metal water bottles.

  3. Profile photo of Katie
    Katie

    Awe, thanks for the shout out, Kellie!

    I was just thinking on my drive to work today that I really need to step up my recycling game. I’m just now developing a conscience about my planet, apparently…;)

    I love this idea! It looks really cool.Great post!

  4. Profile photo of Cori
    Cori

    I really wish I could start a garden but I live in the city in a building that has no grass around it. I have thought about getting little pots to put out on my balcony, but not sure how well they would do. Think my love for home grown tomatoes is going to force me to try it out this year.

    @Stef I love your truck bed garden! Very cute.

  5. Profile photo of irene
    irene

    I have seen this VERY cool looking flat bed go thru several seasons of change. Every time we go visit, I find myself just staring at all the cool things growing in there! I wish Stef would do a close up shot, so you can see what’s they have growing in there! It’ so important to reuse everything we have, if possible. It’s not only the right thing to do, in the long run you save yourself a lot of money! Great post Stef!

  6. Profile photo of Stef Andrews
    Stef Andrews

    Thanks for the nice words everyone! I’m pretty proud of this and Earth Day seemed like the perfect day to share.

    To continue with the sharing, Did anyone see Food Inc. on PBS last night or when it came out last year? It’s an Academy Award nominated documentary that everyone needs to see! It’s about all the big business, shady dealings that go on with the corporate food industry. It’s shocking. Obvious things like the horrific conditions animals are kept in at massive factory-farms, which is not only cruel, but leads to all these e-coli health risks we’ve been seeing (they keep the footage to a bare minimum). But also things you don’t even think of, like the fact that the company who produces our nation’s largest supply of Soybean seeds also produced DDT and Agent Orange!

    Honestly, I’ve been kind of indifferent about eating organically/locally grown food. I tried to when I could, but didn’t make it a priority. This movie has absolutely changed that.

    The thing I really liked about it is that it’s all very matter of fact. It’s not sensationalist at all (like say, a Michael Moore movie, which is sometimes even too much for a liberal like myself), it’s just the truth. And it does a great job of showing how the food industry effects EVERYTHING in this country.

    Ok, I’m off my soap box now but see this movie people! And go organic. You’ll live longer, honest.

  7. Profile photo of katezena
    katezena

    What a great idea! Very creative!

    Nope, we don’t have room for something that big. We don’t exactly come from a gardening family either; we come from a family of plant killers. We kill EVERYTHING we try to grow…except bamboo. Bamboo is ,like, the only thing that lives in my house…literally. My bamboo plant is going on three years old. XDDDD

  8. Profile photo of Stef Andrews
    Stef Andrews

    @kellie76 – Oh, I can’t wait till you watch it. You’re going to feel even more passionate. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever had a piece of media make me feel so fired up to make a change in my life. That’s the other good thing about it, it actually shows how can you make a difference. And it doesn’t take a lot (lazy activists like myself, rejoice!)

    And good for you for buying a farm share! Both me and the hub agreed we’re going to the farmer’s market every Sat from now on.

  9. Profile photo of hao9703
    hao9703

    Stef—Your creativity never ceases to amaze me. I believe that gardening is therapeutic for the soul. This is a one of a kind bed. Personally, I have already bought a bunch of garden plants for the summer. I just need it to warm up a bit here in the Pacific NW to plant them. The temps are still too cold at night.

    Cori– You are right homegrown tomatoes are the best!

  10. Profile photo of Amanda
    Amanda

    @Stef – that is so totally cool! I love it! I would love to have a garden as nice as that once I have a house with a yard.

    I plant my own veggies in the summer (I don’t have a yard, but I have a large container garden on my deck) and I try to buy “used” (books, clothes, etc) as often as possible. We all do our parts, right?

  11. Profile photo of irene
    irene

    It’s easier then you think to grow your own garden and one that’s 100% organic. It’s not only fun, it makes your salads and dressings insane! So fresh, and good for you too. Just a little bit of learning and care will bring you amazing harvests! There is something about growing your own!

  12. tiffany paige

    Stef…you are amazing! i love this. cactus are about the only thing i can keep alive. i am truly inspired :) love the double level. you, my friend, are a crafty girl after my own heart!!! love you!

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