Our garden is filled with paths that make it easy to see where to walk — and where you're not supposed to walk. But somehow folks often seem drawn to spots that are fragile and can't take too much foot traffic. So, a few years ago, I bought some bamboo hoops as a way to mark off those areas where we didn't want garden visitors to go. It was an attractive deterrent, but too expensive a method to use throughout the garden.
Luckily I later had an "ah-ha" moment that's provided a long term solution at no cost — well, nothing we had to go out and buy. One winter day while Mark was cleaning up all the apple prunings, I realized they were very similar in size to the bamboo hoops as well as having a nice reddish color. Why couldn't we recycle the trimmings and turn them into our own edging material?
Mark agreed that my idea had merit, but we needed a way to shape them into half-circles. So he built a simple device (above) to mold the whips into shape while they're fresh and pliable. The board filled with the hoops is always next to the garage where we keep materials for ongoing projects.When the apple hoops have dried into shape, we trim the ends to make them pointed and sharp. Then we just stick them into the ground as needed, overlapping the half-circles as we go. They are easy to use and visually unobtrusive during the growing season.