Shells, Sand & Gardens


September 13th, 2011
NY Museum of Nat'l Science

Crustacean Exhibit @ NY Museum of Nat’l Science

Grains of sand are as numerous as the stars in the firmament so it would would be a fruitless task to assess the source from which each grain was ground over the eons.  Their origins could be from  stone, bone, shell or sea detritus worn down by time.

We do know that sand is wonderful for many gardens as both a soil amendment and landscaping aid or element.

Being an inveterate recycler and composter, I was considering the possibilities for shells of the beer-steamed mussels we had just finished enjoying. I had considered offering them on Freecycle to a crafter that might have a creative idea but decided to try to take responsibility for our trash on my own property.

Always starved for inexpensive path and working area materials I’ve added them to the chunky stones and brick where I keep my planting supplies. As they get crunched to pieces, dust flys in and fall leaves crumble between the stones, new dirt is forming. Next year I can pick up the stones and gather that soil from the weed barrier to add to my compost.

Another form of sand is in those little silica packets that come in many electronics. While still sand, we have no idea where they come from or what they have been exposed to. I toss these in my stone pathway but Laura of “Make Life Lovely” has many other great ideas, so check them out!


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