The upside of being home A LOT lately is finally getting to some of the projects I’ve always meant to do. One success is the garden! The attic, basement, and garage, not so much.

I love growing veggies and herbs, though normally it’s just a few containers as most of my garden is too shady. Don’t get me wrong … I love the shade and the big trees that provide it, especially in this crazy summer heat. But most veggies need more sun and our sunniest spot was blocked by an old and broken hot tub.

Can we talk about the white elephant in the room … that thing that seems like a great idea at the time, but ends up costing way more than it’s worth and try as you might, you can’t get rid of it? Ours was a hot tub. It lay dormant and drained in our backyard for over a decade. We tried fixing it a few times, only to find trouble with the motor and a mystery leak.

There was a small climate conundrum for me too. I couldn’t justify the extra water, electricity or chemicals to treat the water to make the thing run anyway. The cost to remove it was astronomical, and the logistics a bit like the couch in the stairwell on Friends (“pivot! pivot!”). So, what to do? Bring on the Hot Tub Thyme Machine.

We added a layer of river rock for drainage (and the built-in leak became an advantage), then a crazy amount of garden soil, and the transformation was complete. A big thanks to my teenage son for helping fill it as that stuff was heavy! Now the only thing I needed were the plants.

the first layer of river rock goes in
Now the hot tub is growing a produce department

I had been growing some veggies from seed, and then added a few more from the garden centre. Now this baby has tomatoes, cucumbers, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, lettuce, strawberries, cilantro, dill, chives, parsley, sage, and of course, thyme! The rosemary, basil, mint and peas are in nearby containers.

I can’t decide if this is recycling or upcycling, reusing, reducing, repurposing, or all of the above. Now in the thick of the summer, each day brings a new little crop and a lot of joy.

Wanna dig deeper?

Check out our UHN Garden stories:

*For more White Elephants, see Canada’s oilsands, pipelines, or these top ten buildings and projects around the world.