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Readers Respond: Tips for Recycling in the Garden

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Use for Any Old Blender

For years now I have blended up all my kitchen scraps into liquid gold. I keep a bucket on the counter till it is full or so and then blend it all and out it goes in another trench in my raised beds. It composts really fast doing this. Garage sales always have another blender for you cheap. I always have an extra one on the shelf is one shoots craps. Think it was a tip from Jerry Baker years ago.
—Guest judy bicknell

Winter Composting

In winter when I am unable to directly add to my frozen composter, I use those large 5 gal plastic cat litter containers, fill them w/household peelings, egg shells, etc. When filled store them in a corner of the garage till I can add them in Spring. Containers are 'borrowed' from neighbors recycle bins and no wasted compostable materials in winter.
—Guest lee

Pantyhose Plant Ties

I cut up old panty hose that I cut into strips! They are gentle on the tomato branches hanging over the tomato cage to keep them off the ground! Also tie pie tins in areas where birds are attracted to fruit, helps keep them out of the fruit so I get a little more than the birds do!
—Guest missgee

Fruit Peels, Vegetable and Weeds

I dig 1.5 X 2 X2 feet pits fill these with veggie waste including fruit peels and weeds. When the pit gets filled, it is covered by the extracted soil to make a raised bed for vegetable
—Guest ARWadoo

Paper Mulch

Where I work we get a lot of boxes with paper packing material in them, so I use it as a mulch.
—Guest annette

Wooden Camping Stool Frames Trellises

As I find wooden camp stools with fabric seats, generally rotting away, I remove the fabric, open the frames and center them over taller plants as trellising supports.
—Guest Rick, of Albert Lea, MN

Lighter Hanging Baskets

Fill the bottom of hanging baskets with plastic bags tied into knots. Stuff the bottom of the hanging baskets with the bags, then add dirt. It makes planters a little lighter to hang up. Would work with any kind of large container
—Guest joanie

Use of Old Pillars

When we broke down our old house building, we used the sculpted pillars to make 2 arches, a 4' high pedestal and 4 garden seats. Every time we go into the garden, we remember how the verandah of the old house looked with the imposing pillars.
—Guest Ginny

Recycle Ornamental Grasses

In February, our clumps of tall ornamental grasses are cut down. We wrap a bungee cord around their waist and use a chain saw horizontally, a few inches above ground level, to make this uncomfortable job easier. Then we run these dried stalks through the chipper, yielding a lovely-textured, chipped straw. This is applied as mulch in vegetable beds. When the growing season ends, the straw mulch is raked off and goes into the compost bin as a layer of "carbon", recycling the grasses a second time. I like this strategy so much I am just on the verge of asking my neighbors if I can cut down their grasses, too. :>)
—Guest waking dream

Lawn Mower Cart

I took the motor off of an old rusty non-working push lawn mower and painted it white. I use it to haul heavy things to my garden. When not in use I just set a potted plant on it for decoration, saves space in my shed.
—DarlaSeneff

Recycled Containers

I have recycled old garden boots or wellingtons as containers for growing chives which are thriving beautifully.I have also used the circular metal covers of the house fan as planters.
—Guest inese lewis

Padded kneeler

My husband threw out a padded long gun case that had a broken zipper. His trash=my treasure! I rescued it and use it as a kneeler in the garden. It is long so I don't have to keep getting up and repositioning it as I move along a row of flowers or work area. Cushy deal!
—Guest love2g8

Plastic Bag Encore Performance

Any plastic bag that comes into our household must earn its keep with multiple uses. Our favorite routine is usage #1 for food storage, usage #2 as a kitchen-scrap collector on the way to the compost pile and usage #3 is for picking up after the dog. With this hierarchy, there is no water wasted for rinsing bags between steps 1 and 2 or 2 and 3 - it's not needed. A plastic bag that can "take a licking and keep on ticking" maximizes its value and keeps extra plastic out of landfills. Of course ideally, there would be zero plastic bags going to the landfill and I'm working on it!! Until I get there, I am using each bag in three different ways before it is tossed.
—Guest waking dream

Small Size Composting

I use a 16 oz whipped topping container as a kitchen composting collection container. After using the topping I washed it out & dried the outside, then I applied vinyl contact paper that matches my counter top so it blends in with the color scheme of my kitchen. I put all my kitchen waste in it (eggshells crushed, lemon peels, veg. peels, etc.) I keep it tightly closed with the lid & empty it in my flower beds & garden then mix it in the soil. It has worked great so far.
—Guest Cathy

See Thru Compost Container

Wrap Tomato Cages with chicken wire, secure with Bread Bag Ties (recycled). Monitor condition of your compost as you go.
—Guest Sandra Cerda

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Tips for Recycling in the Garden

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