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Readers Respond: Tips for Recycling in the Garden

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Old Buckets for Growing Potatoes

Buckets with cracks and holes can be re-used by punching holes in the bottom, paint sides, put a few stones in the bottom for drainage, half fill with soil+compost, place old potatoes in and just cover. As potatoes grow, add more soil mix until bucket is full. After potatoes have flowered and died off, empty bucket and you have some new potatoes for your kitchen.
—Guest Penny

Tin Cans and Other Containers

Instead of throwing them away,put soil inside and grow individual plants and they can be moved around to your liking where ever there's space.
—Guest Steve's Breeze

Recycle Nut

I raise several thousand seedlings each year, some in a jalapeno pepper selection trial. By usiing matching plastic cups from parties/church dinners, etc I don't have to put labels on each one. (If it is in a red Dixie cup it is JPT #16, etc.) Because the sixth grade sends gardeners the one block walk to my huge garden I put reject carpet on all my paths, between beds. After a year or two in the garden it is replaced by more discards, goes to the landfill, where it finishes decomposing quickly, & keeps feet clean, paths moist & weed-free, keeps sudents from walking on seedlings & serves in directions "Seed the beans in the furrows along the blue carpet". Any yard owner is welcome to leave bags of leaves in our driveways for the student compost piles, saving the 6 mile round trip & dump fee for the donors. (& increasing the town's interest in the school children's work. Best of all, the four 12 yard dump truck loads of aucton ring manure used this year in our organic garden!
—Guest Ann Carter

Egg Shells

I toast egg shells in a frying fan so that they could be powderized when pounded. After pulverizing, I soak them in water. After 3 days, I used the water to treat blossom rot on my tomato plants. It is very effective.
—Guest Eduardo Macose

Old Toothbrush

I used old toothbrush to remove scale insects on my coffee. I do it once a week until all the insects were gone.
—Guest Eduardo Macose

Tree Leaves

Leaves have many uses. The place where I live has 100++ temperatures throughout the year. I compost all the leaves. After watering , I also use leaves to cover the earthy surface, so that water does not evaporate. Double use for leaves. I use discarded paper, coconut fibre, coconut husk, onion skin and peels, garlic peels, turmeric powder, etc. as compost and herbal insecticide. I use disposable cups, bowls to germinate. Mine is a very very tiny garden!!. I have got guava, pomegranate saplings from discarded seeds
—Guest pras

Egg Shells- More than Just Compost

When I am planting new seeds, I make an egg dish and save the egg shell halves and plant seeds in them. Free biodegradable germination cups!!!
—Guest macy

Reusing Old Bird Netting

When I bought new bird netting for my raspberry crop, I cut smaller pieces from the old netting and placed it over trays of seedlings hardening off outside. This prevents birds from pecking at seedlings or stealing damp soil for nesting mortar (a big problem here with Robins). Netting allows sun, rain and breezes to permeate. Larger pieces of used bird netting were wrapped around the trunk of my dogwood tree, also known as the “Squirrel Highway”. Netting was secured with twine interwoven and tied loosely. Incoming squirrels in the top of the dogwood set to steal birdseed/suet or freshly planted peas refuse to cross this barrier as they descend the tree trunk. Squirrels entering over the fence-line refuse to run up this tree to escape as my faithful guard dog, Jasmine, chases them. They come less often because there is no clear escape route. The “ruffle” of bird netting has been an effective squirrel baffle in both directions.
—Guest Waking Dream

Recycling Chairs

I had 4 old rattan chairs that were very old.The last 2 yrs. I I have used them for outside sitting and then gave 2 away. The ladies I gave them to, along with myself are using them as planters.We removed the seats and then put chicken wire there. Stabilized the wire, put in coconut liners , soil, then anything you like to plant.
—Guest Judith

A Perfect Dish Garden

I lined a no longer used television satellite dish (the large ones people use to have) with landscape cloth, filled it with dirt and planted herbs - in the center I put a gazing globe. It's a very attractive, perfectly round, "dish" garden!

Recycling Fencing

If you have a plastic fence around your property & sometimes have to cut it to fit, use the left over parts to put around smaller plants for support as they grow. If using Caps,turn upside down, insert side holes for twine & create bird feeders.

Cooling my Greenhouse

Our 100 degree summers make greenhouse growing difficult without air conditioning.I recycled old side panal from evaporative coolers and stacked them to fill a wall in my greenhouse.Ran a water line at the top and used recycled rain gutters as a trough to hold water added a air conditioner float and water,Put a recycled whole house fan at oppisite end of greenhouse and have a very efficient cooling for my greenhouse.

Rickety Old Shelves/Reused as Raised Bed

In an attempt to recycle everything possible I reused my rickety old metal shelves. Took the shelves out of the center and put them on the side and like magic I had a frame for planting in my raised bed garden.

Reuse Old Blankets to Keep Plants Warm

During cold snaps I reuse old blankets to wrap around tender plants. I also save old shower curtain liners to use as an additional layer of waterproofing and insulation. After the cold passes I just throw everything in the laundry and it is ready for the next time the cold hits.
—Guest Juley

Mini Blind Plant Marker

After a remodel, I repurpose old mini blinds for plant markers. [Note from Marie: Cut them to length at an angle "/", so you have a pointed end to poke in the soil.]
—Guest Juley

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Tips for Recycling in the Garden

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