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Readers Respond: Tips for Recycling in the Garden

Responses: 233

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Venetian Blind Markers

I cut up old venetian blinds that no longer work. I cut the lengths I need for markers, trim one end to a point, write on the marker and have recycled and spent no money for row/plant markers
—desertdreamercaca

Lasagna Gardening with Newspaper

On diy network they showed how they made what they called a "lasagna garden" at the blog cabin. They started with a heavy piece of cardboard laid right on top of the grass on the ground they simply layered manure, straw or leaves, and newspaper and made several layers like that. They said they let it set about 6 months and it is ready to plant in. An excellent way to recycle newspapers.
—nanaluvsflwrs

Roof Shingle Trim Rings

Around my planting frames (8X8 railroad ties) I tuck black or dark gray 3 foot long surplus roofing shingles and leave about 6-8 inches sticking out as a trim ring. I run my mower over these when mowing and it eliminates any string trimmer work.
—Guest Dennis Zembower

Quick Composted Leaves

A quick way to "compost" all the autumn leaves we get is to bag them, poke a few small holes in the bags for ventilation and moisture, then put them behind the garage or in a corner of the yard (in the sun, preferably) and let them compost in the bags. Black bags are best because black gets warmer than lighter colors, and this speeds the process. Turn them and shake 'em up occasionally, too, and in a few months the leaves will be well broken down and ready to put on your garden beds or spread on the lawn. I mow some of my leaves with a mulching blade to recycle them into the turf, but use the "leaf compost" on my perennials, shrubs, and in other garden areas. Some master gardeners in my group collect leaves from all over their neighborhood! By the way,lawns that have leaves "mulched in" do as well *or better!* than lawns where the leaves are raked and bagged, then have a fertilizer applied. I much prefer the organic method.
—Guest KCKS_MG

Coffee Grounds

Major bookstores with coffee shops will give large, waterproof bags of grounds.I use these in compost, or sprinkle them around plants. My latest discovery, however, is to cover new white pavers with an inch of wet grounds, Grind them in with my gardening clogs on, and leave them for a week. Instant gratification, as far as a aged look, fills in the spaces between pavers, and can be swept off onto the surrounding garden soil. If the rain washes them off, just replenish with grounds from your next bookstore visit.
—Guest ummirain

Recycling Geraniums

I buy big beautiful geraniums in pots. I give them to friends and family for the winter and then they put them outside or plant them in the spring.
—Guest PENNY KLEIN

Water Bottle Greenhouses

About recycling in the garden. I recycle the plastic water gallons. I use them as small green houses for lettuce and small vegetables. I have used until the beginning of Jan. Also I used old windows like green houses.
—Guest Teresa

Soda Bottle Water Walls

I use empty 3 liter pop bottles filled with water together with mulch around the root zone of my plants to soak up sunlight during the day and emit heat all night in the wintertime.
—Guest pathdoc

Container Plant Overwintering

I live in Zone 7, have about 70 plants in pots (l gallon to 3ft tall) due to lots of tree roots so can't plant. Many hostas, hydrangea, astilbe, heuchera, bulbs, etc. Each late fall, after lst light frost to put in dormancy, I wrap the smaller pots in bubble wrap (from office store) and place in cheap foam coolers with holes punched in bottom to drain. Big pots get wrapped in foam insulation boards, cheap at big box stores, plant parts in bubble wrap stapled close. I group these close together for protection downhill from house, (frost moves downhill), wrap in dark tarp to camouflage coolers. Put foam lids on temporarily if very cold temps due or cover with frost cloth, evergreen's on edges of group for sun. I've done this for over 15 yrs, seldom lose a plant over winter. Takes several hours but lots cheaper than new plants!
—Guest Peggy

Saving plants through winter

I have many plants that will not survive the winter (lantana & tropical butterfly weed), so I dig them up before first frost and "plant" them in a soil-filled kids' plastic pool. This can be kept through the winter in a basement or garage near a window. Water sparingly, so the roots won't dry out. This saves a lot of money.
—JanetBanks

recycle in garden

We had a new football pitch built on our estate so with the offcuts we built a rabbits pen on the grass areas.
—mike52smith

Recycling Paper Products in the Garden

Take all the used paper you usually throw in the garbage i.e.: paper towels, cardboard boxes that dry food comes in, like cereal, rice, cookies, crackers. in a separate bag. These items can be saved for when you plant bushes, trees, or anything in your yard. When you dig your hole for the plant, place the paper pieces in the hole and around the plant. When you fill in the dirt, make sure paper is well watered. They will help hold moisture. Plus, thickly around the plant on the top of the ground (watered well) will help hold out weeds. To make it look nice, use mulch on top. In these hot days, it saves water.
—Guest Phyllis

Tire Pot Garden

I am suggesting that use tire be use in backyard as tire potting garden instead of throwing as one of the solid waste problem. Before potting, any biodegradable material should be put inside as organic nutrient after decomposition. Planting should be done 2-3 weeks after putting decompostable materials.
—Guest Pandao O. Bula

Garden Recycling

We keep a couple of large plastic garbage cans near the garden and all of our kitchen vegetable waste goes in it and it decomposes quite quickly and then gets put back into the garden or the flower beds. Dead garden plants get mowed down and then tilled back into the soil.
—Dayle.Greer

Use Them Boxes

I work at a large Nursing Home. When supplies are emptyed, I bring Home some of the large boxes take off tape and cut them to go around shrubs and trees. It helps with the weed eating chore and breaks down, which helps the soil. And for staff at work it cuts down on the trips to the dumpsters. A two way win.
—mabs21676
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