Marco Bitran: Reusing Things In The Garden

Expert Author Diane Drinkwater

Diane Drinkwater

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Reuse is part of the Three Rs. Reducing, recycling and reusing. They are essential things to bear in mind every day and try to do them all as much as possible.

It’s not just about saving the planet; some of it’s about saving money.

What things can you reuse from the home in the garden?

You can reuse coffee grounds and add them to your compost heap.

You can reuse seeds from fruit and vegetables and trying grow things from them. You can try pepper seeds, fruit seeds such as apples and pears plums and even damsons. You might not grow anything but it’s certainly worth a try for free.

Reuse ash from your wood burning stove for putting on play areas in your garden or in the composting.

Reuse old jars when you come to preserve your crop — either jams or pickles.

Reuse an old toothbrush to clean out the glass edges in your greenhouse.

Once you get into the hands of thinking of new jobs for old items then you’ll stop throwing things away.

Save wooden lolly sticks to use as plant markers.

Save cardboard and reuse it as a weed suppressant in your garden, although covering it with mulch or compost makes it look better.

Reuse old CDs or DVDs as bird scary as by tying them to a piece of string from a stick. The shiny discs moving in the wind act as a deterrent.

Reuse plastic bags are storing seeds.

If you do any DIY around your home and look at all the things that are destined for the bin before you actually throw them out. Builders rubble is good for being a base on a new path, and if you have bricks don’t throw these away as they are always useful.

You can reuse old houseplants to. Some will be good for cuttings and some might just need little tender loving care from you in your greenhouse to nurture them back to health.

You can reuse corks on the ends of garden canes to stop people hurting themselves. You might need to make the hole where the corkscrew went in slightly bigger if you have fat canes.

Waste not want not it’s a good policy to follow.

If you do have things that you definitely want to get rid of them don’t just throw them away. Ask your neighbours if they have any use for them, and if they don’t then try your local free cycle group. You will find that one man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure.

Even things like broken plates can come in useful in the garden. Use them as crock pieces in the bottom of pots to allow better drainage.

Think about the things you throw out. Could they be repaired? If so then is it worth you repairing the item rather than throwing it away and replacing it with something new.

There is a new type of recycling called upcycling. This is when you reuse things to create something with a higher value than the original items. It is applied to art made from recycled items. Whilst I’m not suggesting you build a sculpture out of the old knives and forks you’re throwing away, it is certainly food for thought that everything is wanted by someone or something. You can up-cycle plastic containers into plant pots by decorating them.

If you have deliveries made with pallets, then you might find these poets can be used to build composting. You’ll need four.

Even things in the garden can be reused. When you empty plants from the greenhouse the end of the summer, tip the compost into the composting so that the roots in it can break down and it all can be reused next year.

Save canes that come with pots and store these safely. Save old seed trays and reuse these. You should wash our pots and trays with a disinfectant intended for outdoor use.

Save plastic pots from the kitchen and use them for growing seeds and plants. They will stack to save space.

Save all plastic bottles and these can be used as plant cloches if you cut the bottom off. Use with the lid on when it is cold and onto the lids to allow air into the plant.

Keep coconut shells and use them to put in bird seed mixed with fat in out for the birds.

If you have a new bathroom try to keep the bathtub if you have in your garden for extra water storage or even a carrot bed.

Don’t throw wood away or old furniture, as this can be reused in the garden. Scrap wood can be used for making boxes for plants.

If you ever get Apple boxes from the supermarket then keep these to your own free pickings.

Reuse toilet roll containers and I boxes for growing seeds in. With a little imagination you can use any container for growing plants in, even an old pair of boots.

With a little thought you can quickly find new uses for old things in the garden!

For more garden articles try Bedding Plant Offers where Diane writes in more detail about growing plants for your garden.