Cooperative Living April 2024 - 21

GREEN THUMB
Going to Ground in a Good Way
Household items that can be repurposed in a garden
by George Weigel, Contributing Writer
G
ardening can give a second
life to all sorts of household
junk, er, " resources. " Here
are 20 re-tooling possibilities:
1 Old shoes, baskets, backpacks,
pocketbooks, etc. Just about any
worn-out item that'll hold soil can
morph into a plant container. Just
be sure it has drainage holes.
2 Vinyl blinds, plastic detergent
bottles. Cut into strips with a point at
one end and use as plant labels. Use a
china marker or wax pencil for writing.
3 Old nylons. Cut them into strips
to make soft ties for tomato plants, for
staking new trees, or for securing any
tall, floppy vine or plant to a support.
4 Old shirts. Besides transforming
into rags, these can be cut into strips
and also used as soft plant ties.
5 Dishes, glassware, vases,
ceramics. Old, one-off, and even
cracked dishes and such can be crafted
into garden ornaments.
6 Kitchen scraps. Banana
and vegetable peels, eggshells,
coffee grounds, salad remnants,
and other organic food waste
make ideal " fuel " for the
compost pile, along with yard
waste such as leaves, spent
plants and grass clippings.
7 Newspaper, junk mail,
office paper. All can be shredded
and added to the compost pile.
8 Old carpet. Cut it into
strips and lay on the ground as a
weed-preventing mulch between
rows in the vegetable garden.
9 Empty milk jugs. Wash and
reuse as plant protectors over young
veggie-garden plants on cold nights.
Or use the cut-off bottoms as seedstarting
containers.
10 Plastic soda bottles. Cut a
vertical slit and wrap the bottles around
young trees, shrubs and vines to protect
them against rodent chewing.
11 Margarine tubs, yogurt cups,
egg cartons. Poke holes in the bottom
and use as seed-starting containers.
12 Foam meat trays. These make
excellent water-catching trays for
homemade seed-starting containers
or for growing seedlings in cell packs
that you've cleaned and recycled from
previous plant purchases.
13 Plastic wrap. After food-bowl
duty, save a few sheets to drape over
seed-starting trays. It traps moisture
like a mini-greenhouse.
14 Window cleaner spray bottles.
Rinse them well and use to mist seed
trays or tip cuttings. Or use them for
spraying animal repellents.
Top: Vinyl blinds can be cut into pointed
strips to become free plant labels.
Bottom: Pieces of fabric can be cut into
strips and used as soft plant ties.
co-opliving.com
This garden ornament has been crafted
out of a recycled dish and glass items.
15 Mayo jars. Cleaned well,
these make ideal storage containers
for saved seeds in the refrigerator.
16 Aluminum foil, cardboard
tubes from toilet-paper and
paper-towel rolls. Wrap around the
base of squash-family plants to keep
squash-vine borers from laying eggs
at the base of plants.
17 Used sandpaper. Staple
strips of it to the tops of raised-bed
boards or other wooden-bed edging
to repel slugs, which detest crawling
over scratchy surfaces.
18 Old mailbox. Relocate it
to the garden, where it can become
a repository for markers, labels, string,
and all of those other little things you
forget from the garage.
19 Old broomstick, leftover
PVC pipe. Make your own watering
wand for reaching hanging baskets
and window boxes by using metal
hose clamps to secure your garden
hose to them.
20 Dehumidifier water. Save
on the water bill by using water from
dehumidifiers on houseplants or
outdoor potted plants.
*
George Weigel is an author and a retired
horticulturist who specializes in garden
design for homeowners.
April 2024 * Cooperative Living * 19
http://www.co-opliving.com

Cooperative Living April 2024

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Cooperative Living April 2024

Cooperative Living April 2024 - 1
Cooperative Living April 2024 - 2
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