Sunday, February 26, 2012

Recycling for the Garden

For many of you, getting started with gardening might seem like a daunting task.  Starting to make lists of items you'll need to begin a garden, you'll notice how quickly the supplies can add up!  I try to do my best to reuse items whenever possible to save money and to not waste.  Here are some tips on what to save and how to use those items.  In the photo above there are a few things I have recycled specifically for the garden.  The long white plastic "tray" is really the shelf of an inexpensive set of white plastic utility shelving units.  The black item is the leftover package from some flowers that were bought at the greenhouse.  The plastic bottle is a syrup bottle that has been washed out.  Now how do you use these things?  Well the shelf I use as a "seed starter tray"....simply turn it upside down and you can put your containers of seedlings in it, when you water them there are no leaks!  The leftover flower package I have tons of these and I use them until they fall apart.  I use them to start seeds in.  Any plastic squeeze bottles can be used as "seedling waterers".  When you first start your seedlings, it can be difficult to water them without uprooting the whole seed.  I use plastic bottles or spray bottles to water.  You can save ketchup, mustard, or syrup bottles for this purpose.

Here is a longer list of items that can be reused for the garden.  Most of these things people either have lying around the house, basement or garage.  If you don't, you can get most of them free from neighbors or relatives.  Some things like the shelves can be bought at garage sales.

1. Styrofoam coffee cups, or instant noodle cups -  Use them to plant larger seedlings that have outgrown the flower containers.

2. Plastic or wooden kitchen utensils- Use these as row markers in your garden.  Get spoons or spatulas so that you can write on them with marker what you've planted in the row.  Just write on them and put them in the ground at the end of your row! Your garden will look interesting with these as row markers! You can get these sometimes 3 for 5 cents at garage sales.

3. Clear plastic cookie, cake or pie containers.-  These can also be used to start seeds in.

4. Plastic information tags from flower packs-  These are those little spiked tags that have the information about the flowers you're buying. Most of them have a blank side.  When they do I save them to mark my seedlings or seeds I've started.

5. 2 Liter Soda bottles- If you cut these in half they're great to use as a funnel!  I use one all the time for my bird feeders!

6. Gallon milk containers -  If you cut these in half, the bottom can be used to plant seeds in and the top can be placed loosely over your seedlings.  Leave the cap off and it will be like a greenhouse for your plants!  OR if you already have plants in the garden just use the top half of the container to cover your plants if the weather gets cold!

There are COUNTLESS ways to recycle items for garden use, these are just a few.  So you can feel free to be creative and you can get started for almost no money!  Good Luck!

UPDATE:  The Fuji Apple seeds have not yet sprouted.  I will keep them going for another week or so and if they do not sprout I will stop this experiment and move onto getting grafted fruit tree saplings.

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