Get up and use me

One thing I’ve learnt over the last few years being broke, is to make the most of what you’ve got and to reuse as much as possible. Bob Flowerdew, gardener’s question time panelist and recycler to the max, always comes out with brilliant ideas, reusing something ordinary in an unusual way that’ll benefit his garden, from old fridges as cold frames, knackered radiators as garden paths and thin strips from old venetian blinds as plant labels. Inventive eh?

Being broke shouldn’t stop you gardening, if anything it should inspire you to be more creative with whatever material comes to hand. I compost my garden/kitchen waste, collect autumn leaves and make leaf mould, reuse all plant pots after giving them a good clean and save all my bamboo canes for next years runner beans like everybody else does but here’s a few more ideas:

  • Jam jars: Brilliant as mini-greenhouses for starting off seeds outdoors or giving those just planted seedlings some protection.
  • Plug plant containers: Take out the plants, refill with compost, sow some seeds, water and hey presto more plug plants!
  • Gardening twine/wire: Wrap onto a small bamboo cane rather than throwing away and use again.
  • Long twigs and non thorny prunings: Use as “peas sticks” to support your prize peas!
  • Scratched CD’s, jam jar lids and free DVD’s from the sunday papers: Thread twine through them and hang between bamboo canes to keep birds off your seed beds. 
  • Comfrey and nettle leaves: Make your own plant feed which will save you a fortune!
  • Ice lolly sticks: Great as seed and plant labels.
  • Margarine tubs, yoghurt pots, persil capsules (or similar) plastic tubs: Stick in a few drainage holes for great seed containers.
  • Cardboard egg boxes and cardboard toilet roll holders: Double up the egg boxes for a good seed tray and use the toilet roll holder as a pot for seeds like corn that don’t like their roots being disturbed.
  • Car tyres: A local nursery school has a few on top of each other as planters. They look a lot better than you think.
  • Small metal dustbin: Drill a few large holes around the bottom of the bin for a great mini brazier for your garden or to take camping (thanks Marc for that top tip!).
  • Old biscuit tins: Great for saving your seed packets in, you know I like a box!

The list is endless and the above is only a start. If you have any good recycling ideas post them up here as I love a good gardening tip like anyone else!

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