Raid Your Recycling Bin for Reuse in the Garden

Starting seeds indoors is one of the areas where gardeners can easily save money. Avoid buying peat pots or plastic flats by reusing common items you probably already have in your home.

  • Plastic produce containers, egg cartons, and the like: Seedlings don’t need a glamorous first home. Save greenbucks by sprouting multiple seeds in reused produce containers. Another benefit: containers with lids will keep more moisture in, which is important for sprouting seeds. Be sure to open the lids when the seedlings are established and need more air and growing room! Cherry tomato and fruit containers are great, and have drainage slots built right in — drill a series of small holes in containers that do not.
  • Newspaper: For starting seedlings, plantable pots will add nutrients to your garden and minimize root disturbance. You can buy all sorts of these, but there is an easy and inexpensive alternative. Fold single sheets of newspaper into small flower pots using an origami method that has worked for me. The newspaper pots are surprisingly sturdy, even when exposed to water repeatedly. Once your seedlings are ready for larger containers, simple plant them, newspaper and all. The paper will soon break down in the soil, and I’m convinced that certain seedlings like beans and squash grow better in this permeable pot than a plastic one.
  • Laundry detergent container: During hot summers, try catching rainwater and saving it for dry days – you might even find that you won’t need to use any water from the tap for you container plants. Rinse out a large detergent container economically beforehand by pouring a half-cup or so of white vinegar into it, and setting it in the shower.

One Response to “Raid Your Recycling Bin for Reuse in the Garden”

  1. Verna Cannington

    Very informative article.

    This is kind of irrelevant, but what is your favorite soil conditioning fertilizer? I’ve tried Bio-Magic on my vegetable garden, but I don’t like the results. Anyone have suggestions?

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