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5 Household objects to recycle for the garden

5 Household objects to recycle for the garden

Using household objects that would otherwise be thrown away for gardening purposes not only helps reduce waste, but also reduces the burden on a gardener’s wallet. Here are five everyday items that can be recycled for the garden…

Cardboard tubes

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The cardboard tubes at the centre of kitchen and toilet rolls make excellent pots for sowing seeds. Simply cut them to the desired length, fill with your usual sowing compost and place on a drip tray and you’re ready to begin.

The cardboard will be sturdy enough while the seed germinates and the young seedling gathers strength, but as it’s biodegradable you can then transplant the lot when it’s time to move the plant to its permanent home.

This makes it particularly advantageous for plants that don’t like their young root systems disturbed, such as parsnips.

 

Plastic food trays

Place your seed pots (or cardboard tubes) in thoroughly cleaned plastic food trays and you can water without worrying about soaking the windowsill.

Deeper trays can be used to sow seeds into—remembering to put drainage holes in the bottom first. And if you’ve got a favourite ready-meal that comes in deep, clear plastic trays, then save two of them and you can use one as the drip tray and another as a lid, creating a cosy little propagating environment for any seedlings that crave some extra warmth.

 

Yoghurt pots

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Plastic pots used for yoghurt, cream, margarine or soup can be recycled as seeds pots, providing you put drainage holes in the base first.

Some of the thicker white pots can also be cut into strips and used as plant labels. Or sow some carrot seeds in a carrot soup pot and you can do away with the need for labels.

 

Plastic bottles

If you want mini-cloches for individual plants in the garden, simply cut a clear plastic bottle in half and you’ve instantly got a pair for free.

Plastic bottles can also be used as watering aids: carefully remove the base of the bottle and sink the top end into the soil, pointing it towards the plant’s roots—you can then fill the open base with water to get it to the right place (particularly useful for thirsty veg like courgettes).

Alternatively, for slower watering when on holiday, put a few holes in the lid of a bottle, fill it with water, and re-fit the lid. Stick the lid end into the soil next to the plant and the water will slowly seep into the soil as it dries.

 

Bubble wrap

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To help give outdoor plants a warm boost the weeks leading up to spring, or to protect mature plants over winter, gardener’s fleece is a useful item to have. But it’s expensive. So recycle bubble wrap instead.

Simply cover the plants, bubble side down, and peg them into the ground or tie around pots. Bubble wrap is also useful to spread out over cold soil, allowing it to warm up before the sowing season begins.