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Thread: Bits and Pieces...The reduce/reuse/recycle thread

  1. #9
    Sue is offline Cropper
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Tunbridge Wells, Kent


    Look out for old plastic clothes driers, fridge and freezer shelving, ideal to make cloches from - can then be covered in fleece or plastic or can be put flat on soil when planting out onion sets or seeds to stop the dreaded foxes/cats from digging everything up again.

    Teabags, I use as a mulch, top side dries out the underside keeps the soil nice and damp and they rot down over the season to be dug in to the soil.

    Another use for newspaper, especially in raised beds. To save watering in summer water your raised bed or area really well and lay down soaked newspaper, four sheets thick or thereabouts. Cover with grass cuttings. Again all rots down by the end of the season.

    Newspaper again - lay in sheets on greenhouse staging under plant trays so there's a good edge all around. Sprinkle on the organic slug pellets to help protect your seedlings from absailing slugs.

    Check out any containers you may have hanging around the house - currently have a damaged salad spinner acting as a pot, along with panetone tins (holes punched in bottom), ex-bokashi bins, old wastepaper baskets, a microwave steamer and a whicker umbrella stand all doing good service.

    Broken china - use as a covering for the soil in pots.

    Use anything tray like for plant saucers, ferrero roche containers very good for this as are old roasting tins, cat litter trays etc.

    Save old biscuit tins for keeping anything edible rat proof in your shed.

    Any discarded clothing made from natural fabrics can make good hanging basket liners, it rots down eventually and can be put on compost heap.

    You now get offered cloth shopping bags from some shops, these are very useful for shed storage.

    Plastic lidded containers - especially those that contained mealworms make excellent slug containers. Collect your slugs and other nasties throughout the day and keep them contained till you can get rid of them or feed them to the hens. I always keep a good few to hand so have somewhere to pop these unwanteds.

    Look at anything around the house with a critical eye. I have just had to dismantle my dressmakers dummy and the stand with four arched legs will, planted upside down to make an excellent tomato pole. The bits of body - plastic - will go under my new rockery as ballast.

    Keep any large container to stand out as rain collectors, currently have an old wheelbarrow, an upturned waterbutt stand, old dustbins and several buckets all out collecting water - all a good addition to that collected in the water butts.

    Scaffolding poles, if you ever find these, they're great for holding down a fleece tunnel, cardboard or tarpaulin as well as acting as good garden poles.

    Old tights make good plant ties, use wider bits for trees and cut into strips for smaller plants.

    Clear plastic food containers can with holes punched in the top make good mini cloches. just balance a stone on top to stop it blowing away.

    And as for cardboard what a star! best mulching material and weed suppressor there is for free. And any bits over make a good shed carpet in the winter, tramp all that mud in the shed and when it gets soggy put it on the compost heap and select a new piece of "carpet".

    And keep all lidded yogurt and cream containers they make ideal freezer containers for your precious allotment produce.

    Last edited by zazen999; 30-03-2009 at 09:35 AM.
    di, Guykp57, veg&kids and 4 others like this.

  2. #10
    Two_Sheds's Avatar
    Two_Sheds is offline Compost Everything...
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    windy east coast, sandy soil

    Default Hummous tubs

    hummous tubs make good "cloches" for pots on windowsills - mini-propagators if you will.

    they also go underneath the pot as a saucer

    then I reuse them again for frozen one-person servings of pasta sauce etc
    All gardeners know better than other gardeners." -- Chinese Proverb.

  3. #11
    Matt.'s Avatar
    Matt. is offline Tuber
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Abingdon, Oxon


    Grass clippings - Use these as a mulch on veggies especially spuds. Or put into the compost bin along with paper. Be careful though - if you have used a weed and feed product don't use the cuttings for about 8 weeks or so.
    MrsCordial likes this.

  4. #12
    HeyWayne's Avatar
    HeyWayne is offline Zen Master
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Milton Keynes


    Vending machine cups.

    I save them from work - take them home, rinse them and then using a soldering iron, make holes in the bottom. Can be used time and time again.

    Cotton bud tubs.

    Looked at one just yesterday and thought they'd make good mini propagators. The "tub" would obviously rot away with time (those made of card), but would still last a season for those plants that don't like to be disturbed.

    Biscuit tins.

    Good for keeping seeds in one place, dry and dark.

    Bush/tree pruning.

    I have to trim back the ash next to the house every couple of years - the long almost straight branches that I cut off are usually at least 6ft in length and make great substitutes for canes.

    Takeaway boxes.

    The big ones they deliver the takeaway to you if you have a lot of people round (or just a large amount of food). Provided no food has been spilled in them they make good trugs to carry your crops home in. They have handles on most.
    A simple dude trying to grow veg.

    BLOG UPDATED! 30/01/2012

    Practise makes us a little better, it doesn't make us perfect.

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  5. #13
    kethry's Avatar
    kethry is offline Seedling
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Manchester, UK


    If you've had one of those plastic greenhouses wrecked, then you can use the poles and bits (the non broken bits anyway) to build things.. I've actually had two large walk in greenhouses wrecked (the first, i left up over winter, and was fine until a large fence ripped free (rotten wood) from the supports and slammed into it in a storm, the second was fine until it came down, when the plastic ripped. I gave up after that). This year i decided not to have a greenhouse, but used the tubes and so on to build two sets of staging which now stands outside the back door, and i can use to pot up stuff. I used lower upright supports for one, and higher upright supports for the other, so that the staging is staggered. Duct tape holds the two sets together. (Photo explains it far better!).

    With the remains i built an arbor to go outside our bedroom window (we're in a flat). Not terribly pretty, but will be much better when i've put netting over and let sweetpeas scramble up it! Its strengthened with long canes and cable ties.

    Hope that gives anyone who's gotten a wrecked greenhouse some ideas...

    Last edited by kethry; 30-03-2009 at 08:01 PM.

  6. #14
    Printemps's Avatar
    Printemps is offline Sprouter
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Deux Sevres, (79) France


    Am just back from a weekend in UK and having had a Thai take-away with friends on Friday night, managed to squeeze in a dozen plastic 6x4 take-away plastic containers, complete with lids. They are brilliant for pre-germinating seeds on wet kitchen roll.
    4390evans likes this.

  7. #15
    Twinkle's Avatar
    Twinkle is offline Sprouter
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    County Clare - Ireland


    from a post on here by 21again, about 2 litre plastic milk cartons, today we built a plant-rack for the polytunnel. Wood was some old batten or tile lath cut to fit through the handles.

    If you cut around the carton just above the level of the label, you can also use the base as a plant pot.

    Each line of "pots" lifts off for transplanting etc...

    Last edited by Twinkle; 01-04-2009 at 08:17 PM.
    di, Acanthus, alldigging and 11 others like this.

  8. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Fife, Scotland


    Twinkle, that is awesome! What a brilliant idea. I'm going to force feed milk to the children from now on so I can do the same with our cartons!

    The best i do with them is fill them with water and use them as 'stones' to hold fleece, net or watever in place. Then when I'm finished with them, i just pop down to the recycling centre. (the cartons that is, NOT the children!)

    I also keep a few in the greehouse filled with water so that i can water tender seedlings with warmish water rather than freezing stuff out the hosepipe. Good for when there are hose pipe bans on i suppose too (not that we ever suffer from that is Scotland!).
    Last edited by Scottishnewbie; 01-04-2009 at 10:49 PM.
    4390evans, Raybon and Kieron75 like this.

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