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Recycling “Stuff” for Your Garden

by Tiffany in Gardening, The Homestead

Green seedlings growing out of soil in egg shells

I’ve got Spring on the brain so I thought I might share some of the stuff I am doing to get ready for planting season.

There are actually many things around the house that can be used to get seedlings started and it makes use of garbage you have around the house, effectively recycling things to give them another use.

First off…to start seedlings you need some little pots. There is no need to buy them…you may already have them. You can make little planters from toilet paper rolls, newspaper, and eggshells.

To make planters from toilet paper rolls:

  • Cut each roll in half and press it flat.
  • Make four, half-inch to three-quarter-inch slices on one end of the roll to create four equal-sized flaps.
  • Open up the roll and fold in the four little flaps like a box bottom. seed started in toilet paper roll
  • Fill with soil and plant your seeds!

You can grow these indoors next to windows (for light) or under grow lights and then when it comes time to plant them in the garden just unwrap the bottom and stick it in the ground. The paperboard of the toilet paper roll will disintegrate over time.

Egg shells can also be used for smallish seedlings and be put directly in the ground for planting. It is easier to manage them if you keep them in an egg container so if you get egg containers from the grocery make sure to save them AND the egg shells. If you get fresh eggs (like I do part of the year) then ask a friend to save their egg containers for you. Freecycle is also a good place to ask people for their garbage, LOL. :)

newspaper potNewspaper is another super easy planter. Just take a piece of newspaper and fold it in half once or twice lengthwise. Then roll it around a can or a glass to make the basic “tube” shape. Pull the can or glass out and then fold one half in to make a bottom. Now you are ready to add soil and seeds and these planters can also go directly in the ground and you don’t need to unravel the bottom as newspaper will disintegrate pretty fast.

If you want to get a jump on your outdoor planting but worry about an unexpected frost I have a solutionmilk jug cloche for that too. Save your plastic juice or milk jugs … or ask neighbors for theirs if you don’t use them… and then cut the bottom 2-3 inches off so that you have the perfect cloche to put over your seedlings in the garden. You need transparent milk jugs though not the white or yellow ones that won’t let light through. Also, the 2-3 inch section you cut off can now be used as a tray to start more seeds.

This cloche will protect your seeds from cold, frost, and bugs while allowing them to grow still. Using cloches for bug management also helps you keep to your organic intentions too. :)

You can also use milk jugs to water your plants. I keep one under my sink (full of rainwater) to water my indoor plants but they also work for outdoor watering. Just heat up a sewing needle over an open flame and then use it to poke  4-6 holes in the cap.   Now the water will stream out of the holes to water your garden. Easy peasy!

I hope these ideas help you get motivated to start that dream garden this year. For more inspiration you may want to check out the book The Revolutionary Yardscape: Ideas for Repurposing Local Materials to Create Containers, Pathways, Lighting, and More. It’s full of ideas!

Recycling Stuff for Your Garden 1