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Recycling in the Garden

Creative uses for recycled and re-purposed items in your garden

A while back, I shared with you some interesting items for your garden, manufactured from recycled materials. Purchasing items made from recycled material is a great way to recycle, but there is an easy way for you to become sustainable without going out and spending money. 

Personally, I like the idea of doing more in the way of recycling, besides sorting glass, cans and paper into their appropriate bins. You would be surprised at the many items you use on a daily basis, which, instead of discarding, are usable in your garden.

Recycled household items:

  • Pantyhose: use to tie branches to trellis or cut into bands and use as a ponytail holder
  • Old CDs and DVDs: hang these reflective items from trees to keep animals from eating your veggies or birds out of your pond
  • Plastic milk jug: Cut out bottom and use as a scoop. Poke holes in the lid and it becomes a watering can. Cut out bottom, hang a bunch on a horizontal pole for an inexpensive vertical garden
  • Coffee filters: place in the bottom of a pot with holes to keep dirt from falling out
  • Plastic water bottle: cut out bottom, poke a few holes in lid and sides, plant upside down in potted plants for easy watering
  • Styrofoam peanuts: place in bottom of pots to help with drainage
  • Banana peels: another great natural fertilizer for rose bushes
  • Egg carton: for planting starter seeds
  • Styrofoam mushroom trays: also good for starter seeds
  • Glass wine or beer bottles: plant upside down in the ground as a border
  • Wine corks: place on the end of a stick or fork as plant markers
  • Toilet paper rolls: use for planting seedlings or filled with dryer lint as starters for your campfire
  • Newspaper or paper-bags: makes a great biodegradable weed-barrier under mulch
  • Kitchen scraps, leaves: start a composting pile
  • Plastic storage bins, whiskey barrels & old trash cans: as long as they do not have holes can be used to collect rain water for your garden
  • Used coffee grinds: natural fertilizer for your rose bushes

Re-purposed items that you may already have in your kitchen:

  • Vinegar: natural weed killer
  • Listerine: spray on your lawn to kill mosquitoes and gnats
  • Epson salt: use as fertilizer
  • Uncooked grits: to kill fire ants

Of course, we cannot forget some of the larger re-purposed items for your garden, most of which I have used in my own garden.

  • Bedroom furniture: bed frame, dresser drawers and desks can all be used as planters
  • Patio furniture: worn out wicker or metal furniture are all the rage as small succulent gardens
  • Old tires: perfect for planters or as swings or climbing play areas for the kids
  • Outdoor items: wagons, wheel barrows, coolers, birdbaths, mailboxes, gutters, pvc pipe, boats, bike tires, truck beds and old car parts have all been used as planters or converted into fire pits and grills
  • Bathroom: yes, you can use that old bathtub or toilet as a planter or better yet a water garden
  • Kitchen: teapots, teacups, baking pans, coffee cans make cute planters for small gardens
  • Personal items: Boots, shoes, jeans and even bras can be hung on a fence and filled with pretty plants.

My all time favorite re-purpose item is an ordinary pallet, thank you Pinterest, which you can use to create a compost bin, vertical garden, garden table and too many other items to mention here. If you are looking for new and fun ways to recycle, re-use and re-purpose items for your garden and home be sure to check out our Recycle/Repurpose Pinterest board or visit our Fort Getaway gallery page to see some of the items we have personally re-purposed

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Brenda Smoak September 29, 2012 at 05:23 PM
Thanks for these great ideas! Now you've got me really looking around to see what I can re-use!
Christina Payne September 29, 2012 at 11:53 PM
I've done most of these but I learned a few more today, Thanks! I once used a neighbor's tub to make a water garden and I'm glad to see the current owners of the house kept it.
Lisa Burns September 30, 2012 at 12:23 PM
You are welcome, the possibilities are endless!
Lisa Burns September 30, 2012 at 12:24 PM
You are welcome Christina. I love the idea of an old tub for a water garden!
Sue Langley June 23, 2013 at 08:48 AM
Great article! This is exactly what we love to do at Flea Market Gardening! You wouldn't believe how creative the folks are there, doing all their own projects and posting them to our Facebook page. We just had a huge photo contest to welcome summer and the entries were SO inspiring! AND we feel good about being creative with things saved from the landfill. ~~ Sue
Lisa Burns October 21, 2013 at 03:57 PM
Thank you Sue Langley, Sorry I missed your comment. I love Flea Market Gardening, your fb page is inspiring!

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