Did you know that there are at least 10 things in your garbage that you could be using in your garden? Whether you have a garden that’s an acre wide or just a few summer herb containers in your window, here are 10 things that you’re throwing away that could be used in your garden instead.
If you’re a frequent coupon clipper, we’ve got some good news for you! Use your old newspapers to lay around the base of your plants. Newspaper (many of which now are printed with organic pigments) will help smother weeds because of the shade and moisture. As a result, it will help bring more earthworms to your garden! (They are good for aeration!) You can also add newspapers to compost by fold them into planting cups for seedlings.
Eggs shells are rich in nutrients and can be used to deter garden pests, to fertilize plants, or even to enrich soil for starting seedling. They work better if you can crush them in a food processor to a fine powder and use the bits to scatter around your plants.
Old milk cartons, especially the plastic jugs, can be used in multiple ways. You can cut out the top half and use it as a dirt scoop, or you can poke small holes in the lid and use it as a watering can or as a fertilizer spreader. You can even cut the top half to protect delicate new shoots from being stepped on or from an unexpected frost.
If you’ve upgraded your dinnerware, or have odds-and-ends forks and spoons, keep them in your gardening caddy. Sticking the forks in your garden tine side up will help deter pests from digging. You could also use Mod Podge and drawings from an old gardening or children’s book to make cute garden markers. You could also use them to dig small holes if you’re starting seedlings directly in your garden.
Don’t toss that box of baking soda! Alternatively, add three tablespoons to a gallon of warm water and spray it on your favorite flowers and shrubs to help combat fungus.
We have clay in our yard, so we use old plastic bags to tie onto our shoes to keep the muddy clay from compiling onto our shoes when we garden. You can also tie them to fruit trees to scare away birds (aluminum foil works well for that, too); kneel on them while gardening to keep knees clean and dry; or protect small plants from windburn during a heavy storm.
We drink SO MUCH COFFEE so we always have a good supply of coffee grounds. Earthworms love coffee ground-rich soil (it kills microbes in the soil), and acid-loving plants like Azalea and Daffodils flourish in the treated soil. You can even use coffee grounds to change the color of your hydrangeas, unless they’re white or cream.
Spices such as cayenne and chili powder can be used as pesticides, even if they’re past their “best by” date. Just sprinkle around your plants or mix with water to make a spray. A good hot pepper spray can keep rabbits and other plant eaters away from your prized pumpkins.
Used Tea Bags
Open your used tea bags and disperse around the base of plants to fertilize the soil and keep pests away. You can also concoct a strongly brewed tea (cooled, of course) to water acid loving plants like the ones mentioned above.
Your wood-only ash from your fireplace can be beneficial for some plants, trees, and for your lawn. However, never use them for berries or potatoes.
Good luck starting your new spring garden and make sure to save your garbage for your garden, not the city dump!