Re-use in the veg patch

potato patch

One thing I have really enjoyed about getting my veg patch going over the past few years is being able to cleverly use stuff that would otherwise have ended up either in the recycling pile, rubbish bins or local dump. Here are a few ideas of things I’ve done:

  • ‘Plant’ old wine bottles nose first into the soil. It makes great edging for a bed or pathway, although it does also highlight how much you drink!
  • Use corks as plant markers (are you seeing a theme here?!) – just write on them with permanent marker. I pierced mine with wooden skewers from a BBQ and prodded them into the ground.
  • For the few things that I do grow myself from seed, I use old egg cartons as seed trays. Disposable BBQ trays work too, as do the annoying plastic containers that you often buy mushrooms in.
  • Nearly all of the plain outer cardboard packaging that finds its way into my home ends up in the garden. I take off the tape and any labels and either use it to cover raised beds as part of the “no dig” method, cut out 10cm brassica collars or pop it into the compost. I put printed cardboard in for recycling though as I don’t think the inks are very good for the soil.
  • The little glass ramekins from Gu puddings (which I sometimes buy as an emergency for a dinner party, they are really very yummy!) are great sunken into the ground and filled with beer to trap slugs.
  • I used all the old windows from a neighbour’s house to build a rickety old greenhouse/cold frame typed thing. They were off to the dump otherwise. I’ve noticed lots of old windows on the side of the road as well – it’s worth keeping your eye out!
  • I use two old roasting pans (that used to be non-stick) as the shallow container to soak all my Rocket Gardens seedlings in when they arrive. They’re the perfect shape and depth!
  • I collected all the netting sacks that I got from a log delivery and used them to stuff a scarecrow made using some old clothes of mine that weren’t really good enough for the charity shops.
  • I’ve used lots of broken CDs/DVDs to hang around the garden in a desperate attempt to keep pigeons away. I hope it helps, but I’m not sure! It looks quite fun though.
  • I use old tyres as planters. This has worked really well for me as I’ve had black plastic down to clear a patch of land. I’ve used the tyres to secure the plastic down, cut a hole in the plastic at the base of the tyre and then filled them with compost and grown pumpkins etc. You can also stack them up to get more depth if you want to grow potatoes.
  • I cut off the base of big plastic bottles and have jammed them in the soil over seedlings, like little individual greenhouses in early spring. This works quite well to keep them frost free and protected from pigeons/rabbits etc.
  • I have a collection of jam jars that I put on top of bamboo canes to hold netting/fleece up. It works quite well in preventing the bamboos from piercing holes in the netting.

I can’t think of anything else, but hope this may have given you some good ideas. If anyone else has any inspiring little tricks, do share!