Vegetable gardeners were going green long before “green” went main stream. We have been recycling food waste for decades, storing up rain water in barrels to use when the weather runs dry and so many other things.
But now that the world has finally caught on with the green movement, it is time to pass along a list of items that many might overlook and consider trash, but really are great to use in the vegetable garden.
Cardboard Egg Cartons
If you buy your eggs in Styrofoam cartons then you have to switch to the cardboard carton variety. Cardboard egg cartons, besides being able to be recycled with regular cardboard, can be shredded and mixed in your compost bin and also make great plant seed starters. Simply cut small drainage holes in the bottom of each of the twelve cups, fill with potting soil, add your seeds and water. Once they germinate and you see about two inches of growth, cut the carton so that you separate the cups from one another and then plant the entire cup.
One Gallon Plastic Milk Containers
I can give you two uses for each before you send them to the recycle center. First, rinse the containers out to make sure all the milk residue is gone. Then fill to about an inch from the top with water, put the cap back on and stick the entire container in the freezer. In about a day you will have a nice solid block of ice you can use at your next barbecue to cool down those drinks. When the ice is ready, run some luke warm water on the outside so the ice inside detaches from the plastic sides. Take a utility knife and cut the container in half, in other words separating the top of the container from the bottom. This will allow you to remove the ice. Now take bottom half and drill some holes in the bottom and you have an excellent pot for flowers and plants and the top makes for a great protector against the cold air at night.
Reuse that Old Hose
Before you toss that old hose into the trash, create for yourself your very own soaker hose. Poke plenty of holes in the sides of the hose so that when you turn the water on it drips through the holes you just created.
Pantyhose, Old Socks and T-Shirts
Don’t just toss them into the trash, you can use them to tie up your plants. Tomatoes have weak stems and instead of splurging on the Velcro ties you can cut up some old socks and t-shirts and use them instead.
Done reading the paper yet? Is your neighbor? Good! Newspaper makes a great weed barrier and also great mulch for the compost bin. To use as a weed barrier in your garden, lay the newspaper down, cover with grass clippings, and wet it down with your hose. To use in your compost bin, shred the newspaper and just throw it in there.
Trash is only trash if you can’t think of anything to do with it. As more people get involved with the green movement, especially those that plant vegetable gardens, we will start finding even more ways to keep our garbage out of landfills.
About the Author
Mike is the author of the book Vegetable Gardening for the Average Person. It is a practical easy to follow book that teaches gardeners everything from composting techniques, aeration and frost conditions, to choosing the right tools and picking the right seeds.