Gardening is all about the cycle of life. The soil produces food, and the food waste goes back into the soil to increase fertility so it can grow more food. Obviously, recycling and upcycling go hand-in-hand in the garden and there are many items in your home that can be re-used in the garden.
Give unwanted and unused items a new life in your garden. Upcycling stuff from your home for the garden can increase growing space and add a touch of whimsy to your home garden. Here are some ideas that you can put to use for your garden.
Do you have an old metal bed headboard that you don’t know what to do with? Place it in the garden as a trellis for cucumbers, tomatoes, or Clematis can climb on. Add a bright color of spray paint first to make the headboard noticeable in the garden.
Metal box springs can also be upcycled as a plant trellis or as a frame for a vertical garden.
Old Jar Lids and Tin Cans
Old jar lids can be used to keep certain animals away from your garden. Do this by tying up a bunch of jar lids with thick, durable string. Of course, firstly drill a hole into their center and then pass the string through them. You can hang them in your garden and they can knock against each other in the wind and scare off some birds and deer. Likewise, you can do the same for aluminum tin cans.
Old CDs/DVDs can be strung together on a rope or string after boring a hole through them and then used to catch the sun, as garden décor, or to repel birds with their shiny surfaces.
Use coffee filters for collecting and drying seeds. They can also be used to sprout seeds when used with plastic bags.
Don’t throw your old carpets away. They can be used to cover a patch of ground and kill/keep off the weeds. Many garden inhabitants will also find a warm refuge beneath your old carpets.
Toilet Paper Tubes
There are many uses for old toilet paper tubes, but one of them is as biodegradable little containers for seed starting. Cut one end into a section 4 inches long and fold it under to form a bottom and you have a ready-made container. Fill them with soil and seeds. You can plant the tube outside in the garden later.
Old Storage Trunks
Old storage trunks are cool-looking but they can have years of odors that nothing can get rid of. Upcycle that stinky old trunk into a raised bed garden planter and grow a trunk full of fresh vegetables. The plants won’t mind the smell and a fresh cost of paint will update the look of the trunk.
An old chest of drawers can also be used to create a tiered planter with a top work surface that would be functional and productive for a patio or deck.
Metal baskets from chest freezers can be used as a small cage frame to protect seedlings or plants from pests, frost, and trampling. To use them as improvised mini greenhouses or cold frames, simply cover them with plastic/cloth layer and grow the plants you want inside these.
Paper is biodegradable, and earthworms love rotting paper. Consider sending old newspaper and unwanted mail to your compost heap. Cover the paper with grass clippings and better still, add some layers of old cardboard on top of them to retain moisture. The paper will rot, and the worm castings left behind can be used as fertilizer for your garden plants.
Old Car Tires
Old car tires are popular items for upcycling, because they are versatile and durable. You can paint them in any color you want and stack them and fill them with soil in the center. The vertical center can be used for growing flowers or vegetables. Tires also make good boundary markers.
Old umbrellas can be used as improvised shades in the garden. Just secure an umbrella to the ground so it does not get blown away by the wind, and you will have an instant garden shade to use.
Milk Jug Cloche
Young seedlings need protection from late spring frosts and a plastic milk jug makes an ideal garden cloche. Cut the bottom out of the jug and place jug over top of seedlings on cold nights.
The bottom of the jug can be used as a seed-starting planter or as a saucer under a potted plant to catch excess water.
Upcycled Garden Planters
Anything from your home that can hold soil can be upcycled into a garden planter. Plastic food bowls, leaky rain boots, burned pots, bathtubs, and commodes can be transformed into whimsical and attractive receptacles for growing vegetables and flowers.
Old belts can hold planters or shelves up; used guttering can become a gutter garden on the fence; a broken terra cotta pot can become a toad house in the garden; bicycle tire rims can become edging for the garden and broken ladders are great plant trellises.
Hopefully these ideas above inspire you to either try them out (or experiment with your own ideas). Before throwing stuff out of your house, consider how that stuff might be upcycled into your home garden.
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