Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Second life for stuff in the garden

Thinking about starting a garden this season? You’re not alone. Seed sales are up about 30 percent this year over last. Even if you planned ahead, or thought you did, like I did, you’re likely still waiting in the queue for your seeds or sets to arrive in the mail.

Frugality is the name of the game these days, and gardening for seed can seem like an attractive option. Unless you have to buy tools. Or soil amendments. Or are more aggressive and want things such as raised beds or vast container gardens.

But you can still be frugal when working on your garden. Recently, In My Kitchen Garden posted ideas on how you can keep your garden “greener” by reusing things you may have already had at home:

  • Seedlings can be started in toilet paper and paper towel tubes, then planted in the ground once they're well-started.
  • Old metal strainers can serve as compost sifters.
  • Old bedsheets and blankets can protect plants in cold weather.
  • Cracked plastic buckets that no longer hold water can still carry weeds, rocks and compost.
  • Rusted baking sheets make handy trays for seedlings and other things.
  • Old metal pots not nice enough to be donated to the thrift store can be used as planters or for carrying soil amendments, compost, etc.
  • Yogurt, sour cream and other No. 5 plastic containers can become weatherproof seedling markers when cut into strips – an idea I’m trying soon!
  • Containers for fresh mushrooms at the supermarket can be used for seed starting. (You can also use egg containers, and just plant the entire thing in the ground if using paperboard containers.)

Since I have gardening on my mind this week, check out these stories:

And, in case people give into panic over this swine flu (yes, I'm on information overload already) and our systems shut down, keep in mind you can always make a pizza with your tomatoes and veggies from your garden. The Green Parent shows you how to build a solar pizza oven.

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