THE TRIBUTE GUIDE TO UPCYCLING HOUSEHOLD ITEMS FOR THE GARDEN
Blog by the Two Thirsty Gardeners.
Struggling to get hold of essential garden equipment during the lockdown? Then a quick rummage around your house should unearth a wealth of recyclable objects that will do a job or two…
It’s not hard to find a suitable alternative to a plant pot in the kitchen – plastic yoghurt pots, tin cans and deep plastic food trays will all work. Before filling with compost, all you have to do is give them a thorough wash and poke a few drainage holes in the base.
Cardboard tubes from your stockpiled toilet rolls are also effective, especially for plants such as peas who prefer not to have their roots disturbed while planting out, as you can pop them into the soil with cardboard still in place.
If, like us, you put pots of seedlings and herbs on the windowsill then you won’t want water leaking onto the paintwork. Plastic food trays and lids make suitable objects sit your pot in.
Cloches and polytunnels
To give seedlings an extra bit of warmth you can cover them with upturned clear plastic pots and food trays that will act like a mini cloche. The same trick can be performed by plastic bottles with the bottom cut off. For larger areas of your garden peg out bubble wrap over the soil or even wrap it over a cane frame to make your own polytunnel.
Lollipop sticks make the ultimate plant labels but strips cut from white plastic food containers also work a treat.
Lazy waterers can get lots of help from plastic bottles. For targeted watering to get straight to the roots of thirsty plants, cut the bottom off a bottle, point the top (without lid) as close to the roots as you can, and push a cane through into the ground to secure it. Water through the large open end and it will direct the water to the right place.
You can also keep the lid on and pierce it with small holes before burying it a few inches into the soil. Fill the bottle with water from the bottomless end and it will slowly water your plants while you recline on the garden bench enjoying a pint.
If you’ve got a few embarrassing CDs lurking around the attic then do as Rich did with his once cherished S-Club 7 collection and turn them into pigeon scarers. Fortunately for his allotment neighbours this doesn’t involve playing the CDs, but instead suspending them from bamboo canes where their twinkly reflections will frighten our feathered foe away from a brassica breakfast.
If slugs or snails are your main enemy then beer traps are one way of dealing with them. Sink a jam jar into the soil, fill with beer and they’ll pop in for last orders and be unable to get out. We use dodgy home brew for this purpose – we’ll let you decide if a drop of Tribute is a sacrifice worth making.