With spring acting up this year, we know many are anxious to get out there and work some ground. We’re always seeing interesting tips for using household goods to both recycle or decorate with, so we thought we’d pass some on here!
There’s a wealth of ideas out there on the internet, and the many ideas can be duplicated for different uses. For one thing, we are all familiar with bottle trees to ward off those evil spirits, but have you ever thought about using some of those bottles for a bird bath/waterer? Just make sure the bottle has an indented bottom, upend it in your garden or other preferred spot, and overnight, that indentation will fill with dew, making a miniature bird bath for the smaller birds! In this picture, the red rails in the background are from an old bed frame, and is pressed into service every year as a small trellis.
Ever thought about using those cardboard type egg cartons for starting seeds? They have the added benefit of not only recycling, but they disintegrate in the soil when transplanted, similar to the traditional peat pots. We’ve also found that the tri-fold clear plastic egg cartons make a great miniature green house, too…simply close it up for the greenhouse effect! One caution on this? Be sure not to overwater, as, unlike the cardboard types, there is no drainage, and you don’t want the seeds sitting in standing water. How about those egg shells after you scramble the Sunday morning eggs? Hmm…another great seed starter with additional nutrition built in!
Cut up a milk carton for sowing small seeds in..easy to handle and lines up nicely! And here’s a thought: you can upend them over plants after transplanting if frost threatens. Some people also get more mileage out of their container by poking several holes in the container, filling with water, and setting beside plant,, allowing a slow seep of steady water to the seedling.
Only got one grow light? And want to get more plants started? Try surrounding the grow light with mirrors! Not only do mirrors make a room look larger, it will intensify the single grow light.
We hear so many good ideas! Here are just a few of the others that have come to light over the years..
Very small seeds needing to be sown? Mix in a little sand, and put in a salt shaker..viola! Easy even sowing!
Although I also use the plastic berry containers for starting seeds (they have built in drainage, and that wonderful hinged top for keeping humidity in), recently I saw a suggestion for using those for saving seed packets in..the air circulation helps prevent molding.
Popsicle sticks can make excellent plant markers, if you tend to forget what is planted where. Just be sure to use a waterproof marker..I have made this mistake before, and you can easily soak off the name when watering..not a good idea!
NC Culture also picks things up at our local recycling center on a regular basis..three recent finds were quickly recycled: the first? Some of those cheap plastic ornamental salad bowls. Drill a couple of drainholes, and you have a colorful planter for trailing plants, although in this one, we have moss waiting for the weather to warm up:
Every year, not only do we grow a mess of gourds , we play with them, too..and so easy to transform into a planter:
Jodi Fruth send in this suggestion: can’t get much easier than this!
Take a bag of garden soil, loosen it up and lay it down flat, slit the plastic just big enough for a bedding plants, dig out just that much dirt per hole, drop the bedding plants in, tuck them in with the little bit of dirt you took out, then water each, and mulch the whole shebang and whalah – an instant garden without tilling. Easy to maintain, will last the whole season if you keep it watered. Arrange a few rocks around it to make it pretty. No weeds grow through the plastic or mulch. End of season, dump the dirt anywhere you need it.
Vanessa Vickers Towell send these two in, and it also reminded us of another one, too:
This is a good one and been around for a while. Use a bale of hay to plant a garden. Keeps it off the ground so there is not much bending or weeding and with a horse barn, hay is always available 🙂 http://www.growandmake.com/straw_bale_garden
to feed your birds….take empty toilet paper rolls, smear with peanut butter then rolls in bird seed and place on the branches of a tree.
Which reminded us of this one, and it also makes a great Christmas gift:
Tie a ribbon to the tip of a large pinecone, smear the pinecone with peanut butter, and then roll in birdseed. The finches especially love this idea, and you can color code it for the season: red or green ribbons for Christmas, pastel ribbons for Easter, etc. I have, in the past, also dribbled food colorings in corresponding colors to make it more festive if giving as a gift.
Another recycling center find was this great hanger! We never figured out exactly what it was for originally, but it sure found a place in our home. We simply suspended between two porch posts, and it has the rings that slide back and forth, great for hanging different sized plants..another benefit? It can hold a lot of hummingbird feeders!
Speaking of our beloved hummingbirds, no need to be suckered into buying the expensive commercial nectar, and no, it does not have to be red!
We make a gallon at a time and keep in the fridge, using this basic recipe:
(special note? remove all yellow on feeder (those little yellow plastic flower tabs?) the yellow is attractive to both wasps and bees)
1 cup sugar and 3 cups hot water, stir until clear, then refrigerate..no need for food coloring, trust me, the birds do NOT care!
easily grown other hummingbird attractors? cardinal vine (which can be invasive, so be careful), hummingbird bushes, and most gardening catalogs now offer a “hummingbird garden” selection..
Our 3rd recycling find was this: It was a nativity, so I removed the small statues, and am going to remove the false “moss” (just in case, since I don’t know if it’s toxic), add a hanger, and now it’s a bird feeder, complete with top!
The more we can keep out of our landfills, the better, so follow thru on that first idea if you can..no telling what you might turn something into, or what creative timesaver you may find. We’d love to hear from others on this, so please feel free to add comments and suggestions..we want to hear from you!