7 Eco-Friendly Ways to Recycle Materials in the GardenColin Campbell-Preston
Many gardeners know their garden has a positive impact on the environment and look for ways to make it even more eco-friendly. Whether you just try to reduce your pesticide use or go fully self-sufficient, there are tonnes of ways you can make your garden a bit more planet friendly. One simple and easy way to do this is to recycle materials by repurposing them in your garden. There are plenty of things, from yoghurt pots to pairs of tights, that would normally just end up in the bin, but can be turned into handy gardening tools. Read on for some fun ideas of how to transform everyday household waste items into useful garden equipment!
Pallet Compost Bin
Making your own compost is a great way to make your garden more eco-friendly and sustainable. All you’ll need to get started is a compost bin, which you can easily build yourself from old pallets! Simply use four pallets tipped up on their sides and secure them in place with some strong garden wire. The gaps in the pallets will allow the compost to breathe, whilst the slats will stop it all from blowing about and ending up all over the garden. If you’ve got raised beds, you can even try building a pallet compost bin in one corner, so the pallets can be removed in spring and the compost spread over the bed. As an added benefit, this method means that any nutrients washed out by the rain still end up in the soil, where your plants can make use of them.
Discarded bathtubs are useless in many situations, but building a pond isn’t one of them. Simply dig a hole and sink the tub into the ground, as you would do with a more traditional pond liner. You can develop a little ecosystem in your pond and hopefully, it will attract frogs and toads, which are useful for keeping slug numbers down. Be sure to add some pond weed, as this helps to keep the water clean, and some pieces of wood for the frogs to use to get in and out of your slippery-sided bathtub pond. No doubt the kids will love investigating the pond and it can be a great way to teach them about nature, although be sure to cover it or fence it off to prevent any accidents.
Scaffolding Plank Raised Beds
Bits of wood, especially reasonably sized ones, are pretty useful in the garden and a great source of this is discarded scaffolding planks. They have to be replaced regularly, so they can be found relatively easily, and their hardy nature makes them perfect for building things like raised beds. Simply create large squares or rectangles using the planks to build the sides and fill them with good quality compost. Raised beds are perfect for growing edibles for the whole family to enjoy, boosting your sustainable credentials in the process.
Double-Glazed Window Cold Frames
Buying cold frames to protect your plants from harsh weather can soon add up if you have a few varieties in your garden. For this reason, many gardeners build their own, using discarded windows to make the glass tops. You will find that double-glazed windows offer your plants superior protection from frost, although they are much heavier when it comes to opening the cold frame. This is a great summer project as more people replace their windows in the warmer months and you’ll need the frames to protect any tender plants from late autumn right through to the spring.
Plastic Bottle Cloche
Plastic bottles have many uses when it comes to recycling them in the garden, but one of the best is definitely making them into mini-cloches. Simply cut the bottom off and place them over your seedlings to protect them from harsh weather, slugs, and snails. Once they have grown large enough to touch the sides of the cloche, it is a sign that it needs to be removed. The top of the bottle should be left off so your plants can breathe, otherwise you’ll find yourself with a terrible case of mould.
CD Bird Scarer
Everything is digital these days and many a CD or DVD collection has been consigned to a corner to gather dust. Repurpose all those useless disks by transforming them into shiny bird scarers that clatter in the wind. Simply attach them to individual strings and fasten them to a washing line hung across any beds you want to keep the birds off.
Water Bottle Watering Can
If you have a small greenhouse, you might find that trying to water your plants with a massive watering can is a bit of a difficult task. To solve this problem and make use of an empty plastic bottle, simple pierce some holes in the lid and use it to sprinkle your plants. It can easily be placed on the side in your greenhouse and makes the task of watering your tomatoes that bit easier.
Come and visit one of our garden centres near Alexandra Palace, Wandsworth Common, or Berkhamsted to stock up for your garden and get some helpful advice from our Plant People. Alternatively, head over to our homepage for more inspiring garden ideas.