Use It, Don’t Lose It: Common Household Items for a Greener Garden
Indoor gardening requires quite a bit of equipment and costs can add up quickly. Here are some items every grower already has lying around the house that can be easily transformed into gardening tools, saving a few bucks and some items from the landfill at the same time.
Gardening can be an almost spiritual experience. It helps us connect and become closer to the Earth and Mother Nature. Gardening also helps us reconnect with the food cycle. That is why many of us choose to garden indoors, so that we can feel these connections all year long.
We are given an opportunity to connect even closer with nature through our ability to re-use common household items in the garden. If we all take a couple small steps in this direction, we can drastically reduce the number of items destined for the landfill, all while saving money on our gardening supplies.
Despite being recyclable, plastic soda or water bottles are the scourge of the 20th century. Luckily, there are numerous applications for these clear plastic bottles in the growroom. When halved, these bottles can substitute as excellent starter pots for seedlings and cuttings. The clear plastic allows growers to see the progression of roots as they grow in search of water and nutrients. Pop a couple holes in the bottom for drainage.
Large two-liter clear plastic bottles can be used as cloches in your outdoor garden. A cloche is a clear glass dome placed over young seedlings or any delicate plants in your garden, mainly to protect weak plants against strong winds, early or late season frosts, and insect damage.
When halved, the top half of the plastic bottle becomes a makeshift cloche. Plastic bottles can also be used as seedling and cutting domes in your indoor garden to trap heat and moisture, boosting root growth and cutting success rates just as well as most commercial humidity domes. And when you are done, they can be cleaned and re-used or recycled.
Another fantastic use for your plastic water bottles is to create a self-watering garden of sorts. Take a plastic bottle and punch a number of holes around the sides, then when you are planting your plants in your outdoor garden, or indoors in pots, bury one of the plastic bottles with holes next to each plant or in each pot, with just the water spout slightly above ground.
When you water your plants, do so through the spout on the plastic bottle. This works much like a self-watering pot in that the bottle will act like a mini reservoir. This simple technique can make a huge difference when those hot summer days hit your outdoor garden, and can mean watering your indoor garden less often.
Plastic bottles also make great makeshift vertical garden pots. Cut a hole into the bottom of each plastic bottle just large enough for the spout of another bottle to fit. You can make a train of these, each connecting to the next. Cut an opening on the side of the bottle for your plant to sit toward the light. You can pump the nutrient solution from a reservoir to the top bottle, then gravity will feed the nutrients down to each bottle, eventually going back to the reservoir to be recirculated.
Eggshells are a great way to add calcium to your garden, and they can be useful in another way. When we use eggs, we crack them in half and discard them. Keep these eggshell halves and the carton. Place one half shell in each carton slot to make perfect little seedling cups. Add a little potting mix and your seeds, and in no time you will have natural seedling containers that can be transplanted into larger containers with no fuss.
Toilet Paper Rolls
Toilet paper rolls are another great item around the home that can be quickly and easily turned into containers for seedlings and cuttings. Simply stand them up in a tray and fill with potting mix, then add your seeds or cuttings. Once they have outgrown the toilet paper rolls, plants can be transplanted directly into a larger container. The toilet paper rolls will gradually break down.
There are so many items around the average home that can be quickly and easily transformed with little effort into gardening tools. Together we can help save the planet and