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Environmental Issues
Going Green

By Alan J Hartley

General Re-cycling In The Garden



Different types of packaging found in the supermarkets can often be put to good use with a little thought. The string bags that oranges usually come in can be saved to hang up your onions when you harvest them in the Autumn. They are strong and will let the air circulate round the onions to ripen them and help keep them over winter in your garage or outhouse without letting them rot.  

As the Autumn is coming many people will be thinking about what seeds to buy for next year to sow in the spring. Some such as Sweet Pea, Beans and Tomatoes will get away quicker if they are started in old cardboard toilet roll inners. The plant can be grown in them just as if it were in a small pot, but when it is ready to be planted out the whole cardboard roll with plant in can be planted. The cardboard will rot in the ground without disturbing the roots of the young plant ensuring a better start.


Also with regard to planting beans in the spring, the planting trench will benefit from a thickish layer of old newspapers in the bottom. Fluff and dust out of the vacuum cleaner can also be put into the trench. This will all help to reduce water loss in the row and encourage root growth.

Large plastic pop bottles can be used in different ways in the garden. The tops can be cut off several inches down the bottle with a stout pair of scissors, and then they can be up ended and used as mini propagators over pots of cuttings and seeds either in the house or garden in the spring to give a little added protection. Another use for them next year is to cut off the bottoms and partially bury the bottle, top down, (minus its screw top) next to a valuable plant that needs regular watering in the garden. Then a quantity of water can be poured into the cut open end of the bottle which will go straight out of the buried top, down to the plants roots without puddling the ground round the plant. This will discourage the plant from making shallow roots that will suffer in a dry spell and encourage deeper rooting. The plant will also get a measured amount of water each time.

When you buy vegetables from a shop they often come in a clear plastic bag and a small number of these could be used to germinate pots of seeds or propagate cuttings in the same way as pop bottles. Simply place the damp pot of seeds into the upside down bag and tie the bag round the bottom of the pot.

Other vegetables such as tomatoes come from the shops in small plastic trays which can be used as little seed trays as long as you remember to puncture the bottom to allow some drainage.

The last things that I can think of for re-cycling in the garden are perhaps the most obvious and those are old plant pots and labels. Labels can be washed and cleaned with a small piece of wire wool quite effectively. It takes a little bit of elbow grease to remove the old names on them, but packets of labels are very expensive for what they are these days. Lots of people keep old pots from when they buy new plants at the garden centres, but a lot more could be re-cycled instead of simply throwing them away. They should be washed before they are re-used to prevent any disease or other problems from spreading. You may not have a use for them but you may know of a friend who grows plants for other people who could use them Alternatively you may come across a local gardening guild or other organisation that could make use of them. To people that need them and have not got them, plant pots are very expensive to buy.



Gardening Tips
By Mrs FM


Unusual & Old
Fashioned Fruit


Herbs & Other
Edible Plants.


Books By
Alan J Hartley