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Gardening with rubbish

Updated on October 14, 2013

Getting the mix right

Getting the mix right when you compost, banana skins, egg shells and teabags add trace elements, while torn up egg boxes act as the browns needed to bulk up the compost
Getting the mix right when you compost, banana skins, egg shells and teabags add trace elements, while torn up egg boxes act as the browns needed to bulk up the compost

The compost bin

Don't forget to look at your local council's web site as a lot of councils sell cheap bins.  This one cost 12 pounds and was delivered to the house
Don't forget to look at your local council's web site as a lot of councils sell cheap bins. This one cost 12 pounds and was delivered to the house

Recycle, re-use, reduce

Recycle re-use reduce is the mantra of modern society a society fast getting swept away in a sea of plastics. We all need to stop and think about what we use and how to get the most out of what we got. With this in mind I’ve been thinking reuse recycle reduce as I’ve been gardening, I hope to pass on some ideas and would be grateful for your ideas. I’m sure between us we can start to make a difference.

 

Compost corner

I can’t emphasize the joy and the usefulness of composting. Turning common waste into something so different it’s almost magical. There are plenty of hubs that fully explain how to compost, but here are the basics. Ideally site your compost bin in a reasonably sunny site on bare soil. If you have to put your compost bin on concrete or tarmac make sure there’s a layer of soil in the bottom. Choose a place where you can easily add ingredients to the bin and get the compost out.

Have a container available such as an old ice cream tub. Fill your container with everything from vegetable and fruit peelings to teabags, toilet roll tubes, cereal boxes and eggshells. The toilet roll tubes, cereal boxes e.t.c is known as browns, vegetable peelings, teabags eggshells etc are known as greens. Take care not to compost cooked food, meat, fish, cheese and perennial weeds. I have the dandelions to prove that composting them is not good.

Empty your container along with your garden waste into your compost bin. An equal mix of greens and browns is the perfect recipe for good compost once your compost has turned into a crumbly, dark material, resembling thick, moist soil and gives off an earthy, fresh aroma, you know it’s ready to use.

Flower pots

The nasty plastic flower pots are everywhere, any plant you buy has one of them attach to it. Yes they can be reused-after being cleaned, but what to do if you need seed trays or pots for seedlings and plants. I use the tray meat comes in for seed trays. Punch a few holes in the bottom clean it then fill it with compost and away you go. For bigger seeds I use the paper cups from a certain fast-food restaurant. Runner beans germinate well in them and when you see the roots coming through the bottom its time to plant out, with no need to remove the cup: so little root disturbance. However if you don’t have enough paper cups you can make your own pots out of newspaper, a truly green thing to do.


A blast from the past

Slugs and snails

How we hate these creatures, the damage they do to plants is devastating, but before you reach for the slug pellets think. Slug pellets are poisoned cereal chunks. Metaldehyde and methiocarb — the two most common slug poisons — would not on their own be an attractive proposition to slugs. Slugs would rather eat nice young shoots than poisons so manufacturers have to put the poison in a bait, Unfortunately these cereal chunks also attract dogs, birds and beetles — causing death or injury if consumed in large numbers. Now you probably think like I did large numbers, I don’t use enough to harm anything. Well large numbers mean over time. So year after year slug pellets do harm wildlife and family pets. Long term use of slug pellets adversely affects the soil in the garden and if it gets into the water table affects drinking water. So we need to find other ways of keeping down slugs and snails. The most popular and from what I’ve heard is using nematodes. Slug nematodes are microscopically small worms that are capable of effectively parasitizing and killing slugs. Totally safe to use, will not harm pets, people or wildlife. However the affects last just about six weeks. However if applied in spring will give plants a chance at establishing themselves. Personally I use a number of physical barriers. Crushed egg shells, sawdust or sharp gravel scattered around young plants keep the slugs at bay. Of course beer traps are the most used way of controlling slugs. Simply bury jam jars filled with the cheapest beer, not lager then empty and refill as needed. Working in a very similar way are grapefruit rinds Cut a grapefruit in half and scoop out the flesh, leaving the empty rind. .Place the rind, upside-down (skin up, pith down), in your garden wherever you've noticed slug damage. A few of these simple traps scattered throughout your vegetable garden or perennial beds will go a long way toward taking care of your slug problem.

Let the rind sit overnight. Another worthwhile slug barrier is copper tape, most beneficial around containers. Look for good deals though as it can be expensive.

More rubbish ideas

Old CD’s or DVD’s make a wonderfully colorful bird scarer; just hang them from fruit trees etc. to discourage birds from pecking the fruit.  Not only effective but they reflect the light nicely.         

 

Old lemonade bottles make super mini cloches, just cut off the bottom and insert over your tender plant. I’ve also herd if you put them along a row of just germinated carrots you won’t be troubled by carrot root fly.

 

Reuse and collect seeds, don’t get caught out by sell by dates on packets-it is just a way for the manufacturers to make you buy more. My runner bean seeds were 5 years old and every one of them germinated.

Please feel free to add your recycling ideas the more we have the more of a difference we can make

 

Comments

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    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      Re-use is definitely a gardening term! Because I like to grow plants that are easily propagated I can always find a use for left-over plastic pots. Great ideas you offer. Looking forward to checking out your other gardening hubs linked here. Thanks.

    • jayjay40 profile image
      Author

      jayjay40 7 years ago from Bristol England

      Thanks Cathi for the comment, I love to look at things and think 'what could I re-use that as'

    • Cathi Sutton profile image

      Cathi Sutton 7 years ago

      Very good Hub full of good, useful advise! Well written and great visuals! And thank you for for speaking up to defend our beautiful planet, and help folks know how to do things in a positive way! Wonderful!

    • jayjay40 profile image
      Author

      jayjay40 7 years ago from Bristol England

      Thanks wrenfrost56, your comment is much appreciated.

    • wrenfrost56 profile image

      wrenfrost56 7 years ago from U.K.

      I really liked this hub, full of great ideas. Any friend of the planet is a friend of mine. :)

    • jayjay40 profile image
      Author

      jayjay40 7 years ago from Bristol England

      Thanks for the comment Dao Hoa-Gardening is catching, I caught the bug from my grandad.

    • Dao Hoa profile image

      Dao Hoa 7 years ago

      I used to have a big garden when my dad still farming. Now that he retired, I also stop gardening! I used cow manure as fertilizer! Composting in the city is not viable! Thanks for sharing.

    • jayjay40 profile image
      Author

      jayjay40 7 years ago from Bristol England

      Thanks Tonymac for the tip about the garlic I will give it a go. Slug pellets are more poisonous than people think

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

      Thanks so much for this Hub. The mantra reduce, re-use, re-cycle should be in everyone's minds. And the warning about slug pellets is excellent. I see many gardeners spreading the dreadful things about and it gives me the horrors! I strongly resist using them and am trying to keep my little garden as free of synthetic chemicals as possible.

      Composting is also an essential thing to do and gardeners should look into the benefits of companion planting. In a previous house I planted lots of garlic between my strawberry plants and got the biggest, tastiest strawberries ever.

      Thanks again

      Love and peace

      Tony

    • jayjay40 profile image
      Author

      jayjay40 7 years ago from Bristol England

      Thanks for the comment Mrs Moneypants

    • Mrs. Moneypants profile image

      Mrs. Moneypants 7 years ago from Canada and other places

      Excellent hub. Well written and very interesting.

    • jayjay40 profile image
      Author

      jayjay40 7 years ago from Bristol England

      Thank you for the comment Amber

    • Amber Allen profile image

      Amber Allen 7 years ago

      Hi Jayjay

      I agree that every little helps and the ideas in your hub will help us all. Well done.

      Amber

    • jayjay40 profile image
      Author

      jayjay40 7 years ago from Bristol England

      Thanks guys for reading the hub, i used to love the Herbs and couldn't resist putting dear old Parsley on a hub. Thanks for the ideas about the shampoo bottles 2uesday I will give it a go. I wouldn't be without my compost bin Scarytaff. Again thanks for dropping by

    • 2uesday profile image

      2uesday 7 years ago

      Excellent hub jayjay lots of great ideas all green and money saving. I use old shampoo bottles on top of the canes in the vegetable patch - to stop them causing eye injury and also in the hope that they will scare the birds from eating the fruit. Thanks for so many good ideas in one hub.

    • Paul Scanlon profile image

      Paul Scanlon 7 years ago from Birmingham, UK

      Parsley the lion from the Herbs!

      That brought back memories. Thanks Jayjay

    • scarytaff profile image

      Derek James 7 years ago from South Wales

      Good hub jayjay. I have a compost bin that does me proud, it's so full of red worms its amazing. Really good black compost comes out of it.

    • jayjay40 profile image
      Author

      jayjay40 7 years ago from Bristol England

      Thanks Hello hello and D A L for your comments I think half the fun of gardening is finding cheap enviroment friendly ways of doing it

    • D.A.L. profile image

      Dave 7 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Another informative money saving hub. Full of good advise. Thank you for sharing it with us.You do not need to spend a fortune to create a lovely, relatively pest free garden.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      They are my enimy number one. Thank you for your hub with a lot os good advice.

    • IzzyM profile image

      IzzyM 7 years ago from UK

      Nematodes look like the most promising eradication method for a host of plant pests. Good luck with them and if they work, make a hub about it! I don't think I can buy them here.

    • jayjay40 profile image
      Author

      jayjay40 7 years ago from Bristol England

      slugs are crafty, i planted 12 marigolds and within a couple of hours each one had been eaten by slugs, i might try nematodes this year. I don't think I fancy eating them LOL. Thanks for reading the hub

    • IzzyM profile image

      IzzyM 7 years ago from UK

      I also used beer traps for snails last year, but when I went out in the middle of the night it was for see a pile of them drinking the beer from precipitous positions on the neck of the container. Next morning they were all gone. Crafty gits didn't fall in and drown as they are supposed to! Last year I collected about 2 kilos of snails in less than half an hour for a neighbour who eats them. Yuk! But then again I am in Spain and snails are part of their diet. I need to find another method to contain them. They are breeding in my garden. There are literally millions of them and my garden is tiny! I saw a solitary blackbird last year. Hopefully she will return this year as blackbirds eat snails.

      Anyway, enjoyed your hub. Thanks very much :)

    • jayjay40 profile image
      Author

      jayjay40 7 years ago from Bristol England

      Thanks Suzie for the comment, i liked the old tyres they look good

    • suziecat7 profile image

      suziecat7 7 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Very nice Hub. I use beer for slugs. Some years there are so many of them I need a twelve pack. I like the creative use for old tires too.

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