Many items that are normally binned can be of great use to the outdoor enthusiast. Here are ten ideas that won’t cost you anything.
1. Food leftovers: All leftover food is to be composted. Composting is becoming quite a thing to do, and special composting bins can be bought or even made quite easily. There are many different stories of what to do and each person will find the way that suits them. Keeping the temperature quite warm is the key to success. If you need quick results then just keep chucking it on the top and then just pull some out of the bottom of the heap, then sieve it and the compost will be ready to use for seeds and small plants.
2. Hedge cuttings: Instead of ordinary composting or burning it on the bonfire, see if you can get a hold of an electric garden muncher.
This takes branches of up to one inch thick and you just put them into a hole in the machine and it munches it up into little chips. These are great for keeping the moisture in the soil, so just spread them around the base of shrubs and fruit trees to control the temperature of the ground.
3. Decorating trays: Keep all roller paint trays and anything similar to use as seed trays. Get a pen and make some holes in the bottom of the tray for drainage. Add a little vermiculite or small pieces of gravel and fill with seed compost.
4. Thrown-out carpets, old cardboard boxes, and other bits and bobs can be put over the vegetable plot in Autumn to prevent those early spring weeds from coming up. Spread over the whole area and weigh down with rocks, lift off on a sunny spring day a few days before you want to work on it.
5. Recycle glass jars: Ones with sealable lids are the best for storing seeds, peas and beans until next year. After cleaning the jars, make sure they are totally dry by popping them into a warm oven before storing your seeds. Try and collect dark coloured jars, or wrap the paper around clear jars to prevent light damage to the seeds.
6. Yoghurt cartons: In fact, all dessert pots are great for re-potting seedlings. Again, make a hole in the bottom, put a little fine gravel or vermiculite and then fill with compost or soil.
7. Metal coat hangers: Make little cloches with old wire coat hangers. Make them into a square and then put the hook in the soil push down until the curve rests upon the top of the soil. Put another one a small distance away to make the two ends of the cloche. Then chuck over a sheet of plastic and weigh down the corners of it with rocks.
8. Lolly sticks: These make great row tags in your greenhouse rows or seed trays. They don’t last indefinitely but they are really good for writing the names of seeds on.
9. Aluminium bottle stops: Keep these from milk or juice bottles and coloured foil around drinks bottles. String together with cotton to make a bird scarer and put on fruit bushes before the birds start munching on the fruit.
10. Transparent plastic: These can be placed over a plant in cold weather to protect from frost damage.