Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Gardening: Recycling

Let's face it, gardening isn't cheap. There's a lot of money put into it. There are ways, however, to make it friendlier to your wallet. There's tons of ways to recycle, reduce and reuse in the garden. I have to admit that I'm not as creative as some people but I do have my moments. If you google "Garden recycling" you'll find a million entries and ideas on how to save and help the environment at the same time.

Here are a few things I do. Remember the 3 lilac bushes I tackled and hacked into a reasonable shrub? Well, I made sure to keep the long strong stems to use as stakes and trellises in the garden. Why spend money on bamboo stakes when I get them for free (after a little UPicking).

Here's 3 melon starts I bought. I hadn't planted them yet because of the icky weather. This weekend they went into the ground. They had gotten big since I got them so I staked them with some of the leftover lilac branches. I hope they do well. I've never grown melons before! If they live, I'll built a trellis for them to climb.
Here's a tepee trellis I made with some of the longer branches. They're for my sweet peas that have been attacking the other plants in the pot. This way they'll have something to climb on (and hopefully leave their neighbors alone).
I have a compost bin and a worm bin outside. As a result, I save food scraps. I've heard that coffee grounds can be good for acid loving plants. They provide some nitrogen for the plants. Some people say that tomatoes like coffee grounds. I'm testing that theory this year. Local coffee shops will often save used coffee grounds for customers. Don't be afraid to ask. I went to my local Seattle's Best coffee shop and sure enough, they had a bag. What a bag it was. My plants will be drinking coffee all summer long. Be sure to use in moderation (just sprinkle a little bit in a circle around the plant. Smooth out the grounds and leave a thin layer. I've done it once this season with established tomato plants and so far they're digging the java jolt. I'll probably reapply in 3 weeks or so.
Another thing tomatoes dig are eggshells. I usually keep those separate from kitchen scraps just for my tomatoes. When I have enough, I grind them up in a mortar & pestle. If I don't have enough eggshells, I use Tums. I had a bottle expire so I kept them for the plants. Calcium helps prevent blossom end rot in tomatoes. What the heck and why not. I usually sprinkle this concoction around the plants. Don't forget to save the water used to hard boil eggs too. Just be sure you allow the water to cool before watering your tomatoes (or you'll just kill your plant). Some calcium leaches out into the water when the eggs cook so it makes a great liquid feed for tomatoes.
Who says cats can't be helpful in the garden?

My cat has a litter that she likes. Years ago I tried to change it and let's just say she wasn't having it. I buy these buckets from Target with her favorite litter. As a result, I always have a surplus of litter buckets around. This year I'm re-using them as planters. I drill holes in the bottom to let water flow out.

Here's some dill I planted in her recycled litter buckets.

I also planted my backup Patty Pan Squash this weekend. I lost 1 of 2 plants to the rains. I hope this guy makes it! And thanks to cats!

I'd love to hear how YOU recycle in your garden!
I'm linking up to Jami's Tuesday Garden Party at An Oregon Cottage and Brianne's Oh, How My Garden Grows at Just Trying to Save Money this week. Be sure to visit their sites!



Ott, A. said...

I'm going to use coffee grinds on the hydrangea's I just planted this past weekend. My soil is not very acidic and the coffee grinds will help the flowers to have a bold color. Great tips thanks for sharing!

~Holly~ said...

Ooohh, I read hydrangea's LOVE coffee grounds, esp if they're supposed to be blue and aren't. I hear a little bit will make them nice and blue. Good luck!!

Tosha said...

You can also use the kitty buckets as topsy turvey type hanging planters. Our tomato that is upside down is downing so much better than the one planted conventionally. Do a swag bucks search for a tutorial!

Everything looks tasty!

Brianne said...

I will have to try the coffee grinds thing, I had heard it before. But since we do not drink coffee, I have never tried it. I guess I will have to ask my mom to save her coffee grinds for me.

Everything looks great!!

zentmrs said...

Great ideas! I'll have to try the coffee grounds and the eggshells tips. Thanks for sharing!

ana @ iMadeItSo said...

thanks for the coffee grind tips. i've read so much about them recently. and thanks also for stopping by my blog yesterday for the garden tour, and taking the time to comment. ~ana