22 ways to reuse household waste in the garden

22 ways to reuse household waste in the garden


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Maintaining your garden using upcycled items is a great way to help protect the planet. Garden lovers, green-fingered or otherwise, can give a second life to all sorts of rubbish. Check out our 22 tips and tricks to use household waste to transform your outdoor space into a little green paradise!
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Quick tips to turn waste into gardening accessories

Lots of single use items can be reused to make our lives easier. The garden is a great place to make use of lots of items that would otherwise be thrown away.

  • Transform old toilet rolls, egg cartons, cupcake cases, halved lemons or egg shells into starter pots for your seedlings.

  • Use old spoons and stones to mark out plants.

  • Use plastic bottles to water plants or protect young plants.

  • Take cuttings from basil and succulents.

  • Deter pests (such as slugs and snails) using beer or coffee grounds.

  • Turn an old shower caddy into a hanging planter.

  • Mix water with bicarbonate of soda to tackle mildew.

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1. Turn toilet rolls into biodegradable pots

Turn toilet rolls into biodegradable pots

The idea is that while the roots of the plant grow, the toilet roll should break down in the soil.

2. Take cuttings from succulents

Take cuttings from succulents

Propagating plants by taking cuttings from plants you already have is a great way to save money. The process couldn't be simpler:

  • take a clean cutting of a leaf (or baby plants grown from the roots of the parent plant) using secateurs;

  • plant it in another pot;

  • wait until it develops a root system before watering.

Succulents do not require a lot of water. It is therefore very important not to water the cutting once if goes into the soil.

3. Make a starter pot using an old lemon

Make a starter pot using an old lemon

Be sure to cut little holes in the base of the lemon to allow for drainage.

4. Make a starter pot using an egg shell

Do not make any holes in the base of the egg as it could break.

Egg shells are rich in minerals and great for adding nutrients to compost.

5. Make a watering can using a water bottle

Make a watering can using a water bottle

This tip is perfect for watering seedlings without getting their leaves wet.

6. Take cuttings from basil

There is nothing simpler than taking cuttings from basil. Simply:

  • cut a stem around 10 to 15cm above a node;

  • remove the leaves from the stem;

  • place the stem in a glass of water and place it next to a window;

  • wait until the first roots measure about 1.5 cm;

  • plant it on!

Plant the cutting in a roll of toilet paper before transplanting it on to its final pot!

7. Start onion crops the easy way

Germinated onions in soil

Collect any onions that have sprouted to replant them.

8. Turn a shower caddy into a hanging planter

To do so, you'll need some weed control fabric to hold the soil in place.

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Plant protection

9. Use coffee grounds as fertiliser

If you want healthy plants, follow these steps:

  • pour the contents of a coffee filter into 2 litres of water;

  • mix;

  • leave it for 24 to 48 hours in a cool spot;

  • filter the mixture;

  • use it to water your plants.

Coffee grounds are a great way to repel pests like snails and slugs.

10. Hang old CDs from tree branches

CDs hung on branches

Sick of getting your cherries pinched? Try hanging up a few CDs in trees to scare off birds.

11. Use bicarbonate of soda to protect tomatoes

This tip is ideal for dealing with mildew. Simply mix it with some water and spray it onto your tomato plants.

Wash your car using bicarbonate of soda – your garden soil will thank you for it!

12. Collect egg cartons to start seeds

egg cartons and seedlings

Sow a seed in each compartment and wait for the seeds to germinate. When it comes to transplanting, separate the compartments and put them directly into the soil.

13. Attract slugs using beer

Pour some beer into a container and set it at the foot of any plant you want to protect. Slugs are attracted by the yeast and will get intoxicated and drown in the liquid.

14. Hammer old spoons to create plant markers

Use a hammer to flatten the rounded end of your old spoons to create markers to indicate different types of young plants.

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15. Use stones as markers

Painted stones

Add a pop of colour to your vegetable garden by customising stones to mark out your plants.

Place a stone at the base of your pot to stop your clay pebbles and drainage materials from escaping.

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Clay pebbles and drainage

16. Place a coffee filter at the bottom of your pots

If you want your plant roots to have more space, do not add gravel or stones for drainage to your pots. Instead, place a coffee filter at the bottom of your pot to prevent soil from blocking the holes.

17. Use bottles to water your plants

Here's a tip that will allow you to set off on holiday without a second thought! Simply:

  • pierce three holes in the bottom of a bottle using a nail;

  • make holes in the cap;

  • put your finger over the hole in the cap and turn the bottle over before filling it with water;

  • plant the bottle in the soil next to your plants.

18. Use plastic bottles for cold weather protection

This time, you'll be using a plastic bottle in the same way as you would a glass cloche.

Remember to remove the bottle during the day once the temperatures are high enough.

19. Use soap to stop soil getting under your nails

soap under nails to protect from soil

To keep your nails clean while you garden:

  • scratch the surface of some soap to fill in the gap between your skin and nails;

  • garden as you would normally;

  • wash your hands and remove the soap.

20. Use chamomile to tackle fungi

chamomile flowers

Plunge your seeds and seedlings in some chamomile tea to tackle fungi in the garden.

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21. Use cinnamon to deal with rot

Sprinkle some cinnamon around the base of plants to prevent them from falling victim to this terrible disease! It is also possible to combat rot by spraying some cinnamon tea onto leaves.

Turmeric, mustard and cloves also help to protect crops from fungi.

22. Use tin cans as pots

There's no need to buy small pots to plant herbs or succulents. Simply remove the top from tin cans and make a few holes in the base and you'll have yourself a nice little container! For a touch of creativity, you can always paint it.

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