As gardeners, we’re always trying to make the most of what we have…
But sometimes our creative juices need a refill! Here are 15 different ways you can upcycle and repurpose items in your garden!
Be sure to comment below with your own methods :)
1. Turn Styrofoam Cups Into Planters
Ideally you’re not using a lot of styrofoam cups to begin with, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. If you have some extra lying around the house from an old party, you can use them as miniature greenhouses to start seeds, root your cuttings, or transplant seedlings.
2. Turn Mushroom Containers Into Planters
Similar to styrofoam cups, you can upcycle the styrofoam containers that mushrooms come in (or you can just grow your own mushrooms). They make amazing little planters for starting seeds or fitting into a tight space.
3. Turn Egg Cartons Into Germination Trays
A great way to reuse egg cartons is to turn them into ‘germination stations’, as I like the call them. Adding a little soil to the separate sections for each egg turn the carton into a 12-18 seed starter tray.
4. Use Plastic Bags To Create Mini Greenhouses
No matter how hard you try, sometimes you still use plastic bags in day to day life. It hurts to throw them away and send them into the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, so why not turn them into the covers for mini-greenhouses?
To do this, all you need to do is cover your pots and seedling trays with plastic bags. Use sticks or skewers to keep the bag upright and aerated.
5. Use a Crib for a Trellis
If your children have outgrown their cribs and you’re wondering what to do, wonder no more! They make fantastic trellises for the garden.
All you need to do is disassemble the crib and use various parts as you see fit. They work especially well for cucumbers and any vining plant that likes to spread out horizontally.
6. Use Clothing as Plant Ties
If your old clothes are too ratty to send to Goodwill or donate to someone in need, then use them in the garden. They’re fantastic ties and supports for heavy fruiting varieties of tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, and more.
7. Use Fence Pieces For Container Gardening
When redoing a fence, the tendency is to give away all of the old wood or use it as firewood. Instead of burning it, you can turn it into containers with just a little bit of extra work.
Saw down the planks into the same size and arrange into a cylinder, then use an old trashcan on the inside for support and tie rope around the outside for stability.
8. Use Trash Cans For Compost Bins
Trash cans tend to break and crack due to sun exposure, but that doesn’t mean their useful life has passed. You can use them as compost bins.
- Dig a hole the circumference of your trash can
- Drill holes every few inches in the sides of the can for aeration
- Cut out the bottom of the trashcan
- Sink the trashcan into the dug out hole
- Fill with browns and greens and add living garden soil for beneficial bacteria
- Add water
- Put lid on
- Stir every few days
9. Turn Wine Corks Into Containers
If you have a love of the humble grape’s liquid form, chances are good you’ve got wine corks lying around the house somewhere – maybe even in a bucket somewhere as a collection. Put them to use! You can easily dress up a pot with cork on the outside to turn something drab into something beautiful. Just hot glue them to the outside of an old planter pot.
10. Weave Rope Into Containers
Similar to the wine cork tip, you can use old rope and wind it around ugly pots to create something organic looking and new. Just wind tightly and hot glue together to make sure it all stays put.
11. Use Milk Crates as Shelving
Most of us don’t have milk delivered to the door anymore, but we may still have some old milk crates lying around the yard somewhere. These make perfect upcycled garden shelving for plants, pots, or tools.
12. Turn Wine Bottles Into Garden Bed Edging
Just like your wine corks can pretty up an old, dusty pot, your wine bottles can make a statement in the garden as well. The most effective way to use them is as garden edging to separate out one section of your garden from another.
13. Use Potting Soil Bags As Lining
One place you usually can’t avoid using plastic is when you go out to the garden center and pick up some potting soil. However, it’s easy to repurpose these old bags – just use them as liner for your garden beds and pots! The type of plastic is safe for gardening and makes a great liner for most garden beds.
14. Use Food Cans as Vases
If you don’t feel like sending your metal food cans to the recycling center and want to upcycle them yourself, using them as flower vases or cutting rooters is a fantastic way to upcycle them.
15. Use Kitchen Scraps as Cuttings
This one is so cool that we have two posts on the topic here:
Header photo courtesy of Harriet Schwartz