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bonnie-plants-tomato There’s no better way to “green” your garden than by repurposing old or found objects as garden supplies. Read on for inspiration and write in to tell us your own suggestions!

Recycled brick for edging paths
  • How to:
    The DIY Network
  • Where to find it:
    Craigslist, Freecycle, demolition companies

CD's, aluminum pie plates, metal lids etc.
Shiny, reflective objects help keep birds and other animals out of your garden.

  • How to:
    Hang with string from trees or fence posts
  • Where to find it:
    Scratched CDs, old kitchen items can be donated or brought from home/school

Row markers/plant IDs from plastic milk jugs, tofu containers, margarine cups, or anything else with hard plastic.  Wooden popsicle sticks also work well.

  • How to:
    Cut 1” plastic strips.  Label with name of garden or plants
  • Where to find it:
    Can be found digging through the recycling bin or from kitchen cabinets. Popsicle sticks can be from previously consumed popsicles!

 Bed borders –Decorative: rocks of varying sizes. Mixing large and small can make a nice decorative pattern.

  • How to:
    Line raised beds with evenly spaced rocks
  • Where to find it:
    Found in the ground or surrounding yard

Mini-greenhouse/frost protection for individual plants: plastic soda bottles or milk jugs.

  • How to:
    Cut off the bottom of milk jug or bottle. Place over plant with small end facing up.
  • Where to find it:
    Kitchen recycling bin

Plastic mesh baskets from cherry tomatoes or strawberries: protects newly sprouted seedlings from birds

  • How to:
    Place empty basket upside-down over sprout. When plant is touching the top, it is big enough for birds not to eat it.
  • Where to find it:
    Kitchen recycling bin

Metal coffee cans or small buckets: support melons and squash as they mature. Prevents soil-borne insects and diseases, and concentrates the sun’s warmth to transfer to the fruit.

  • How to:
    Place container upright to keep fruit off the ground
  • Where to find it:
    Coffee canisters and small buckets can be found in kitchen recycling bins or donated

Container gardens can be made from old wheelbarrows, wooden barrels, olive oil or coffee cans, old watering cans, rubber boots, old hats

  • How to:
    Line containers with plastic bags or sheets to keep the soil in place. Fill with soil.
  • Where to find it:
    Donations, recycling bins, Freecycle, craigslist “free” section

Styrofoam packaging: use it to check seed viability instead of paper towels

  • How to:
    Soak seeds in a thin layer of water at the bottom of a Styrofoam container
  • Where to find it:
    Used packing materials.  Be sure to re-use; do not buy new Styrofoam. Can use containers from grocery store (i.e. for mushrooms).

Styrofoam packaging: use as drainage in the bottom of pots

  • How to:
    Tear up bits of Styrofoam, place at bottom of pot and fill the rest with soil
  • Where to find it:
    Used packing material

Plastic 2-liter bottle: use as a container garden water system

  • How to:
    Remove label and decorate bottle with paint and stickers.  Fill with water and place upside-down in soil with lid removed.
  • Where to find it:
    Kitchen recycling bin

Yogurt cups, egg cartons, other recycled containers: use as seed starters

  • How to:
    Fill containers with soil. Place seeds in soil according to package instructions
  • Where to find it:
    Kitchen recycling bin

Other garden project ideas:

  • Birdhouses: from recycled lumber, gourds, coffee cans
  • Mosaics from broken plates and dishes, broken pots, etc.
  • Other found  items such as furniture that can be turned into garden accessories such as chairs and old ladders as trellises.
  • Wind chimes can be made from scrap pieces of metal parts

Recycled materials to leave out of the garden:

  • Barrels that once held petroleum, chemicals or other toxins: don't use these for rain barrels or container gardens.
  • Railroad ties for raised bed lumber, because they may have been treated with creosote, a toxic substance
  • Pressure treated lumber or wood that has been painted with lead paint
  • Old tires because they can leach chemicals into the soil and garden