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Have just been checking out previous recycling threads of which most are old. As such, I thought I'd start a new one with some possibly original ideas.

Builders Bulk Bags. Many uses.

The large bags they use to deliver sand, gravel etc.

They are porous and make an excellent weed suppressant. Much better than the expensive commercial suppressants especially if you have a gravel garden. Why? Because constant walking over gravel with the commercial suppressant will eventually tear through. Not with the bulk bags.

Be careful cutting it into pieces if you use a utility blade. They are tough.

Most are nylon and lo and behold you can pull the strands apart and use them as plant ties!

You can also use cut pieces to line the bottom of a pot. No need for pebbles and the soil won't fall through but the water will.

Great for putting under a mulch.

Don't ever pay for one! Just look around and see where there is building work or garden renovation. Ask the contractor and it is likely they will be glad for you to take it off their hands. I have been given ten in the past week!

I even use the loop handles off the bags to fasten to the shed roof to hold long pieces of wood!

Plant Labels

Waterproof and durable Is the strapping they use to hold bricks together. You'll find it laying around in all sorts of places. You can write on it with a Sharpie or wax pencil such as Chinagraph. Cut it to suit.

Don't throw away your empty liquid plant food containers. Cut them up with snips and make them into labels. Depending on the colour of the container you can colour code your plants e.g. Red = drought resistsant. You can also cut up containers you use in the house, just make sure they are washed. Again, use a Chinagraph pencil for marking.

Florists Buckets

Get them from most supermarkets. They make excellent plant labels when cut up. You'll need tough hands. Write on them with a silver or gold liquid pen.

You can also cut them down and use them as sub-plant pots for alpines and shallow rooted plants. Do not pay for them!

Handy All

If you use washing tablets or sachets such as Persil they usually come in an oblong plastic container. When empty fasten it to the wall in the garden shed for holding bits and bobs.

Seed Experimenting

A certain fast food outlet has small tough paper containers for squirt your own tomato sauce into. They make excellent mini pots for the window sill if you are sowing the odd experimental seed. Yes, they are waterproof!

The same outlet also have excellent stirring sticks which can be utilised for labelling plants. Well...they do encourage us to recycle!

Terracotta Pots

Ikea sell plant pots with a deep saucer with each pot. No extra charge. Drill through the saucer and use it for shallow rooted plants such as Sempervivum. That's two pots for the price of one!

Charity Shop Pots

No, not terracotta pots but any old vase or similar that has been donated. You can pick up some weird stuff! Avoid glass and anything that has been glazed all over. You need to know what you are doing to drill through glass and ceramics. Look underneath the pot and see if it is unglazed. If yes, then get out the masonry drill and put some holes in it. You'd be surprised how fetching a single tulip can look in a nicely drilled out vase.

Wooden food bowls also look great when weathered. Same again, cannibalise it by drilling some holes in the bottom.

More later. Don't forget: Penny wise, pound foolish!


Last edited: 01 August 2017 21:59:17



  • Good tips Mike, especially the slats. ?

    I like to use Chinagraph black or white for writing. Will write on almost any surface and is weather resistant yet can be scrubbed off and reused.

    Need to find out how cut cut small labels from roofing slate. 

  • Ladybird4Ladybird4 Posts: 37,713

    Robert - what excellent suggestions. Thank you very much for passing on your tips. A tile cutter for your roof slates maybe?

    I have a builders bulk bag which I use in the boot of the car to transport stuff to the local recycling centre so I don't see me cutting that up just yet image

    Cacoethes: An irresistible urge to do something inadvisable
  • KT53KT53 Posts: 8,944

    Robert, are you Bob Flowerdew in disguise?? image

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 30,006

    Currently saving all cardboard packing cases to lay on bare veggie beds over winter to keep weeds down and worms warm.    Will plant thru them next spring.

    Saving all plastic bottles - not a lot as we have a soda fountain - to make sunken watering devices for pumpkins, squashes and the new fruit cage when it's built.

    Saving all compost bags to hold leaves when they fall in autumn.

    Buying old wooden bed frames as and when I see them going cheap.  They'll make handy sized raised beds in the potager for asparagus and strawberries.

    Can't be fagged cutting up old pots for labels but do re-use labels several times.

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • No. I give advice freely when I know the subject. He charges.

    Todays tip. redycle old drain pipes by making a musical tulip display. Cut each one to resemble an Andean Pan Pipe. Make sure you get standard size tulips. Blow on them if you wish. Look great on the entrance to a path - one pipe each side.


    Last edited: 02 August 2017 12:24:50

  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,530

    My plant labels are lolly sticks, chip forks and coffee stirrers which my husband collects on his morning walks along the prom. On the rare occasions I get up early enough to accompany him, I take a bag and collect seaweed to mulch the spuds and rhubarb.

    I shop online a fair bit so I get lots of cardboard and it all ends up on the garden one way or another.  Big sheets on the empty veg plots like Obelixx does (I cover the cardboard with hedge and grass clippings, then netting with bricks on the edges to keep it all from blowing about.). Small bits of cardboard I tear in pieces the size of my hand and put them in the compost bin when I've got green stuff to go with it.  I have two plastic dustbins tightly packed with cardboard, into which I pour the first wee of the day, that being the most concentrated.  When one is full I start on the second. When that's full, the first is ready to use as mulch. And it doesn't smell bad.

    Odd saucers and plates from charity shops under plant pots. Big plastic coffee jars for brewing nettle and comfrey tea.

  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,530

    The TV guide gets turned into paper pots for sowing seeds. Newspaper and junk mail shredded and mixed with grass clippings in the compost bin. A4 paper that's only been used on one side folded up to make seed packets.

  • Today's tip. Adhesives

    If you are using any form of resin glue in the garden such as fixing damaged terracotta pots you will need to protect your hands. Resin glue such as Araldite - which is brilliant - can be messy. It's impossible to get off your fingers. You won't want to ruin good gardening gloves so help yourself to the free gloves they give away at the diesel pumps in your local fuel supplier. They can be a bit baggy for those with small hands. Secure them with an elastic band over your wrist.

    Mixing the two part glue is best done on a stiff piece of cardboard using one of those free wooden sticks you get in fast food, fast tummy ache places.

    And finally. If you have had some two pack resin in the shed for sometime it will be difficult to get it to flow easily. Solution: Stick it in a cup of hot water for a few minutes. Don't scald yourself!


  • Bee witchedBee witched Posts: 1,294
    Great tips everyone ...

    I use the clear drawers from the bottom of old fridges as cloches over alpines during the winter. I put a heavy boulder on to stop it blowing away. The plants are protected and stay nice and dry.

    To keep the water in my waterbutts sweet I've put some charcoal briquettes into old pop socks. I've then tied these to the neck of a plastic water bottle  .... half-filled so that it floats but the sock and briquettes are submerged. The floating bottle also stops the water freezing in the butts.


    Gardener and beekeeper in beautiful Scottish Borders  

    A single bee creates just one twelfth of a teaspoon of honey in her lifetime
  • DampGardenManDampGardenMan Posts: 1,054
    Robert343 said:

    Need to find out how cut cut small labels from roofing slate. 

    Excellent idea - I was just about to use a stack of old broken bits for hardcore. A small angle-grinder should do the trick.

    What do you use to write on them?
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