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Re-use of bubble wrap envelopes and cardboard boxes.

Has anyone else experimented with using bubble wrap envelopes opened out, put plastic side down for standing pots on to keep warm and stop them drying out? I'm finding they retain more water than I imagined if I scrunch them up well before using them?

I'm somewhat concerned they might start roots to rot if I leave them to long though?

I'm also wondering has anyone found any other use for them since I find them infuriatingly wasteful when things arrive in the post - I know about using them opened up as the bottom layer of cat bedding - my cats discovered that not me, but are there any other specific gardening uses?

I had lots of success last year with using cardbord from large boxes to keep weeds down. They were quite slippery on the paths so I wouldn't recomend that unless you are not using the path for a while, but over the bare soil while I was waiting to plant it, and in between fruit bushes etc. they were an excellent weed suppressent and mulch. Again, my cats found multiple uses for them, but I'd like to hear of anyone else's experience, good or bad in using them please?


  • FireFire LondonPosts: 6,443
    edited March 2018
    I use bubble wrap in my little greenhouse, under or around plants. You can poke holes through if you worry about water collecting. I am also experimenting at the moment with wrapping my (small) compost rubbish bins in layers of bubble wrap to see if it makes a difference to break down times. I have made 'hats' for the bins (inside) to insulate heat. My house is currently full of old bubble wrap, polystyrene, wool and insulation board, as I have not just been saving it from packaging, but dumpster diving to dig out more.

    I am part of Olio, and other neighbour sharing networks. They are very active in my area. On Olio, locals are always looking for cardboard boxes for moving, so I save mine and after a month or so, give a stack to neighbours. People moving (or selling on Ebay) are often grateful for bubble wrap too. I know someone close by who sells online and so is always looking for free Jiffy bags. So I keep those too and pass them on. Ideally, a fixed amount of packaging materials would just go around and around.

    Olio began as a Free Food Sharing network but has now extended into all goods. I am trying to pot up self-popping plants I don't want and give them away instead of cursing and getting rid of them. I have given away shelves of ox eye daisies, periwinkle, strawberries, woodruff, crocosmia, salvia cuttings and a lot of collected seed. It's esp fun to give starter plants to new gardeners and children's plant projects in the neighbourhood (with careful caveats about certain potential thugs).

    Olio is great for sharing harvests too. We have a roaring exchange of apples, pears and courgettes in the summer.

  • DinahDinah Posts: 278
    Wow, some wonderful stuff going on there. You are right about making holes in the bubble wrap, very sensible. Good idea lineing the compost bin lid with it too. I notice that some of the compost bins that are made of pallet wood might be good to cover on the outside with a few taks. I am going to have a good look at olio. I might have to do some extra research on getting re-usable stuff to those who want to use it since I am about 8 miles from the nearest bus stop, 10 from the nearest town, in a "remote area" populated by a scattering of shepherds.

    I do love giving plants away. I put them in the drive way with a sign saying "help yourself free plants." They only tend to be picked up during the tourist season though, because the shepherds don't tend to have time for agriculture other than sheep and grass. The shepherd's wives might be mobilised to extend their activities to gardening and recycling so I should really start with them. It is a very exposed area, so they tend to keep indoors when they can (we are on one of the coldest points facing north and cut off by three mountains). I am now consentrating all my growing on fruit and vegitables, with a long-term experemental project to find those that will grow well here.

    I will check out the web link thoroughly and get back to you
    Many thanks,
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 6,443
    Cardboard is good for compost and fire starting, creating new lasagna beds. @Dinah, your region sounds wonderful. I met a couple in Ireland once who had built a whole proper eight foot garden wall, wide and solid out of newspaper. They planted into it, and topped it with grass. When I saw it, it just looked like an enormous living wall with a vast diversity of wild plants. It as enormously impressive. A labour of decades by environmental news enthusiasts.

    If you are into cob building, and the like, then that is a whole different ball game. Raw fleece, cardboard and newspaper comes into its own as insulation.
  • DinahDinah Posts: 278
    Lots of raw fleece. Lots and lots, and lots of it. Mostly shoddy. The best working pen in the valley happens to be at the end of our drive.

    I like the sound of the wall of papper!

    Some people have started building conventional walls here to be posh, but they have the whole thing wrong. If you use breeze blocks or bricks and morter you don't let the water through. On a mountain, if you build a solid retaining wall it will collaps in a matter of months when the weight of the water coming down the mountain gets behind it - what ever the foundations - you need the holes, letting the mud through slowly and sifted by the roots of a hedge on top till it's a nice pebbly filter. If you root out the slows and the gorse and the brambles from the tops it will collaps. The roads transport people are always coming along and clearing the hedges that "spoil the vews". Then the wall goes, and then the road collapses in the middle of winter. And they still keep doing it! - we have one cliffside road that goes regularly because people are assumed to want panoramic views unhindered by hedges. I'd role laughing.
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 6,443
    It sounds like the authorities here who insist on hedge whacking in the middle of nesting time; who strim all the verges of wild flowers.

    I imagine the sheep eating everything doesn't help with great torrents of water descending in the winter. Sheep grazing is a great problem in the UK national parks re erosion and desertification.

    If the people who set the policies had to clean up their resulting mess with a shovel, we would have a very different world.
  • DinahDinah Posts: 278
    Yes, the sheep make a quagmire of feilds and then it washes away. There is a mass migration up the mountain as soon as the wind drops to get out of the mud. Still, people want their lamb chops - I can't see the attraction myself. I don't really see the attraction of meat, but we are in a transition time. Most of the older people have always eaten it and their boddies are adjusted now to eating it in the diet. Maybe we are evolving away from meat now, it would be good if there were changes in the way the economy is set up that reflected this so people can make a living in other ways, but I never tell older people not to eat it because it is physically grueling for them to make such a big dietry adjustment in old age. Now young people - I will say "you don't need that" and tap on the table rudely, because they don't... "mummy mummy, a horrible old witch woman just told me I shouldn't eat my burger..." :D
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 6,443
    Witches keep the world together, my friend. Take it as a compliment. I would. 🌱
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 6,443
    I bet some cob bods would love all that fleece. Farms that I buy from now use fleece for packaging instead of bubble wrap or polystyrene. It works brilliantly well, keeps things very cold (or hot) and can be used over and over, indefinitely.
  • DinahDinah Posts: 278
    Kind words about us witches, times really must be changing :) Maybe if I can collect up a big lot of the shoddy and give it a wash i'll contact some cob people, or maybe build with it. I only use shoddy that's clipped off bums just before lambing in the garden. That is because I don't trust the dip. The shepherds get drenched in it, but I wouldn't want to be eating stuff that had been in contact with it. I imagine that if it is all sealed up in a wall, maybe the traces are very small. The big thing (and this is a very small thing, but it has big implications) is lyme's disease. It seems that you can have lyme's in sheep tiks, or you can have pesticides. I don't really want either! So I'm kind of not really a shepherdess to be totaly honest - more of a Witch and a gardener deffinately.

    But I've strayed off the subject of re-cycling and re-use, so getting back, I'm giving away vegitable plants and fruit in my driveway. I collected up a big lot of the small, empty plastic drinks bottles, cut the tops and bottoms off, turned them upside down, put a staple in the neck end, and have planted peas in them. The bottoms curl around when the staple holds them together, but the drainage is quite good and it isn't letting the soil through. I put a spoonfull of coir in the bottom to help stop leaching. They're standing up in vegitable creats at the moment. I'm hopeing this will be the last lot I'll use if the bottle deposit schemes take off, and there won't be half so many flung out of car windows. I'm still using lots of vegitable trays (the bulk sort you get loose mushrooms etc. in) for salad crops, and the flower buckets from supermarkets - with holes made in the bottom for various unusual soft fruit crops - until they get to big and need to be planted out. I know all of these things work very well. The following may sound a bit vulcherly, but I've inherited quite a few great bits of equiptment from older gardener's who have died. Shed demolishion pending, I aquierd nine very, very old long-tom pots. Some things were built to be used again, and again, and again.
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