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EXTRA RE-USE TIP/ ALTERNATIVE IDEA for stones at base of pots

I'd like to tell everyone of my new method for creating a real good long lasting and very drainable base for inside any new plants I pot up. (mostly my small ones).

Firstly you've got to eat a lot of nuts like I do.
But since vegan is becoming popular there's probably quite a lot of nut lovers around.

I thought a few years ago what a waste putting all my pistachio shells straight in the bin or wherever. They seemed too hard (hard as rock) to be recyclable or compostable even.

I searched and researched about it for quite a while.

Now I save them up on kitchen worktop in a smart little container.
.....Transfer to the garage......

Then use all pistachio shells for my base layer with even a few big stones sometimes. It is a great idea, I was told so when I relayed it to a rose lecturer at a local garden centre talk. She loved it and said she'd not heard of it before. So I thought I'd spread it on here .
Claire Wishywashy
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  • madpenguinmadpenguin Isle of WightPosts: 2,182
    Great idea.
    If I have a large pot to fill and want to save on compost I put all sorts of things in.
    Polystyrene is the norm for most people but I have also used glass jars and plastic bottles (with their lids on).Also filled a plastic carrier with all sorts to fill up space and when you come to empty the pot it is easier to disentangle from the soil and roots.




    You could leave yourself a message in a bottle and uncover it next time you repot!!!!
    “Every day is ordinary, until it isn't.” - Bernard Cornwell-Death of Kings
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 22,789
    Wine bottle corks are good too - not the plastic ones.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • WishywashyWishywashy Posts: 12
    Are they?, shame I do not drink wine that much but hey!
    Cork is it not going to soak up water, or not?. I know it is 100% natural just wondered if you know if it would soak up water?.
    Claire Wishywashy
  • B3B3 Posts: 15,485
    I use the polystyrene plant containers broken up into largish chunks. The soil filters through the gaps so they're not so much of a barrier to the roots when the plant grows and easy to pick out if you want to repot or compost the compost.
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 22,789
    @Wishywashy - yes, they do but that just means there's an extra reserve at the base for roots when it's a bit hot or you forget to water.   They are light in weight and easier to remove than polystyrene chips when planting out or potting on.

    Ask you friends to save them?   We tend to find increasingly that wine has plastic corks now or screw tops but the corks last ages and are re-usable. 
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • philippasmith2philippasmith2 Posts: 9,634
    I'd like to tell everyone of my new method for creating a real good long lasting and very drainable base for inside any new plants I pot up. (mostly my small ones).

    Firstly you've got to eat a lot of nuts like I do.
    But since vegan is becoming popular there's probably quite a lot of nut lovers around.

    I thought a few years ago what a waste putting all my pistachio shells straight in the bin or wherever. They seemed too hard (hard as rock) to be recyclable or compostable even.

    I searched and researched about it for quite a while.

    Now I save them up on kitchen worktop in a smart little container.
    .....Transfer to the garage......

    Then use all pistachio shells for my base layer with even a few big stones sometimes. It is a great idea, I was told so when I relayed it to a rose lecturer at a local garden centre talk. She loved it and said she'd not heard of it before. So I thought I'd spread it on here .
    Apologies but that is an old trick ;) .  You can do exactly the same with Hazel nut shells - in fact any hard shelled nut will do.
    If you have an electric grinder to hand, nut shells can also be a reasonable substitute for grit when mixing compost or topping pots.
    I'm surprised your rose lecturer wasn't aware of the possibilities of their use. It's rarely that natural products can't be used somehow in the garden - even if they need a bit of tweaking.
    Good idea tho to spread the word :)
  • WishywashyWishywashy Posts: 12
    edited July 2020
    Apologies that it wasn't perhaps as less known as I thought or was given the impression by a rose lecturer.  Afterall this is a quality forum as I see it.

    Unfortunately I don't have grinders or expensive tools and my arms are getting weaker with age, plus over use of computer mice.

    True though there's always a use.

    The pistachios were supposedly one of the hardest to decompose, or grind. Was a conclusion by many.
    Claire Wishywashy
  • philippasmith2philippasmith2 Posts: 9,634
    Apologies that it wasn't perhaps as less known as I thought or was given the impression by a rose lecturer.  Afterall this is a quality forum as I see it.

    Unfortunately I don't have grinders or expensive tools and my arms are getting weaker with age, plus over use of computer mice.

    True though there's always a use.

    The pistachios were supposedly one of the hardest to decompose, or grind. Was a conclusion by many.
    Sorry - wasn't meaning to be funny :)
    I know what you mean about arms  ( along with legs and knees ) getting weaker with age . 
    For the grit substitute, I wasn't thinking of large expensive tools - just something like an electric coffee grinder which would do the job - you can't get a whole lot of shells in at once but a couple of goes each day perhaps ?
    Egg shells too tend to be a bit under rated -  dried out ( sun or oven ) and broken up or ground, they do make a good topping for the likes of House Leeks, Cacti, etc.
    Agree about the Pistachio - as bad as chocolate - one is never enough ;)


  • historymanhistoryman Posts: 47
    It was suggested to me to use tea bags, I tried it and its works, also holds the water well in hanging baskets.
    As an aside tea bags also keeps cats off garden, apparently they don't like the smell.

  • MontysGalMontysGal South WalesPosts: 56
    I’ve been pondering the use of bottle caps/lids at the bottom of pots, as we seem to get so many in this house I feel the need to put them to some sort of use!
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