As many of my fellow gardeners, I’m trying to reducing, re-using and recycle whatever I can on my veg plot.

On a side note, I work in the communications industry and could almost see a TV advert with a bunch of grow your owners in their dirty wellies and busy hoes holding an old gramophone and shouting “Reduce, re-use, recycle”. But that’s work stuff and I’m definitely not at work at the moment!

So, what’s this all about?

Reduce – in these austere times I’m sure we’re all trying to reducing our need for new growing products. For some gardeners this may simply be using their bean poles until they’ve completely rotten down rather than buying new ones every few years.

Re-use – I think this is a favourite pastime of many gardeners. We’re so innovative when it comes to what we re-use and all sorts of everyday household items can have a second or third life on the plot.

Recycle – most of us got some composting that’s going on…

This blog is mainly about re-using stuff and I’m keen to hear what you’re re-using and for what.

So, here are a few things which have worked for me on the plot.

There are never enough cloches…

We mostly buy 2 litre water bottles in our house, so at one point I starting thinking about what I could do with them on my plot. The obvious thing was to make mini cloches which I’m using regularly at the beginning and end of the growing season. These cloches really do the trick and protect early cabbages really well. I store them (well, throughout them on one of my compost bins!) and re-use them every year. I’ve re-used some of them for over 5 years.

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Need some stylish veg bed edging?

At some point I thought that there ought to be more ways I could use the 2 litre water bottles and came up with the idea to use it as edging for the fruit bushes bed. Make sure you use empty bottles so that there isn’t any problems in winter. It’s worked really well and still is a talking point among folk on our site!

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Old fence panels turned into raised beds…

I’ve also made a few raised beds from recycled wooden fence materials. They don’t look as pretty as shop-bought ones, but are equally as strong. I’m generally not a big fan of raised beds as they can dry out rather quickly, but having a few on the plot is a good idea.

Hedge turns into pea sticks…

I love peas and so do the boys. The problem’s just that they never make it into the kitchen. We normally eat them all on the plot. Now the problem is that one needs a lot of pea sticks to keep them off the ground. Well, I’m fortunate enough that there is a hedge to one side of my plot, so I just do a bit of pruning as and when I need pea sticks. They’re completely free and it helps to keep the hedge in shape at the same time!

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Compost, compost and compost again…

Now all of you veg growers will know that one can never have enough compost bins on a plot. Well, I’ve ‘instructed’ hubby to collect and drop 8 wooden pallets on my plot a while back only to find that they weren’t there when I got to the plot! I was livid, thinking that I couldn’t believe how mean some people were to steal wooden pallets. Turns out that hubby dumped them on a different plot 4 plots away from mine. I couldn’t believe it that after so many years he couldn’t remember which one was my plot. Anyway wooden pallets work really well for compost bins.

Little pots for all your valuable seedlings…

I make these little pots from newspaper for a lot of the seedlings I keep in the greenhouse. Just use a few sheets and roll them around a small glass and push the end in so that it can stand. I mostly use these in the spring and for veg which doesn’t like being disturbed. They work well for veg which isn’t in pots for long as the paper starts to disintegrate fairly quickly. I also use loo rolls and yoghurt pots (just make sure you make a hole in the bottom for drainage!)

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Not enough trays in your greenhouse…

I use shoe boxes as trays in the greenhouse. They’re really good for putting in loo rolls for seedlings as they’re high enough to properly hold them.

So, let’s all shout: “Reduce, re-use, recycle” as loud as possible (remember the advert I mentioned earlier?)

Happy veg growing to ya all!

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