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happymarion wrote (see)

My friends save their sticks from their ice-creams at the amateur theatre we frequent automaticaly now, for me to take home and wash to make plant labels.

One of my work colleagues partakes in Tesco sushi at lunchtime and saves the chopsticks for me for plant labels.

Old inner tubes make strong rubber bands - slice at different angles for different sizes.

Underneath the kids trampoline makes a great extension to the chicken run.

Old tent poles for staking Hollyhocksand such - the good thing is you add each new length as the plant grows  this way  you don't have a field of sticks to look at all spring.

A paper potter can be made easily from a short length of tube and a slightly narrower length of wood.  If your interested - what you do is take a strip of newspaper and roll it on to one end of the tube so that the paper overlaps the tube then stuff the exess backinto the tube and use your stick to tamp down the newly formed pot. Its a work of seconds. (To make it stronger before you roll it you can fold a 1 cm edge along the length of the paper where the lip of the pot is to be.  To make it even stronger you can fold the tail end in half  to  make a diagonal finish to the paper)

To save on pruning all you need is a ball , a boy and his mates.

An old tee shirt cut into inch wide strip and rolled into a ball is good for tying up tomatoes Sheila

I'm trialling a new method of keeping the greenhouse warm at night.  Having collected plastic milk bottles and filled them with rain water, I have placed them under potting benches in the greenhouse so that they absorb heat from the sun in the day and slowly release it at night.  This will also provide a store of water which I can use to water plants if we have a dry spell.  

I use an empty, washed out plastic milk bottle as a scoop for putting soil into plant pots.

Instructions - turn the plastic bottle upside down with lid on. Cut a slant edge from the bottom.Hold the handle and happy gardening .


I make insecticide, especially for greenfly and whitefly, by soaking nettle leaves, and later in season, rhubarb leaves, in a large container of water for about a week. Strain off the liquid. Add handful of soap flakes or a squirt of washing-up liquid. Then put in watering can at ratio of about 1 part of solution to 9 parts water. Apply to plants once a week when infestation is bad. If using in a spray gun I water the liquid down a bit more to stop the nozzle clogging because of its viscosity. I have found no problems, but use caution, and find your best mixture with a bit of trial and error!

Farmers are quite pleased to see the back of their empty liquid fertalizer containers and they make a great 1000 litre water storeage tank. Along with old dustbins which freestand about in my alloment.


I re-use old margerine containers as mini seed propagators.  Clean them thoroughly and put some holes in the base.  Cut out most of the centre portion of the lid using a craft knife or sharp scissors, leaving a frame around the edge.  The design on the top usually gives a neat template for this.  Fill the pot with compost, sow your seed and cover with cling film. Replace the lid, which then creates a tight seal.  You can easily see progress through the cling film.

In then cut the discarded top into 3 strips to use as markers, using a chinagraph pencil or marker pen.

I also clean and re-use supermarket meat trays.  The opaque ones make good drip trays.  match them to fit your seed trays, margerine containers or modules (I save the ones I buy seedlings in, with careful handling they last several years and save ££s).

The clear plastic ones make excellent propogator tops - again match them to the bottoms and you get a snug fit.

We don't buy expensive canes from the garden centre. We got ourselves a non-invasive variety of bamboo which grows at the back of the garden & acts as a screen - it's so easy to use the mature canes from that each year for plant supports, plus they can be bent when freshly cut, and the used dried out canes are good for making homes for overwintering insects.

Join bamboo canes together to provide frames for netting etc, by using old tennis balls  with slits cut to take the canes, instead of buying the expensive rubber balls and other fixings.  (If you haven't got a tennis player in the family, you can get packs of cheap balls from pound shops). 

Take a tip from fishermen and repair torn netting instead of buying more.

Shake the worst of the dirt from fleece and put in the washing machine to use again.

Use clothes pegs for holding fleece, netting, etc. to canes.

Put EMPTY snail shells on the top of canes as eye protectors.

Salvage(or scrounge from furniture shops) large pieces of polythene from large delivered items (e.g. beds) to use as covers for 'tunnels' (made from salvaged wire coathangers).

I lost two lots of young healthy pea seedlings in my greenhouse a couple of years ago  (mice, I think!) so I salvaged some plastic runged shelves from fridges in my local council dump.  I placed long bamboo canes through the metal bars in the eaves of my greenhouse and hung the shelves on with sturdy twine.  The seedlings thrived and were out of the way of any rodents. 

I have kept my old bath tub and before winter filled it with the year old compost from my black plastic compost bins and all the tired compost in containers. Mixed it up and left covered in foam carpet underlay over wonter. I just uncovered it today and gave it a stir and it is teeming with lovely worms. Once tipped onto the garden there will be room to tip out all the kitchen compost from over winter and off we go again.

A seasonal Easter tip here - if you are a lover of hard boiled eggs, why not try this little trick - once you have finished your scrummy egg, plant up your seeds in the empty egg shell - once they have matured a little, then can then be popped straight into the ground - the shell will break down and provide nutrients to your plant as it does so - win win!  

In times of drought - after washing up, pour your washing up water on your garden and water plants.   The washing up liquid will not do the plants any harm.


Eddie J
Jufi wrote (see)

Love what Eddie J has done, just wish I knew where to get scrap Oak. 

Here you go, another cheap project.

One simple curved oak bench that measures approx 8' long x 16" wide x 4" deep. Total cost £25.00 The squirrel was simply carved out from more scrap oak.


Always have a gardeners eye for reusing seeming useless items, to date I have

1) Reused the wooden slats from an old venetian blind as plant labels, plus the control wand as a plant support and the strings for tying back. 

2) Large thick plastic ice cream pots now double as plant pots (They just needed a few holes drilled through the base for drainage).

3) Old decking boards leftovers from a friends decking project made a great raised planter (check the internet for raised bed plans if unsue how to do this) or alternatively scaffold boards can be brought cheaply from reclamation yards.

4) An old double glazing unit recycled, the glass taken out of the white upvc frame work and used to make the lidded top of a cold frame. The timber side walls were originally from an old shipping pallett that I carefully pulled apart.

5) Save seeds for replanting the following year - Several excellent guides on this site alone.

Excitable Boy
Pinkshoes wrote (see)

I use an empty, washed out plastic milk bottle as a scoop for putting soil into plant pots.

Instructions - turn the plastic bottle upside down with lid on. Cut a slant edge from the bottom.Hold the handle and happy gardening .

Nice one!

Don't forget to use the bit you have cut off by cutting it into strips which make great plant labels!!


I use the polystyrene trays from the fish & chip shop to place between the plantpot and the planter, for when they stand in the greenhouse through the winter.Helps keep them warm.

Also old washing up bowls with holes drilled in, for planting shallow rooted salad crops ie lettuce, radish, etc as my veg patch is small and space at a premium.

Old tights legs are great for tying things up as theres lots of elasticity, and they don't cut into stems. Can be used complete for the hevy stuff or cut into 1inch strips for the delicate bits.

Of course bits of polystyrene packing in the bottom of pots instead of crocks as this cuts down on the weight.

Rob Stevens

Foil take-away cartons (thoroughly washed) - either with holes in for seeding trays, or without used as trays for seeding pots on window sills allowing plenty of water to be added from the base. The circular ones are the perfect size for 6 small decomposeable pots.