Reusing During Social Distancing Times Gardening

Reusing During Social Distancing Times Gardening

Posted 2020-04-05 by Marie Vonowfollow
ImageMarie Vonow

In this time of social distancing which necessitates staying home as much as possible many people are spending time gardening. Gardening provides satisfaction from doing something positive. For some, gardening is not something they usually do and they don't have a supply of pots and such on hand. Don't worry, you may be able to reuse items you would usually throw away and save money at the same time.

Things to use as pots
I want to try growing various shrubs from cuttings. I have consulted the internet to find out which plants can be grown from cuttings at this time of the year. I need small pots for my cuttings.

At the moment I am planting more seeds than usual. I am starting some in pots and then replanting into the garden when they are established. In the past I have taken surplus empty small plastic pots to our local produce share for other gardeners to use, which means I don't have a supply on hand.

These can be used instead of plastic pots -
  • cut down milk cartons
  • cut down plastic milk bottles
  • margarine containers
  • ice cream containers
  • food cans
  • Make a few drainage holes in the bottom.

    By the time social distancing ends I hope to have a nice collection of plants to take to the produce share or to repot into pretty containers to give away as gifts.

    Nasturtiums ready to be transplanted ImageMarie Vonow

    I have a couple of polystyrene boxes in the shed, saved from when we moved house. The plan had been to keep these as packing boxes because I guess we will need to move house again sometime. I have changed my mind and will use these as containers for plants, probably veggies.

    I love my garden but there is little available space for new plantings. There is a lot of shade which I appreciate in hot weather but many plants need sun. There is a paved area behind the shed which receives plenty of sunlight. This would be a great spot for containers, such as the polystyrene boxes, especially now the weather is getting cooler.

    Mini watering can
    A plastic 2 litre milk bottle with holes hammered in the lid can be used as a mini watering can. I now have such bottles of water near newly planted seeds to make giving them a gentle drink easier. This is particularly useful in my front yard where I don't have a hose on hand.

    Makeshift path
    I have started planting veggies in a garden bed that needed a pathway in the middle to allow access for weeding and hopefully, picking my vegetables later in the year. I didn't have bricks or pavers lying around but there were some planks of wood in a pile of rubbish at the back of the yard. After removing some nails I laid three planks as a path.

    Path from planks of wood ImageMarie Vonow

    Seed storage
    If you save seeds you can store them in labelled envelopes. Keep used envelopes for this purpose or make envelopes from old magazine pages.

    Small jars from vegemite, jam or dried herbs can be used to store seeds. These have the advantage of being waterproof, airtight and insect proof.

    Bark chips, pea straw and sugar cane mulch can be bought from garden centres and some hardware stores. You may be able to order some over the phone and get delivery. However, you may have dry leaves or other material lying around in your garden. Instead of disposing of this try using it as free mulch.

    Organic material suitable for use as mulch includes -
  • fallen leaves (Large leaves need to be shredded.)
  • pine needles (Please note - not recommended in bushfire prone areas)
  • crumbled up bark

  • I have read leaf mould for the garden can be made by placing swept up leaves in a black plastic bin bag and soaking them. Tie up the bag and make a few holes at the top to allow the rain to get in. Make holes at the bottom of the bag to allow drainage of excess water so the leaves don't go slimy.

    Place the bag somewhere shady and be prepared to wait for a year or two for fungi to break down the leaves. It can then be used as mulch or soil conditioner. As this process takes a long time it won't be useful at the moment but would be good for the garden in time to come.

    This is something I want to try. I have a thick plastic bag from potting mix I will reuse instead of a new black plastic bin bag.

    It is possible to reuse numerous items you are likely to have on hand while going out is restricted. With a bit of ingenuity it is possible to enjoy the satisfaction of gardening, do your bit for the environment and also save a few dollars.


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