Yesterday was Earth Day, but just because the day has come and gone doesn’t mean your green-up efforts should be put on hold until next year.
One easy way to stay green is to reuse things you would normally toss into the recycling bin by turning them into handy garden helpers. My Supermarket Super Gardens book is chock-full of ideas for recycling potential trash into terrific treasures ranging from bug traps to bird feeders.
For example, so-called “disposable” food-storage containers can be reused several times. Then, when they get too grungy for food storage or the lids go M.I.A., there’s still plenty of life left in them. Here’s just a sampling:
1. Wipe out mosquitoes. Fill large containers with water, add a few squirts of dishwashing liquid, and set them outside. When female skeeters set down to lay their eggs, they won’t get up again.
2. Lighten up big pots. Before you add potting mix, set closed smaller food-storage containers in the bottom. (Upside down if the lids are missing.) They’ll take up space and eliminate the weight of a lot of heavy soil. Use this trick only for flowers; trees and shrubs need all the room to roam they can get.
3. Trap slugs. Bury a container up to its rim in the soil, and fill it with an inch or so of grape juice. The slugs will belly up to the bar, tumble in, and die happy.
4. Make plant labels. Cut roughly 2-by-6-inch strips from the sides and bottom of old containers, and use a permanent marker to write the pertinent details on the top portion of each strip. Then insert the bottom part into the soil in your garden beds, or into the starting mix in your seed flats.