With all this time at home, I – like many of us – have taken this opportunity to do some work in my garden. It’s such a great stress-reducing activity; one that kids can help with and one that yields such satisfying results.
I’m certainly no master gardener, but I have been learning how to use some of my household scraps, otherwise destined for landfill, to improve my beds, and I’m going to share some of those tips with you today.
Some of you may have compost bins already. I’m relatively new to the home compost but have been happy with how easy it is to do, and how much it reduces our garbage output. But you certainly do not need a compost bin to take advantage of some of the benefits of scraps in your garden.
If you don’t have a compost bin, and aren’t ready to make that leap, you can try trench composting. With trench composting, you simply dig a trench and place your compostables directly into the ground and cover. Remember, as with other kinds of composting, you should not put meat, bread or cooked food in your compost, as it may attract rodents.
If you’re a coffee drinker, try using your nitrogen-rich coffee grounds in the garden as a fertilizer. When doing this, it’s important to mix the grounds well with soil – rake them in, or mix with your compost (if you have it). Too much clumped together can harm your plants, so be sure to mix it well.
If you have a cold pot (or mug) left over, some plants will even appreciate your liquid coffee – as long as it is black (no milk or creamers, sweeteners or flavorings). Plants that particularly like acid will thrive with a cuppa, including blueberries, rhododendrons and azaleas.
Many of us have increased our online ordering and are sitting on an excess of cardboard boxes. Did you know that you can use cardboard in your garden to suppress weeds in a new garden bed? Remove any plastic tape or bales from the cardboard and place it flat in your garden bed. Cover with top soil and mulch and give it some time before planting anything. The cardboard will break down and decompose in the soil providing nutrient-rich compost and will help block weeds for a period.
If you have eggshells, grind them up and place them in the hole before planting. The calcium and other nutrients in the shells will help your plants grow, especially plants like tomatoes that need the calcium to thrive.
You can also use your ground eggshells as fertilizer in your soil, just till it thoroughly. This is best done in the fall, as the shells will take some time to decompose.
One of my favorite quarantine activities is re-growing veggies from scraps. Did you know some vegetables will regrow indefinitely in the right conditions? It’s so easy, and fun.
Green onions – after you’ve cut the green parts off and eaten them, place the white part and roots in some water so that the white is all covered. The onions will regrow quickly – change the water every couple days. Once the onions are a few inches long, you can plant them in your garden, or keep growing (and using) them in water.
Lettuces – place your spent lettuce stubs in a bowl of water and keep them in a sunny spot. The plants will regrow and you’ll have fresh lettuce in a matter of weeks. Once the stubs have grown about halfway, plant the in the soil.
Leeks, fennel and celery – are all easy, as above, place the bottom few inches of your stub in a shallow dish of water and keep in a sunny spot. Once you’ve got a few inches of growth, plant in your garden.
There are so many other vegetables that are easy to regrow that I can’t list them all here. But once you’ve successfully grown a few things, you won’t be able to stop! And you’ll save those scraps from the bin and save some money since you won’t have to repurchase every time.
And as always, while you’re prepping your outdoor space, remember how Absolute Green products can help you with our line of natural products. Whether you’re cleaning off your patio furniture with our multi-purpose cleaners, or using our deet-free bug repellants, we’re here to get you ready for summer.
What are some your favorite ways to use your household scraps to improve your garden?