Tuesday, October 18, 2011

DON’T TOSS THAT POT! October 19, 2011

Or 8 useful ways to recycle your old nursery pots.

I read this article about recycling nursery pots and realized that I did a lot of these ideas already but found a few new ones as well and thought I’d pass them on in my blog. I keep some pots to use for pass along plants, seedlings and dividing but often end up with way more than I need so was happy to see there were some creative ways to use the left over pots. I also discovered that Lowe’s Home Improvement Stores will recycle your old pots too! I hope you find these ideas as useful as I did.

1. PLUG THAT HOLE*- Potting mix will often dribble out the bottom of a large container so use a multi-pack or 2-inch nursery pot to cover the drainage hole. The pots also have drainage holes but are small enough that the soil won’t wash through. FILL UP CONTAINERS- The pots can also be used to take up some space in the bottom of large containers instead of using packing peanuts, milk jugs or 2-liter soda bottles. Place them upside down and they will save on potting mix and even make the container lighter.
2. SCOOP SOIL*- Use a sturdy nursery pot to scoop potting mix out of the bag and into containers. Double up on them if you have flimsy one that keeps buckling.
3. PROTECT PLANTS- When a late frost or storms comes in, it can damage tender newly planted bedding plants. Protect them by placing a large pot over each plant before the threatening weather arrives. Use something like a rock or brick to weigh the plant down but be sure to test it first to see if the pot can handle the weight. Not all pots are sturdy enough to try this idea and you wouldn’t want to crush that new plant! Remember to remove the pot as soon as possible once the bad weather has moved on.
4. PLANT A BARRIER- Some plants if given the opportunity will take over the whole garden! Cut the bottom out of a pot, sink into in the ground and you can keep aggressive plants like mint, more controlled. Leave the edge of the pot sticking above the soil 1” or so the plant can’t send out runners.
5. STORAGE MADE EASY*- Keep plant tags, twine, or small tool all in one handy spot. Use several of the 4” pots one for tags, ones for gloves, etc. for even better organization in your tool shed or potting bench.
6. PLANT IN SHADE*- Growing annuals under a tree with a shallow root system is a challenge that often has us giving up having flowers in that spot. Nursery pots can make it easier. Try setting several empty gallon pots between the tree’s roots. Then fill a different gallon-sized pot with potting mix, plant your annual and slip the plant-filled pots into the empty ones. When the flowers fade or need replacing you can easily slip in a fresh gallon-sized pot filled with new annuals.
7. GET MORE PLANTS- Layering is a lot s easier using a nursery pot. To do this, find a low-growing stem you’d like to root. Dig a hole and set a soil-filled gallon-sized pot nearby the stem you selected. Then pull then stem down to the ground and pin it in the pot with a landscape staple. Roots will form in a few weeks and the new plant will already be in a pot. This method conserves water and keeps the pot from getting knocked over. When the layered stem has taken root, cut the connection to the main plant and lift the gallon container out of the ground and plant or pass the new plant along to a friend.
8. SPREAD FERTILIZER- Slip one round 4-inch nursery pot inside another and you have an instant spreader for palletized fertilizer. Lin up the drain holes and all the contents flow out quickly. Twisting the inner container reduces the amount of fertilizer coming out and allows for more even application.

I have already been using the * ideas in my own yard but was happy to see these other ideas and plan to try them as well. How about you? See any ideas you can use in your own garden?

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