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Recyclebank's Top 10

Recyclebank’s Top 10 Green Gardening Tips For Your May Flowers 5

By Recyclebank |

Make your greens even greener this season. From soil to seedlings and pots to planters, gardening can actually reduce waste.

April showers bring May flowers — and a whole host of opportunities to spruce up your gardening habits. Follow the greenest month of the year with double the green this month: Look to your plants and gardens to find new ways to reduce waste.

Here are our top 10 ways to green your garden’s greenery. From cutting down on the trash generated by gardening to gardening in a way that reduces the amount of household items you need to buy (seriously!), there’s a tip here for every shade of green thumb.

Supercharge your soil and create less waste at the same time — you might be surprised by what can go from inside your home straight into the ground.

1. Start a compost pile in your backyard. All of your fruit and vegetable scraps (no dairy or meat) can be used for compost. Not only does this stop this food waste from going to a landfill, it also can enrich your soil! Win-win.
Read More: Infographic: Mining Black Gold

2. Add used coffee grounds to your soil. Used coffee grounds headed for the trash can definitely find a better home in your garden (they can be great for the soil!), just be sure to spread them out carefully to prevent mold from growing.
Read More: Because You Asked: How Can I Use Coffee Grounds as Fertilizer?

3. Save your newspapers for mulch. We know most news is digital nowadays, but some of us still like to keep it old school with a hard copy. And though newspaper is recyclable, gardening season gives us another good to the trash: Use your newspapers as mulch or a weed deterrent by laying it flat around your plants.
Read More: The List: 7 Reasons I Miss My Newspaper Subscription

The plants you choose for your garden or for indoor décor can help you avoid paper waste and even replace some typical household products.

4. Skip the seedlings. Instead, purchase seeds directly from a nursery or even trade seeds with friends to avoid all of the unnecessary packaging that comes with seedlings.
Read More: Working Toward Zero Waste Gardening, Together

5. Go seedless. Seeds can come in unnecessary packs and packaging compared to this alternative: Ask any friends with cool plants if you could take a small cutting from their plant to start your own! But note that this could be trickier than it sounds; be sure to research just how to do this before trying.
Read More: The List: 6 Ways I’ve Greened My Houseplant Obsession

6. Choose plants that serve multiple purposes. Pick plants that can actually eliminate items from your shopping list. (Save money and reduce waste? Yes, please!) Instead of buying a bottle of pesticide solution, you could plant basil in order to repel flies and mosquitos; instead of buying a bottle of burn ointment, you could keep an aloe plant in order to soothe minor burns.
Read More: Green Gardening for Beginners

Organizing and containing your plants and gardens is an art form all its own, ripe with opportunities to reduce, reuse, and recycle.

7. Upcycle or make your own reusable plant markers. Though store bought ones can be adorable and very tempting, being able to upcycle containers, plastic utensils, or even old clothespins into plant markers keeps those items out of the garbage, allows you to personalize and get creative in your garden, AND gives you a reason to save them and use them again for next season.
Read More: 5 Ways to Repurpose Recyclables for Your Garden

8. Make a raised bed with leftover building materials. A raised bed allows you to have full control over your soil and finally gives you a way to use all of that wood, plastic lumber, or brick leftovers sitting in your shed from your last home project. Don’t have any of these lying around? Ask a nearby construction site for any extras that normally would be dumped, and not only will you score some awesome materials, but you’ll also save these materials from ending up landfills.
Read More: The List: 7 Tips for Urban Farming

9. Reuse or recycle old pots. Those plastic pots that larger plants come with are usually recyclable, but finding a new use for them around your house (perhaps for starting your own seedlings) or bringing them back to the store where you bought them (to be used for new plants) are two even better ways to give those pots a second life.
Read More: Good Gardening Habits: Garden Recycling

10. Make planters out of anything headed for the trash. Alright, here’s your chance to get creative. Thanks to Pinterest, all you need is a little patience and craftiness to make almost anything into a planter. From outgrown shoes to tires, and from light bulbs to an old bathtub, the options are endless.
Read More: 33 Things You Can Reuse As Garden Planters

Got any green gardening secrets of your own? Share them in the comments below!

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  • Christine G. 4 months ago
    I’m having a complete remodel done of my bathroom. To save some money, I’m removing the drywall and I checked online if it would be of any use in the garden as it’s made of gypsum, a mineral. It is indeed useful in the garden and has long been used as a fertilizer. As long as I make certain any paint or joint compound has been torn off, its a free source of calcium and sulfur for my garden plus it keeps it out of the landfill.
  • Barbara W. 8 months ago
    coffee grounds, what about from tea, would that work also???
  • Audrey N. 10 months ago
    I made my own plant markers out of the paint stiring sticks from Home Depot and left over paint. They turned out really nice.
  • Daniel H. 1 year ago
    Grow plants that keep mosquitoes away.
  • Christine G. 1 year ago
    I've been starting my own seeds for years now using heated seed mats and learning more each and every year. I live in Zone 5 and just started my seeds the other day as I can't plant warm weather crops outside until the end of May. This year using tube LED's retrofitted into my old shop lights to save energy and money. Can even start cool weather crops in the raised beds by using PVC pipe long enough to shape into an upside down U and drape with gardeners cloth that allows 70% of heat and sunlight in. Also use mosquito netting to naturally keep cabbage moths out of my brassicas. Organic, weed by hand, rain barrels and a drip irrigation system that waters the roots, not the leaves. Only problem at this time is mice. Any ideas??? Fence is up to keep deer out, cats are 19 years old...
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