Wednesday, March 14, 2012

101 uses for Mushroom Boxes & Coffee Cans

I was planning on telling you all the story of the Sewage Imp today, but it turns out I've over-booked myself (again) and don't have much time. So, I'll save that for when I have the time to give the story the attention it deserves.

Instead, today I'm going to tell you about something we're doing right now: planting seeds.

I know, how much can be said on that subject? Well, quite a bit actually, but I'll keep it to one trick we're using to help save money. It's a direct recycling trick that many farmers are aware of, and one that any suburban farmer can employ.

A few ideas for containers that can be directly reused.
You know all those plastic containers starter plants come in? Those can be reused to plant seeds! All you have to do is take care not to crush or tear them when you remove the starter plants you got them with and store them properly when you're finished using them. A dry dark place is good, as plastic degrades in sunlight and heat. But, be sure it's not someplace that freezes either, as this too will cause damage.

Other plastic items that can be used for this purpose are things like microwave dinner plates and those Styrofoam mushroom boxes. You can actually get many, many years out of a mushroom box, and use them as pots for small plants as well. They're perfect for small house plants that you want to keep next to a single-pane window where the roots might be exposed to freeze in winter. They offer insulation against the cold, and  block light (that can sunburn the roots). When you're finished with them you rinse them out and toss them in the recycling, like you would with a new one.

And you know all those clear clamshell containers that berries come in? they make great little seed starting greenhouses. Just line the bottom with cheesecloth or another loose-weave undyed  fabric and fill with starter soil. We use these for starting the more delicate plants, like cilantro or parsley. We remove the entire bed as one piece by lifting out the cheesecloth and laying directly into the final pot or plot. The fabric breaks down with the soil, and helps the bed hold together until the baby plants grows strong roots.

In the picture above there are several different types of containers that can be directly reused instead of thrown away. Opaque plastic coffee cans are another thing we tend to save and reuse in the garden and around the house. We keep one empty can next to the coffee maker to put old grounds in to be carried out to the plants that love them (which is most, lol). They also make good storage for seed packets and other small gardening supplies you want to keep dry and out of the sunlight. Her Majesty also loves to use them for crayons and markers because while they're big, they have those nifty built in handles, and they stack really well.

Well, that's it for today. I'm off to pick up the child-sized gardening tools for Her Majesty. They went on sale this morning and I don't want to miss them like I did last year!  

No comments:

Post a Comment