You might not have thought of these 'green' tricks

Gardeners love to share ideas they have tried, and I like to collect those tips and pass them on. Many of the ideas you see here involve reusing and recycling, so you can be green at the same time you're saving a little green.

  • To water large containers, stand a piece of perforated PVC pipe in the pot when you plant it; fill it with water and it goes to the root zone.
  • Going to be gone for a couple of days? Fill paper cups with water and freeze them. Then poke a couple of holes in the bottom and put them in your hanging baskets.
  • Put a coffee filter (new or used) over drain holes in pots so soil won't wash out.
  • Use scarlet runner beans to shade a west- or south-facing window. Use netting or twine for them to climb. The beans also attract hummingbirds.
  • Coat goggles with shaving cream, then wipe off with cotton; prevents fogging.
  • If using Styrofoam peanuts as a filler under the soil in a large pot, put them in a mesh bag. To reuse, rinse and let dry.
  • Store saved seeds in old prescription bottles.
  • Cut toilet paper rolls in half crosswise, fill with soil, and use to start seeds.
  • Use an old kiddie wading pool with a pull-rope tied to it to haul shrub trimmings, leaves, soil, etc.; slides easily over any surface.
  • With a saw, slit a piece of 1-inch PVC pipe and put it over the flange of a shovel — easier on the feet.
  • Turn a golf cart into a garden cart. A fold-down seat is a bonus.
  • Fill a dry water bottle that has a "sipper" top with flour. Squeeze the bottle and use the flour to mark where to want to put plants in a new bed. Imagine plants full-sized, so you know how many you need.
  • Use a mixture of vinegar and dish soap to kill weeds in cracks.
  • An old throw pillow in a plastic grocery bag makes a good kneeling pad. Padded mailing envelopes work, too.
  • To grow moss on a rock or a stone wall, put bits of moss in a can and mix with buttermilk using your power-drill paint mixer or a blender. Paint the mixture onto a rock surface. Keep shaded and moist until it starts to spread.
  • Poke a few holes in the bottom of a gallon milk jug. Add a little pea gravel so it won't blow away, and stand it next to large plants for a water-delivery system. Fill with a hose as needed, and water trickles out.
  • Tie plastic grocery bags over your shoes if you must walk in wet, sticky clay.
  • Keep finches away from your salad-green bed with metallic pinwheels facing different directions.
  • Use the top few inches of a liter-size soda bottle for a funnel.
  • To remember what you've planted where, mark rows with pieces of Venetian blinds, Popsicle sticks or leftover plastic picnic knives. Use a soft lead pencil instead of a felt-tip marker for labeling.
  • If you have any pantyhose around these days, cut in strips crosswise for stretchable plant ties.
  • Have a Lincoln Log set that's been outgrown? Make a birdhouse using brads and glue as needed.

This is just a sample of ideas I've collected. Share yours with friends and neighbors — it's fun to talk gardening.

Carol Oneal is a past president of the OSU Jackson County Master Gardeners Association. Email her at

Reader Reaction
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Rules. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or fill out this form. New comments are only accepted for two weeks from the date of publication.