I wrote an article asking Green Talk readers “How Would You Reuse Articles that Would Ordinarily Go in the Trash?.” I have only received one response, although a good one. My reader suggested using yogurt cups for planting seedlings.
I decided to make a page entitled “Readers’ Reuse Tips” on my website for multiple responses. Who doesn’t have a clever idea for reused? (Update: I decided to just combine readers’ ideas in various “recycling” articles. Want to see some common ideas recycled or re-purposed, check out my category, “recycling.”)
Hoping to generate more comments, I started thinking about items I put in the trash and how can I reuse them. My whole way of thinking changed about trash. Could I use the spiral on the notebook I just recycled for something? Could it be used as a tie to bind something together? Hmm.
So, over the last couple weeks I have a chance to put my writing where my hands were, and came up with two suggestions that I will be posting this week. Without further ado, here are my latest trash to usefulness suggestion:
I have a hate/love affair with my screens. They are flimsy and can bend easily making it hard to put them back into the windows. Some of the screens came with bent edges, or torn sections near the edge of the screen.
The window manufacturer has been more than accommodating and has provided me with new screens. First, I thought I would use them as a barrier around my vegetable garden by turning them on their sides to prevent small animals from invading my garden. However, I could not figure out how to tie them together and make sure they did not fall over with the wind. If anyone has a suggestion that is handy, please let others know. I still think it is a good idea.
I also have unusable patio door screens, and thought I could use one of them as the entrance to my veggie garden. How would I attach the screen to the poles?That idea did not work. I still refused to throw out the screens.
One day, the light bulb went off and I had a use for these screens! I planted a ground cover of curly thyme in my vegetable garden. The curly thyme was delivered to me bare root (i.e. no soil) so they were very fragile and I had to get them into the soil as soon as possible.
This was not the first time I tried to plant the thyme. Last time, I did not follow the instructions to keep the plants out of the sun for a week. I thought if I planted in May because the sun was not so hot, and I watered them regularly, the plants would be fine. Well, this did not work and most died.
I still wanted the ground cover and tried again. This time, I would cover the plants with my screens. As you can see from the picture above, I have raised beds so I positioned the screens on top of the beds to be cover for the thyme. It has been a week, and the thyme looks good. I have my fingers crossed that it will take this time.
For those of you that do not have raised beds, you could prop them up on rocks and secure them with ground posts. Gardeners’ Supply sells earth staples, which are ground anchors. Inserting them in the screen may cause a small tear.
Next spring, I am going to tie together two of the smaller screen and use them to shade lettuce or other early spring crop that I will grow in the summer.
Do you have any suggestions for reusing screens or any old item in your house? Look for my second suggestion how to reuse the plastic center from your delivered pizza on my next post this week…