Recycling on the allotment

Plotholder Julia Goodall shares some suggestions on how you can save money and be kind to the environment:

  • Save large cardboard packaging to cover bare ground and suppress weeds.
  • Use small plastic bottles for cane tops to prevent netting getting snagged, and canes poking your eyes.
  • Plastic bottles or metal cans on a cane that rattle in the wind can make a bird deterrent.
  • Use old CDs hung on string as a bird deterrent.
  • Save your best garlic crop to replant the cloves the next year, provided they are disease-free. They are the ones that do best in your soil.
  • Use an old gazebo frame to make a fruit cage.
  • Cut up clean yoghurt pots to make plant labels.
  • Make a slug trap. Sink a yoghurt pot with about 2cm above the ground and fill it with beer. Use good beer!
  • Put used coffee grounds around tender plants to deter slugs. They also make good compost.
  • Cut the bottom off large plastic bottles and turn them upside down next to the roots of courgettes, marrows and tomatoes as you plant them. Water into the bottles to ensure that is gets straight to the roots.
  • Cut the bottom from a large plastic bottle to make a mini cloche.
  • Use pallets to make a compost bin; line it with plastic (e.g. empty compost bags) to keep everything inside.
  • Use toilet roll inners to germinate large seeds, such as legumes. Plant the whole cardboard ‘pot’ below soil level, to avoid it drying out.
  • Bake eggshells to make them much more of a slug deterrent. Put them in a tin in the bottom of your oven while you cook other things, then crunch them up and put them round your tender plants.
  • Store onions in old tights, with a knot between each one. Cut them off from the bottom as needed.
  • Save thin polystyrene, such as takeaway pizza bases and shaped fruit packaging, to break up and put in the bottom of flower pots to aid drainage.
  • Save plastic tomato and grape supermarket containers. Use one as a seed tray, and another as a cloche top.