February brings the first signs of spring. Seeing the irises from the October subscription box and snowdrops blooming has me really excited for seed planting this year. So far, I've planted some sweet peas - some I collected from last year plus Sweet Pea 'Sunshine Champagne' and Sweet Pea 'Naomi Nazareth' from the January Subscription Box - as well as the Anchusa capensis and Jacobs Ladder seeds from the 2022 Advent Calendar.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll want to keep seed sowing as easy (and cheap!) as possible, with limited trips out to the garden centre. So I thought I’d share some of my tips for repurposing things that would otherwise be thrown out or recycled for your gardening needs.
Check out garden centres for old plastic pots
Okay, I’m aware I just said these tips would help you limit your trips to the garden centre but this is a really good reason to check them out. Some garden centres pop their old plastic plant pots outside for customers to take, so it’s worth keeping an eye out at your local plant nursery or garden centre to see if you can grab some of these for free. It’ll help keep your costs down (read: more money for seeds!). Even if they don’t have pots out, it’s always worth asking a member of staff - shy bairns get nowt.
Reuse old trays and containers
This one is a no-brainer regarding last year's seed pots and trays, but have you thought of using other containers? I’ve been saving up fruit and veg packaging throughout autumn and winter so I have even more trays at my disposal! I’ve found big, shallow trays brilliant for popping under my sweet pea pots while I’m waiting for them to germinate in the house, then I can pop the plants in the greenhouse and reuse the trays for my next batch of seedlings. Deeper trays work really well for scatter sowing. If the trays are transparent, you can also use these as propagator lids! I’ve also been keeping hold of jars and yoghurt pots to plant individual seeds like cosmos.
Loo roll tubes?!
You’ve likely heard this trick before, but loo roll tubes make great planters for sweet peas due to them needing a deeper pot for their roots. Full disclosure, I’ve never had any success with this technique, but why not give it a go?
Milk bottle watering can
I LOVE my milk bottle watering can, especially for watering seedlings. I don’t have a nice, fine rose head for my seedlings so this technique comes in really handy. If you get cows milk in the plastic bottles this is a great way to recycle them. All you need to do is pop some holes in the bottle top (I heat a sewing needle), and then you’re good to go! Lizzie has a 'How to' video online and on the gardening app.
Broken crockery makes fantastic drainage. It also means that if you break your favourite mug, it’s a bit less sad, as it could have a second lease of life in your lavender pots! I usually have to break them up into smaller bits, which is very satisfying and brilliant for stress relief!