Garden recycling is a great way to inspire interest in the environment especially with kids. Finding creative ways to help our earth is not only fun but also easy to do. And when you put these two things together, fun and easy, you’re sure to grab the attention of kids.
Garden Recycling with Compost and Mulch
Most people begin with compost. Reusing grass clippings, leaves, garden waste, newspapers, and kitchen scraps in the compost pile is a good way to encourage garden recycling. Compost helps create healthy soil and vigorous garden plants.
Kids also enjoy the chance to help by collecting some of these key ingredients and adding them to the compost pile. In fact, explain the important role that earthworms play in maintaining healthy soil, and you’re to spot them digging around in search of worms to throw in the compost heap as well!
You can also encourage garden recycling by reusing leaves, pine needles, shredded bark, and similar organic materials. For instance, rather than burning piles of leaves each autumn, put them in the garden and reuse them as environment friendly mulch.
Encourage the help of kids by giving them a rake of their own and allowing them to rake leaves with you. Let them play in the pile before you put them in the garden. Alternatively, items such as shredded tires, tumbled glass, and even newspapers can be recycled and used as mulch.
Garden Recycling with Everyday Items
A fun way to encourage kids to recycle is by reusing ordinary, everyday items in the garden. Kids can recycle objects for use as containers, garden art, and other interesting accessories. This only takes imagination, something kids naturally have plenty of. Old flowerpots and other everyday items can be easily transformed into interesting containers for plants.
From wheelbarrows, washtubs, and butter bowls to boots and even old toys, with adequate drainage provided, these items can make outstanding additions to the garden.
Growing seeds can be made easier and more fun by reusing egg cartons (Styrofoam works best). Have the kids cut off the top and set it aside for later use. Then have them poke small drainage holes in each of the egg holders along the bottom piece. Next, fill them up with a mix of compost and potting soil and plant a few seeds in each one. Place the top piece beneath the bottom and water thoroughly. Your kids now have their own ‘mini seed pots’ and a built-in tray for catching excess water. These can also be reused again and again.
Encourage wildlife in the garden by adding recycled habitat homes. Old pots and containers can make nifty frog houses in the garden. Use shallow dishes for bird feeders and baths. Pollinating insects will also benefit from having shallow water features in the garden.
Don’t throw out those ice-lolly sticks from summer. Reuse them as labels to help teach kids plant names.
Reuse milkl cartons as watering cans for the garden. Poke holes in the bottom sides and stick them about two thirds of the way into the ground between garden plants. Fill them with water and replace the lid. You now have a slow, but continual source of water for garden plants. Refill as needed.
What about a pop-bottle planter? Cut the tops off a 2- or 3-litre bottle and poke drainage holes along the bottom. Add some potting soil and compost along with a small plant or seeds of your choosing and water thoroughly. Set it in an area compatible to the plant’s growing conditions, or create numerous pop bottle planters and ‘plant’ them in the garden.
Not only can these be reused each year but they can also be moved as needed, for instance, during winter or bad weather.
Another great way to recycle in the garden is by using rain barrels. Simply use any container you already have on hand and place it somewhere, such as beneath a rain gutter spout, to collect rainwater, which is filled with nutrients. Use this water on garden plants. This conserves water and eliminates runoff. Not only will the plants thank you but so will the environment.
Did you know that plastic bottles can take up to 500 years or more to break down?