Adventures in Gardening: Things to Start Saving Now

We’re only a couple days into winter so it feels like spring is forever away but right now is the time to really start thinking ahead, especially if you are like me and want to do a lot of recycling and upcycling in the garden next year.

I’ve been thinking of ways to use all this cardboard we get since I get a lot of deliveries still, even though I can drive again and my health is stable enough that I technically could be going shopping regularly. I choose to stay home now, mostly out of habit because I was sick for so long and became a home body, but also because this time of year is super dangerous here. Right now we are in the negative temps and have had -40 wind chills the last couple of days and it’s icy as heck out on those roads.

Which brings me back to the idea of thinking about warm, spring dirt and fat, pink tulips and new, green seedlings and.. cardboard. Ugh. We have so much of it, it’s ridiculous! We fill up the back of the pickup twice a month with flattened boxes and take them to town where we recycle them but this year we’ll be using it in the garden more.

I read about using cardboard for “no dig” gardens and also just to kill weeds in large areas, which is probably what we’ll use it for. I thought of using it for a no-dig test bed, but after all the work I had to do last summer I need things to be as easy as possible in the existing beds and the weeds were my number one issue.

So cardboard starts getting saved now since we have large garden areas I need to cover. We also have smaller beds I could use some smaller boxes or cut bigger ones down to fit, but newspaper is another thing they recommend using to control weeds and we do get plenty of those, too.

Once I use the cardboard and newspaper to kill the weeds, it will be time to plant but before that I’m going to want some seedlings which I’ll most likely start indoors again. I’m working on a dedicated area for that, maybe down in the laundry room since it’s big enough to set up a growing table and has a large window that gets plenty of sunlight. Either way, wherever I grow them, I need something to put them in and the commercial compostable seed cups are expensive to replace over time so I thought this year I’ll try using toilet paper rolls instead.

Of course now that we’re empty nesters we’re not going through near as much toilet paper as we used to but I’ll ask everyone to save their empty rolls for me and we’ll see what I can come up with. We do use quite a bit of paper towels here so I’ll save those, too, because they can be cut down to size.

So far then my list is:

  • cardboard
  • newspaper
  • toilet paper/paper towel rolls

The other thing I need to think about saving is other people’s garden items. What I mean by that is because gardening tools and other things like plant pots, raised beds, etc. can be so expensive, a good place to save on those while you wait for spring is local estate sales and early-season garage sales. Most people who are clearing out their own or someone’s estate just try to get rid of outdoor stuff in particular quickly and will either price it to sell fast or are willing to negotiate. So we’ll be going around “saving” ourselves some money this winter by treasure hunting out there for things we can use in our gardens next year.

Of course estate sales come with risks, and going with the intent to save money on everyday household items can get thrown completely off course by one must-have antique but that’s a risk I’m willing to take! 😋

What about you? What are you saving to use in your garden next spring?

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