Garden Freebies


Electrical house wiring
Can usually be had by asking any electrician.
The covering is removed, but the insulation is left on to provide soft protection to plants. 12" and shorter waste pieces are very useful for :


Tin Cans
are not only useful for storing labels, screws, nails, trowels and other small items, but a nail hole punched in the bottom of a gallon size, will provide slow targeted watering  without disturbing the soil.

*With a hole in one end, they serve as bird houses. Better yet, put a wooden roof on them and a wooden plug, sized to match the lid plus a hole for the entrance.

*With nail holes in one end,
they make good seed sowers when small seeds are mixed with sand.

*With both ends cut out, they make a great CutWorm Collar.
No, you don't put it on the CutWorm;
you put it around your garden seedlings,
to protect them from these nocturnal crawling pruners.
If you paint them white, they are less likely to
get hot from sunshine and burn plant foliage.

*You can also fasten them several feet above the floor
to keep stakes and other long items at hand.
Two work even better, with one on the floor.
OR use them horizontally on the wall to keep long items off the floor.

*In the lawn, a small stake in the ground with a bottomless tin can around it
will protect plants from pulled garden hoses.


Milk Jugs
make a fine Hot House for individual plants, with the bottom removed.


To keep them from blowing around the garden, cut opposite sides as shown below and put soil or stones on the resulting tabs. A cut made across the bottom will seperate the two anchor tabs.

  It is good practice when cutting plastics,
to end the cut with a round hole made by a paper punch.
This will prevent the cut from tearing out past your intended point.

Most plastics will become brittle after a summer in the sunshine.


I saved the best for last: VINYL HOUSE SIDING!
These scraps are free for the asking. If you feel like a begger in a Contractors dumpster; remember that you are keeping this indestructable stuff out of the landfills. Or you can plunk down a $10. bill at your local building center and get enough to last you for years.

White is my favorite color, but different colors can be used to indicate different plants or batches or dates. Some brands are stiffer than others. If a molded rib runs the length of your piece, it will strengthen it noticeably. Cut it to size and shape with a tin shears according to its use.

*Here, two pieces are hinged through their nail slots to a fence with insulated House Wiring. When both are down, it creates a teepee to shield seedlings or these Hydrangea cuttings from sun and wind.

With one or both pieces held horizontal by  stakes or wires, plants get ventilation, but very little sunshine. If rain is forecast, raising both above level will funnel the rain onto the plants. As plants mature, one or both can be tied up to allow more sunshine.

Plant Teepee

Here a piece of Vinyl Siding is folded in half, and the ends bent over so bricks can hold it upright. It makes a great shelter to protect plants against scorching summer sunshine.

*A piece of siding can be laid down close to plants or cuttings to preserve soil moisture and minimize weed growth. It also creates an environment that will attract worms to work your soil. Plus; Cut Worms don't like to crawl on plastic.

*I use a short piece of Vinyl Siding to close off the end(s) of the cloche (photo above) to control temperature and humidity. Perforated Vinyl Soffit will provide some ventilation.

How to make Plant Labels and Garden Stakes from Vinyl Siding.

How to make Greenhouse Tools from Vinyl Siding.

Carpet Remnants
(photo coming)

Free for the asking. Carpet installers get many varius sized pieces.
Sixteen-inch-wide strips are about right to put between the rows in your garden where they stop the weeds, allow rain penetration, and provide a haven for soil-building worms. So if you are a Gardener/Fisherman, you may not have to dig worms any more : )