What You Need To Be Saving Now For Next Year’s Garden

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Here are some things that would be useful to save for your next garden!

  • Milk Jugs
  • 2-liter Soda Bottles

These plastic containers have several great uses! If you cut the bottom off, you can use them to cover seedlings like mini greenhouses (or cloches). They also protect them from frost, wind, and strong rain.

You can also use them as a slow waterer for your plants. Cut the bottom of the bottle off, and stick the open spout part of the bottle into the ground about an inch or so from the stem. Fill it with water, and it will drain straight to the plant’s roots. You’ll never waste water around the surface of the garden, and you won’t have to worry about whether or not your plant is getting enough to drink!

Go here for more milk jug ideas.

  • Old Mini Blinds
  • Plastic “For Sale” or “Yard Sale” Signs

These make great label stakes to put in the garden. Cut them to size, and use a permanent marker to write the name of your plants on them. You’ll never have to wonder what you’ve planted there again!

  • Tin Cans
  • Plastic cups
  • Yogurt Containers
  • Paper Towel Tubes
  • Toilet Paper Tubes

Use these things to push into the soil around your young cabbage and tomato plants to protect them from cutworms.

  • Eggshells

I have a bucket of these under my sink that I’m saving for next year’s tomato plants. Collect your empty eggshells, wash them, and dry them in the sun. When you are ready to plant your tomatoes, crush your eggshells up and sprinkle them around your plants. They give an much needed boost of calcium, and help prevent Blossom End Rot.

  • Cardboard Egg Cartons

Great for starting seeds in!

  • Newspaper

Make your own paper pots, line your garden to keep out weeds, or shred it up and add it to your compost pile!

  • Old Nylon Stockings
  • Scrap fabric strips, or old clothing

These are useful for tying up your plants to stakes. The nylons do tend to get brittle after a while, but if you have a lot of them laying around you could simply replace the old ones when they start to break. You can also use nylons like a hammock to support heavy produce, like melons, growing vertically.

Strips of fabric, or old clothing, work really well for this too.

  • Junk CDs or DVDs

My mother in law hangs these around her garden to keep the deer away.

  • Wood Ashes (from untreated lumber)

When spread around garden beds it supposedly repels slugs and snails. Use it to raise your soil pH level. It’s also good for squash plants, as well as tomatoes (I’ve heard adding 1/4 c. of ashes directly into the hole before planting tomatoes does wonders), asparagus, onions and melons; non-acid loving plants.

  • Coffee Grounds

These are good to sprinkle around acid loving plants, like blueberries! Also good to compost.

Now, if you can only find a good place to hide all of this stuff until Spring… you’ll be glad you did!! Did I miss anything? I’d love to hear what you re-purpose for use in your veggie garden!

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About Kendra 1103 Articles
A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.


  1. Old spoons work great as plant markers, and look pretty painted.
    Silver reflective ribbon left over from Christmas strung fluttering through the garden will confuse grackles and thieving birds away from your tomatoes, as will a length of old garden hose to appear as a snake. I found it useful as well to hang the ribbon on the posts of my trampoline to keep birds from perching and pooing on my play equipment! I’m always looking for ways to up-cycle!

  2. I use the cardboard toilet paper or papertowel rolls, cut to size for starting seeds. They are a perfect size. Then I just pop them in the ground in the spring and the cardboard breaks down in the soil…

  3. I save my 2 liter bottles & fill them with water in winter I cover my raised beds with PVC hoops & plastic, then place the filled bottles around in the beds during the day the sun heats up the water then at night they give off the heat to help warm the beds.

  4. Egg shells = good for eggplant and peppers as well.

    Cardboard milk/juice cartons = rinse well, dry well, cut up into strips. Cheap plant labels. They’re not waterproof so you do need to replace them when you transplant things and such, but still. Better than nothing. 😉

    Empty juice containers (like the Simply Orange type ones) = good for fresh pressed cider come fall. I finally used up our last ones. Finally.

    Cardboard egg cartons = really, really awesome fire starters. Stuff dryer lint in the egg cartons, melt some Parawax and pour some on top, let dry, and voila, awesome fire starters. Ah, good times in girl scouts…

    Just don’t ever use yogurt or cottage cheese containers to start seeds. The roots stick to the container rather than hanging out in the dirt, so transplanting doesn’t go as well as you’d most likely hope.

  5. save banana peels for tomato plants. I put the peels in the freezer & when I’m ready to plant my tomatoes I put a layer of banana peels down in the hole first. The tomatoes LOVE the potassium. Also, great finds at garage sales are rubber spatulas. I use them as garden stakes. I write what I’ve planted in permanent marker; then at the end of the season I simply scrub the spatula to remove the writing & use again next year. Love your site!

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