Recycling in the Garden

The Spoiler & I belong to a service called “Recyclebank” that supposedly gives you points every time you recycle. Because we live on a street that begins in one town and ends in another, no service like this can ever find us because our street address doesn’t exist (and it’s a heck of a thing for GPS too! Some services get it and some don’t!)

But it’s nice to get the emailed tips about way to recycle things nevertheless. And I was particularly intrigued when they sent a post called “want to make your greens even greener?”  I have a link to that post here so that you all can read it in its entirety if you care to.

Many of the tips are basic common sense, of course, although they are not the type that one would see in a gardening magazine, interestingly enough. There’s nothing about watering at all, for example–no rain barrels or drip irrigation.

The first tip does talk about compost, but that makes sense from a recycler’s point of view. And then most of the rest of the tips are about creative re-use.

I have no problem with that and I have been known to do such a thing myself. Where I am a little worried is where they don’t add caveats. And it’s a short post so they can’t tell you everything.

But the two tips that make me nervous are the ones about using old lumber or building materials for raised beds and the one about making containers out of items headed for the trash.

Old lumber is fine, generally so long as it is untreated or so long as you are just using it for ornamental plantings. If you want to grow edibles, you’ll want to be sure you’re using something that doesn’t have some toxic coating that might leach into your beds.

The same is true for the “old items headed for the trash.” The Facebook post shows re-purposing old tires.  It doesn’t specifically say that these would not be appropriate for edibles because of chemicals that could off-gas from the tires into your soil when they heat up. But they are not appropriate for food gardening. So use them, if you do, for ornamentals.

I am always a huge fan of new and creative ideas for the garden. Just make sure that whatever you are doing out there, you make sure that you are growing any edible food in a safe manner. Otherwise, why bother to grow it at all?

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