Recycling in the Garden

I picked up a back copy of Fine Gardening magazine from the Free Cart at my local library, because a teaser on the cover caught my eye: “Trend Watch: A new way to compost.” The article was about Bokashi composting, and it inspired me to write my latest article for

Of course, in the spirit of waste not, want not, I went on to read the rest of the magazine, and I found several delightful recycling tips for gardeners.

Saving and Sharing Seeds

A reader in Littleton, Connecticut saves envelopes from junk mail and uses them when he collects and stores seeds at the end of the growing season.

And a reader in Beach Haven, New Jersey saves the paper envelopes that some tea bags are packaged in and uses them to store seeds that she shares with friends. She tapes the envelope shut, labels it with the name of the seeds and the date she collected them, and stores them in a resealable zip-top plastic bag.

A New Use for a Toy Dinosaur

A reader in Santa Cruz, California uses a motion-triggered toy dinosaur to protect her garden from the deer that manage to squeeze through her fence. It roars, she says, like a T. Rex when triggered. At the time she wrote, the deer still hadn’t figured it out.

Forged Trowels From Railroad Spikes

A craftsman in Floyds Knob, Indiana, turns reclaimed railroad spikes into garden tools. You can see (and purchase) them at his shop.

All these came from the October 2010 issue of Fine Gardening magazine, which I found on the cart where our local Friends of the Library group offers — free for the taking — books, magazines, CD, videos, etc. that they aren’t able to sell at their quarterly book sales. What a wonderful way to recycle!


Use it up, wear it out: get the most from your laser toner cartridge

When the toner in your HP laserjet printer shows signs of running out, you may get an alert from your printer’s software, or you may just notice vertical white streaks on the printed page, depending on the printer model you’re using.

Don’t be in a hurry to replace the cartridge. You can get a lot more use from it if you take out the cartridge and gently shake it from side to side to redistribute the toner, and replace it in the printer. Keep doing this every time it shows signs of running out, and you should be able to get a lot more pages. I finally, today, replaced the cartridge that’s been giving me alerts for at least two weeks. (This may or may not work with other manufacturers’ printers, but it’s worth a try.)

And of course you do have the printer’s properties set to default to economy/toner-saving mode, don’t you?

When you do install a new cartridge, remember to recycle the old one. If it’s an HP, you can use the box from the new cartridge to ship the old one to a recycling facility — there’s a prepaid shipping label in the box.  Just put the old cartridge into the box, seal it, slap on the label, and take it to a UPS shipper.