Just in time for Spring! Thanks to Amber Lomeli, Spare Parts Advisory Committee member, for these great tips.

5 tips to be more eco friendly in the garden 

1. Save seeds from the grocery store, for example tomatoes. You can easily get dozens of tomato plants from one single grocery store tomato. Start by taking out seeds from your store bought tomato and allow them to soak in water for 3 days. Each day mix the water around a little. This helps get all the pulp off. After the three days rinse out the water and allow your seeds to dry out for future planting. Or just plant right away. 

2. Starting seedlings from the recycling bin. No need to go out and spend money on fancy seedling pots, just look through your recycling bin! Some examples are egg cartons, plastic take out containers, salad containers, soda cans, milk cartons, toilet paper rolls, even a chip bag. (Just make sure to add drainage holes on all) Anything with a lid is great too, this provides a greenhouse effect that will help your seeds sprout fast indoors!  

3. Save your egg shells! They can do wonders in your garden. The calcium helps your soils acidity and provide great nutrients for plants. Tomatoes especially love eggshells. Simply just sprinkle into the soil when you are planting. It also helps not to develop end rot. 

4. Compost is your friend and will help make even the novice of gardeners look like pros. Your garden will flourish from the added nutrients. If you’re not into composting but still want some for your garden a lot of places sell it. If you are a customer of the compost queens a big perk is that you can get a compost soil return twice a year. Their compost is made from nutrient-rich bokashi-fermented food scraps and has a biomass score between 200-400ug C/g or more. It is great for use in the garden and in containers as a soil amendment to: increase water retention, improve soil structure, strengthen plant immunity, revitalize the soil microbiome, increase nutrient content. 

4. Save that rain water! Here in Texas we don’t often get enough rain but when we do get rain, it’s usually a lot. So it’s best to store that water for future use. Customers of SAW (San Antonio Water) often have rebates that allows for free rain barrels (or sometimes often at a discount). Or if you are into upcycling, I have seen some neat wine barrels repurposed into rain barrels. It’s possible to save water even if you don’t have access to a yard too. I even made a little rain jug for my apartment balcony from a repurposed vinegar jug.  Use whatever you can, it’s fun to get creative and see how many things can truly be repurposed when it comes to gardening. 

Spring is around the corner that means you’re probably prepping to get your garden starting this year.  Here are 5 easy tips to help you get started this year that cost nothing. 

Even if you only grow a single tomato this year, it’s fun to experiment. Happy gardening to you all!


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