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New Lives for Old Items

July 29th, 2010

Whenever I retire an all natural product from the house, I try to find a way to use it in the garden. Cotton clothing and rags get thrown in the compost when they’re too far gone to be of any use. This is one of the reasons I buy all-natural products, then I don’t have to dispose of them in the trash, they can be composted so there’s less waste and they produce humus for the garden. Several years ago I retired our dining room rug. It’s made of 100% sisal and was dyed with vegetable dyes so, I put the rug in the basement, knowing it would come in handy for a garden project some day.

This past week, I decided that it would be a perfect item to use in my watering area. The rain barrels are located on the back of the garage, and I have a watering station there to fill my watering cans. We also have a hose cart hooked up to a pump that allows me to use the rain barrel water with a sprinkler. As you can imagine this area gets a lot of foot traffic since I’m constantly filling watering cans to water all the potted plants. As a result there is no grass growing there, only dirt. I had a small sisal outdoor rug under the spigots, but it wasn’t nearly big enough to cover the area. Whenever it rains all of my watering cans get covered with dirt and the area can get a little muddy.

I finally decided to cut the rug into 4 pieces, each one now being 4′ x 5′. One piece fits perfectly underneath the area and is big enough to allow room for the hose cart and my watering cans. I now don’t have to worry about a muddy mess when it rains. The best part is that I still have 3 more pieces of the rug, so I’ll be able to replace it each year as needed. I love it when I give an item a second life, especially out in the garden! Who knew so many years ago when I purchased this rug for dining room it would eventually make it’s way out into the garden.

Do you ever repurpose or reuse items for garden or outdoor use?

8 Comments to “New Lives for Old Items”
  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by mark mile, Susy Morris. Susy Morris said: New Lives for Old Items #miscellaneus #recycle #reducewaste #repurposing […]

    Reply to Tweets that mention New Lives for Old Items | Chiot’s Run —'s comment

  2. Annette on July 29, 2010 at 7:54 am

    We try to, though nothing as cool as what you did. =) Most of what we have has been gifted to us from other people so it’s long term usability is probably not that of your sisal rug. I have used root beer bottles as a base for a birth feeder (tea cup style).
    I so enjoy reading your blog!

    Reply to Annette's comment

  3. Chris on July 29, 2010 at 9:50 am

    I used an old carpet cut into 2 foot wide by various length strips to lay down between the rows in my vegetable garden. Boy does it cut down on weeding! When the season is over, I simply roll up each strip and store it in the garden shed.

    Reply to Chris's comment

  4. MAYBELLINE on July 29, 2010 at 10:42 am

    All the time.
    Won’t that rug be a hiding place for bugs?
    Wish it rained enough here to warrant rain barrels.

    Reply to MAYBELLINE's comment

    • Susy on July 29, 2010 at 5:30 pm

      I welcome all bugs here at Chiot’s Run. I noticed that under the old sisal rug I had a giant toad lived. So I never stepped along the back edge since he built his home there. I’ve never noticed an abundance of bugs in any of the other rugs I use around the gardens.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  5. Lisa Anne of This Urban Homestead on July 29, 2010 at 11:46 am

    I love this idea! We got a new washer and dryer, so to make them fit in ur laundry room we had to tear down some cabinets. I drilled holes in the backs, took off the doors, and turned them into planters!

    Reply to Lisa Anne of This Urban Homestead's comment

  6. Wenchypoo on July 29, 2010 at 11:56 am

    I use old laundry baskets for just about everything, including hauling in firewood from the stack outside. When the garden gets going good (maybe next year), the harvest will be coming inside via a laundry basket.

    Now that I’ve seen the tip about carpet in the garden walkways, I’m going to keep my eye out for pieces tossed out with the trash. I was going to use newspaper and mulch, but who reads the newspaper nowadays? My neighbor still does, and he is saving them for me, but the carpet idea sounds better.

    Rather than storing carpet in the winter, I’d use it year-round–it would probably keep the soil from freezing when cold-weather crops are growing. Or better yet, if not growing winter crops, wouldn’t it be a dandy weed blocker for the whole plot (provided you had a room-size piece to work with)–kinda like a swimming pool cover?

    My neighbor uses bubble wrap around his plants in the winter to protect from wind–he has some flexible border fencing around the plant, and bubble-wraps around the border fence. We have an exchange going–he saves newspaper for me, and I save bubble wrap for him.

    I use clear plastic cups with the bottoms cut out as plant collars until the plant outgrows the cup.

    One last thing: you know those large storage containers on wheels by Rubbermaid or somebody? I found one with the lid outside a dumpster at my old apartment complex, brought it home, cleaned it out, and now use it to haul dirt and compost back to the garden from my carport compost tumbler. It’s cheaper and longer-lasting than a wheelbarrow, plus easier to store. Come tree-trimming time, it’ll get used to haul limb sections out to the tree man’s chipper/shredder, or the curb.

    Reply to Wenchypoo's comment

  7. Jackie on July 29, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    This is a great idea. I have a couple of sisal rugs that look pretty shabby, so I’ll keep this in mind.

    Reply to Jackie's comment

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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