This story was originally published in 2015.

There are a lot of ways to reuse plastic bottles in the garden. Instead of throwing them out, try these techniques for making gardening easier.

Seedling guards

Cut a plastic bottle in half and then continue to cut out rings of plastic. Place each plastic ring around a seedling, to protect it from slugs and other bugs.

Seed storage

Get a clean bottle; make sure there’s no moisture in it. Use it to store seeds. (This works especially well for peas and beans.)

Slug trap

Use any size bottle, but pick two. Just make sure both are exactly the same size. Cut out two rectangles from the bottom of each bottle half. These will be the slug’s doors. Then slot the bottle halves together, so the openings line up, and staple the two parts together. Fill the bottom with a little old beer, and insert the container into the ground. Slugs will walk in, but they won’t walk out.

Water reservoir

You’ll use the half of the plastic bottle with the cap. Pierce a hole through the cap with a nail, and screw the cap on. Insert the bottle half into the ground at the base of a plant, so the cap is in the ground, and the opening is facing the sky. If you have to leave for a few days, but still want your plant watered, fill the container before you leave, and the water will drip out slowly over time, soaking into the soil.

Mini greenhouse

Cut off the top of plastic bottles (with the cap on) and place them around your seedlings. The plastic traps the moisture just like a greenhouse. It can also protect against frost.

Watering can

Take a whole plastic bottle and make a hole in the cap. Fill the bottle with water. Turn the bottle upside down and squeeze it to water young seedlings that could be damaged by larger gushes of water.

Annual planter

Take a larger plastic bottle. Turn it on its side, and cut out a rectangle. Pierce holes in the opposite side, to act as drainage. Fill it with compost and soil. Plant the seeds in the soil, and watch them grow.

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Erin Rhoda

Erin Rhoda is the editor of Maine Focus, a team that conducts journalism investigations and projects at the Bangor Daily News. She also writes for the newspaper, often centering her work on issues of sexual...