Use Weeds as Garden Mulch, Start Seedlings In Your Parked Car, Make a Camp Stove from a Can, and More Country Lore

Use your empty lot for a farmers’ market; make a birdhouse from an ice cream container; use plastic bags for paint trays; remove plastic laminate with an infrared heat lamp; make homemade fire starters from old crayons, candles, sawdust, and an egg carton; retread footie pajamas, find tape ends easily with bread bag tabs; fill holes in plaster walls with toothpaste; keep gloves organized; cover seeds with sand after rainy weather planting; and more household tips from MOTHER’s readers.

| October/November 1992

Use Weeds as Garden Mulch

Here's a tip for anyone who tends to get behind on weeding their garden: Carefully remove weeds (don't dislodge the plant's roots; you may need to firm soil around them again), shake off all the dirt from the roots, and lay weeds beside "keeper" plants in the row. Then, put bare roots on top of weed tops so they can't take root and grow again. They will act as a mulch by holding moisture and preventing future weeds. They will also protect the sensitive base of garden plants that are disturbed by pulling big weeds. I've saved many a garden crop during hectic times.

—Sue Peeler, Pollock, Missouri 

Make a Birdhouse from an Ice Cream Container

From Pack Rat Press's Reuse News, Vol. 2, No. 2 comes a few creative ways to reuse empty 1/2-gallon ice cream tubs and boxes. Make: a pet food canister, a plant or potpourri holder, a colander (punch holes in the bottom and lower sides), a napkin holder, storage for bait worms (fill with coffee grounds), or best of all—a bird house. You'll need: two lids, one tub, tie-wire or heavy string, and a chunky twig.

Turn the tub upside down. Glue one lid to the new top to repel rain. Attach the twig (or a button) onto the tie-wire and punch it through the new top, creating a hanger. Cut a round hole in the side of the tub and put the other lid back onto the wide new-bottom opening. You can paint or decorate these to suit, and you can stuff grass or dryer lint inside to get the birds started.


Start Seedlings in Your Car

Here's a trick for starting seedlings. We live in a 100-year-old house, and we've had a lot of trouble finding a good, warm spot to start seedlings. So I came up with this solution: I take all my seed flats to work every day, park in a sunny spot, and leave them in my car all day. Within less than a week, they're all germinated.

mother earth news fair 2018 schedule


Next: April 28-29, 2018
Asheville, NC

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!