How to re-use compost bags and planters

So the tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers have gone and your gro-bags or planters sit in the corner looking dejected. I guess it’s to the compost bin for them… wait! There are alternatives.

Don’t chuck the compost or the bag away, they both have plenty of life left in them, you can recycle your old compost bags and get loads of use from spent compost.


Spent compost bags are ideal for mulching herbaceous borders, trees and soft fruit – suppress those weeds! Poke some holes in them with a fork to add drainage, you could even top dress with some bark if you want a more appealing look.

Soil improving

Used compost in the planters and grow bags have plenty of value still, dig it in! Especially on the veg plot to improve soil structure and moisture retention which will improve your crops.

Top dressing

Mix your old compost with plant food, ideally a longer-lasting continuous release food and top dress your pots and planted shrubs.

Basket liners

Cut the bags neatly down both ‘long’ sides and use the portion without planting holes to line hanging baskets and other containers – ‘image’ sides facing inwards! Add some drainage holes or cut holes in the side to push plants through when you plant up your basket.

Planting spacer with added benefits!

Take the section with holes already cut, turnover with the black, unprinted side up, peg down securely on you veg plots or raised beds and you have ready-made planting spaces. Not only that but weeds will be suppressed, moisture retained and the black plastic attracts heat, therefore warming the soil to encourage root growth.

Cutting rolls

Take hardwood cuttings and roll them up! This is a good space saver and an economical way to increase plants, especially for hedging. Make your ‘roll’ by using the intact side of your gro bag and in the middle place some compost, enough to cover the cuttings halfway up the stems. Lay your cuttings in the compost about 15cm apart (6 inches in ‘old money’!). Carefully roll them up like a swiss roll cake, use the plastic black side out as this will give the cuttings extra warmth and help encourage rooting. Tie the ‘cake’ with string to secure your bundle. Make a few drainage holes in the bottom of the plastic, label and water in. Place your roll outside in a sheltered area and wait for signs of growth. Simple!

Do you have any suggestions for recycling garden items? We'd love to hear from you!

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