Trash Hacker: Plant a Crop of Cracked Crockery

Tiny Garden Homes: Salvaged Chipped Towers Relocated to the Beans

or New Life for Broken Dishes

by Rebecca Rockefeller, republished from Rock Farmer

During our recent dumpster diverting vacation with the Pioneering the Simple Life clan, we set aside chipped and broken ceramics and glass. These imperfect pieces aren’t sold at the Rotary Auction and they can’t be donated to any local non-profit that we know of, so we set them aside for local artists to pick up for mosaics and other projects. At the end of the week, we still had boxes and boxes of damaged plates, bowls, mugs, vases, and pitchers. After pitching a few boxes into the dumpster, we decided to save a collection of choice chipped things for the community garden plot that our two families share.

Bowl and Plate Fragment in the White Crockery Sector

We got together at the garden last week and planted the ceramics around our seedlings and mid-summer seeds. We divided our collection into color groupings – Whites and blues went into the peas and beans, pinks and reds with the strawberries, yellows joined the basil beds, and the tomatoes got the black and red ware. We were hoping for a way to add to the eclectic aesthetic of our plot, which is already a bit wild thanks to our trellis of scavenged downed tree limbs and curly willow pruning; we didn’t think much beyond the visual value of our crockery addition.

Chipped Mugs Become Watering Holes and Shelter for Beneficial Insects

But it already looks like these pieces that were bound for the landfill might have a much more rewarding new purpose now as shelter and water for beneficial insects. When I was watering this afternoon in our just-arrived sunshine, I found a black ground beetle hanging out in one of our mugs, either having a drink (do beetles drink water or get their liquid from their prey?) or just enjoying the safe shade. I’ll add a few pebbles to each mug so that no thirsty bees or beetles drown, and we’ll see if any other helpful garden predators move in. If we get slugs (we’ve been lucky so far, knock on wood), we’ll turn the mugs into beer traps for our unwanted slimy munchers. Either way, we’re excited to see this salvaged cracked crockery take on a new life in our garden.

Still looking for reuse ideas for your chipped or broken ceramics? We have them for you at our Trash Backwards app where you can input anything like “broken ceramics” and get great reduce, reuse and recycle inspirations:

Click Through For Broken Ceramics Reuses at Trash Backwards

Click Through For Broken Ceramics Reuses at Trash Backwards

Have you reused old dishes or other household items in your own garden? We’d love to hear about it – Please share your ideas below.

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Categories: DIY, Repurpose and Reuse, Trash Hacker, Trash Pile - All Our Stuff


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  1. Zero Waste Household Guide: Garden Tips « Trash Backwards - July 12, 2012

    […] Cracked plates, bowls, and mugs can funk up your vegetable beds and provide habitat for beneficial i… (or be filled with beer to become beautifully deadly slug traps). Turn your trash backwards: Place mesh produce baskets over seedlings to protect from birds, frost, and really big slugs. […]

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