I've always felt slightly guilty about throwing away those mesh bags that produce comes in. A while back, I decided to start saving them for re-purposing. My kids don't call me the queen of frugal for nothing. As an organic gardener and green living advocate, I hate throwing anything away. Waste simply isn't an option I consider. Happily, I've since found multiple uses for those mesh bags in my garden. Here's my favorites.
Make gardening hand scrubbers from mesh bags.
I figured out a long time ago, if I tie a piece of quality soap inside a mesh produce bag, it makes a great free scrubber. By far, my very favorite mesh bag scrubber is one that can be used outside in the garden. I keep one tied to the end of my garden hose. It contains an environmentally sound soap I make myself. That way, instead of bringing all that dirt and grime into the house, I can just wash it off outside without worrying about pollutants in my garden.
Use mesh produce bags as tool holders.
Keeping a mesh produce bag tied to my belt loop really comes in handy. When I'm working in the garden, I can toss small tools like trowels into it. It's a hands free, lightweight tool belt of sorts. Plus, I don't have to search the garden for hand tools once I quit for the day. I keep a second bag tied to my belt loop too. Guess what it's for?
Pick and wash leafy produce using mesh bags.
The second bag on my belt loop is for leafy greens. As I pick them, I just toss them in the bag. The beauty of this solution is that I can rinse them right through the bag. Once again, I head to the garden hose. When all the grit is off, I hang the bag up above the kitchen sink to drain. There's no gritty greens in our dinner salad. The garbage disposal stays free of damaging dirt too.
Use mesh bags for drying herbs.
With one bag, I can pick, wash and hang for drying. It's such a no fuss solution. The mesh lets in enough air to dry the herbs. Yet, it still blocks enough light so herbs stay flavorful and colorful until eaten. This handy trick works well for onions, garlic and hot peppers too. In fact, just about any produce can be dried this way.
Support heavy produce with mesh bags.
We don't have a lot of gardening space. That means I vertical garden anything I can. Even squash and pumpkins can be grown on a trellis. I watch for the first signs they're forming. The little bulb gets tied inside a mesh bag, then tied to the trellis. As it grows, the produce bag takes the weight of it. The vine stays strong and healthy.
Portions of this article were previously published by this author on a now closed Yahoo property.