Donate Old Clothes To The Garden - How To Reuse Old Clothes For Gardening

Scarecrow In A Pumpkin Patch
(Image credit: JuliScalzi)

Before you send your box of unwanted clothing to a resale shop, pick through it for items you can use in the garden. What? Reuse your old clothes in the garden? Yes! Of course!

There are many uses for discarded clothing, hats, gloves, blankets, and sheets. And nylon pantyhose for gardening has multiple uses. They can dress a scarecrow for the garden, keep squash borers off your vines, support your cucurbits, protect your plants in winter, and more. 

Learn how to reuse old clothing and blankets in the garden.

New Uses for Old Clothes: Scarecrows, Pantyhose Squash Supports, And Frost Protection

Here are ways you may not have thought of to reuse items headed for the donation box in the garage. 

Vertical Garden Support: Are you running out of room in your garden? Grow vertically! Even smaller-fruiting squash, watermelons, and pumpkins can be grown upwards if they have the support of a sling and a firmly grounded trellis. Use old cloths, T-shirts or nylon pantyhose to create the supports for the cucurbits. The sling is attached firmly at each end of the trellis or other vertical support. A trellis cemented in the ground offers an ideal structure. 

Frost Protection Ideas: When temperatures drop in the winter, be prepared for freezing weather by keeping old sheets and blankets on hand to cover your plants. If you create a frame to hang the cover on, the blankets will offer better protection. Also, if the blankets touch the ground, they will insulate the plant by trapping warm air. 

Best Dressed Scarecrow Ideas: When unwanted critters come calling, it’s nice to have a resident scarecrow in the garden to scare them off. Reuse your old clothes on a new garden friend. After creating a frame, dress the scarecrow in old jeans, shirts, hats, gloves, scarves – the brighter, the better. 

Put the Kibosh on the Squash Vine Borer: Don’t want to use pesticides in the garden? Wrap the vines in nylon pantyhose to discourage the borer moths from laying eggs on the vines. The pantyhose will not feel right to the borer moths, so they won't lay eggs. 

Tomato Vine Tie Options: Old sheets, pillowcases or nylon pantyhose make excellent ties for the tomato vine. As the vine quickly grows through the tomato cage, attach stems to the cage with ties to keep the cage upright and the vines off the ground. For the pantyhose, cut the legs off, roll up the top and cut it into strips. The pantyhose stretches as the stems grow, but the cloth sheets and pillowcases will do in a pinch.

Susan Albert

After graduating from Oklahoma State University with a degree in English, Susan pursued a career in communications. In addition, she wrote garden articles for magazines and authored a newspaper gardening column for many years. She contributed South-Central regional gardening columns for four years to While living in Oklahoma, she served as a master gardener for 17 years.