Roses love banana peels. They rot quickly, releasing minerals roses need such as calcium, sulfur, magnesium, and phosphates. Just cut them up and mix them in the soil at planting time or anytime you want to give your roses a boost. You can also make a banana peel tonic for use after the plants are established.
Organic landscaper Rachel DeToro tells us one of her favorite tricks for container planting is using seaweed as mulch. The seaweed can be rinsed (to remove salt and the pungent smell) and dried for use in potted plants.
Turn leaves into fuel for next year's garden by shredding them before you compost them. Shredding one leaf into five or ten smaller pieces does several good things. First, it increases the surface area, giving microbes many more places to work.