You know those stretchy plastic netted bags you can sometimes find as packaging around avocados, potatoes, frozen turkeys and other offerings at the grocery store? Don’t just throw them away. They can be useful in the garden.

Try using small net bags to protect ripening fruit or nuts on small fruit trees. Or bag a growing squash or melon while small. A young watermelon or squash may grow large enough to fill a turkey bag. And in the meantime, and those destructive gnawing critters seem to lose interest in your edible prize growing in the bag, leaving it alone to reach maturity.

For some reason, even rabbits and mice seem to be turned away from the plastic netting yet the bags are fine enough to create no impression even on soft growth while allowing daylight full access to the ripening fruits and vegetables. So the next time you buy something in a plastic mesh bag, don’t throw the bag away. You can recycle net bags and protect your fruit and vegetables at the same time. This tip works well on trees, in raised vegetable beds and even on ground-level beds.