One of the more interesting ways to garden is to grow items in containers. You might be surprised at the types of plants you can grow in a container garden. From using espaliering to grow apple trees in a container, to herbs, to a variety of vegetables, it’s possible to transform a small space into an effective container garden.
Container gardening can be a great way to grow your own food, improving your self-reliance and living more sustainably. The containers you choose can also help you live up to your eco-friendly ideals. Here are some ideas for re-using old items for your container garden:
If you are just starting some seeds, for later planting in a container or a more traditional garden plot, there are a number of interesting alternatives. Look around the house for small items that can find new life as a seed started. From old sour cream containers to bottles to egg cartons, it’s possible to start seeds in almost any container. If you have an old cardboard shoebox or some other container that can be broken down, you can start your seeds in that container, and then transplant it straight outside (double check the way the container will truly break down, however).
It’s even possible to use eggshells as seed starts. Carefully break off the top part of the shell when you use eggs and save the larger bottom part. Plant your little seeds in the bottom part. Eventually the shell will break down, so you can just plant it outside intact. As the shell breaks down, it acts as part of the compost, and it is also a natural slug repellent. You can plant your seedling in a container as well, without removing it from the eggshell.
There are also ways to transform your toilet paper roll or paper towel roll into a tiny seedling starter. Simply cut one end so that it has strips that you can fold down to overlap and create a bottom to hold in the soil.
Container Garden Ideas
As you create your container garden, think of the items that you might be able to reuse. They can be found around your house, or found at yard sales or via freecycling. It’s possible to give a number of items new life as part of a container garden. Here are a few ideas:
- Barrel: If you want to grow some of the root vegetables, a barrel is a good choice. It’s possible to use a single barrel to grow plenty of potatoes or carrots.
- Buckets: For those who have buckets left over from pet food, or other purchases, you can use them for containers. Larger buckets can be used for root vegetables, and smaller buckets can be used for smaller vegetables. Tomatoes, peppers, berries, and herbs, among other vegetables, can also be planted in buckets.
- Used tire: Re-use tires as containers for your garden. They are great for larger vegetables and berry plants.
- Cinder blocks: Turn cinder blocks on their sides and fill them with dirt, and plant a few plants.
- Jugs and soda bottles: If you have jugs and soda bottles, it’s possible to cut off the tops and grow smaller items. A single strawberry plant, or herbs, can easily be grown in these containers.
- Shoes: Yes, you can use shoes as fun containers for smaller plants. Herbs are especially appropriate in shoes.
- Drawers: Before you throw out the old chest of drawers, take the drawers and use them for containers for your garden. This can also work for old trunks and chests, and old wooden containers.
- Wheelbarrow: If you want to be able to easily move your plants around, use a wheelbarrow. You can move plants to better light, or protect them from storms.
Depending on the containers you use, they can be set on a porch or back patio, or hard up against your house. Also, make sure that you pay attention to the drainage situation. It’s a good idea to drill small holes in the bottom of buckets, or drawers, for aeration and drainage. At the very least, a loose layer of rocks in the bottom can help.
Finally, make sure that you wash out re-used containers, and be alert for those that might have held toxic chemicals. Dresser drawers, for instance, might be covered with paint containing lead, and you don’t want to re-use buckets that have held dangerous chemicals, no matter how well you wash them.
What do you use for container gardening? What ideas do you have for reusing items in your gardening efforts?
You probably already have many reusable items that will give your home a refreshing look. The key to recycling old items is thinking about how to use them for something other than their intended use, and then changing the way they look.
We do that often. It is amazing what you can turn something into if you just let your creative side loose. I just turned old unused mason jars into a window sil herb garden.
I love the egg shell idea. That’s very clever.
Great ideas! We have plans to actually dig out a gardent this fall, but if we don’t get to it, this may be a great fall back plan!
Try container gardening. It works really well and takes up less yard space. Plus you can move your pots around to more sun etc. if they need.
I planted a lemon tree in a plastic trash can (good for larger plants). It’s been producing lemons for 5 or 6 years. I have more lemons this year (not ripe yet) than I’ve ever had before.
I think that is so cool. I don’t know if we have the climate to do that but I would like to try.
I like going to construction sites and seeing if they have any scrap wood. Often, they’ll have long, thin, sturdy pieces that are great for staking plants like tomatoes. That’s what we’re using currently in our garden to hold up many of our plants actually.
We have found some scraps the same way too. I love the feeling of knowing I am reducing waste.