Note from Michael: This article was contributed by Scott Gray of AllGardenPlanters.
Finding great recyclable garden containers doesn’t have to be expensive or complex. Ordinary plastic garden planters can be rinsed out at the end of a growing season and used year and after year. Biodegradable containers can be purchased at garden centers, allowing you to keep a plant in a container for one season then put it in the ground. The container itself will fall apart and become part of the surrounding soil.
Anything can be used as a garden container. One of the hottest trends in garden design is recycling ‘found’ items to serve as planters, the more imaginative the item the better. A tin washtub or broken watering can makes a great container for annual flowers. Colorful old coffee tins are fun to plant with peppers or flowers and cluster around a birdbath or set within an established perennial bed.
Rusted toy wagons make charming planters when filled with soil and petunias, and even a broken wheelbarrow can make a witty and attractive statement when surrounded by perennial daisies and filled with annual greens or flowers.
Old rubber tires make great vegetable planters. In fact, a tried and true old-time method for growing potatoes involves planting up tires and stacking them one atop the other to create vertical growing space and increase the yield without taking up lots of space.
Making recyclable garden containers out of household items you would normally throw away is a great way to add charm to a garden while extending the life of broken or worn out things. When it comes to creating recyclable garden containers out of items that began their household lives performing some other function, you are limited only by your imagination. Have fun with it, and don’t be afraid to try something crazy or new.
Never throw out garden containers that you bring back from the garden center or nursery. If you clear a space in a shed or garage, you can stack pints, quarts, and gallon pots near your bags of potting soil and never have to buy a pot again. When you need to start some seeds or need a pot for a root division to share with a friend, you’re ready to go.
Clean wax milk cartons make great biodegradable pots for starting vegetables indoors. Start washing them thoroughly and saving them around Christmas time, and when it’s time to start seeds for spring you will have a ready supply of containers that you can stick right in the ground once your seedlings are ready to plant.
Wooden crates also make good recyclable garden containers. Often people overlook crates for planting, but if you line them with coconut mats or landscape fabric, you can plant them up just like any solid pot.
Wicker baskets are also fun to plant and pretty too. You can set them right on the ground in an established garden as an accent, or hang them from iron plant hooks for a country look. Wicker mail baskets and wooden message boxes found at yard sales can be hung on a wooden fence and planted with trailing annuals.
Once you get the hang of using found items as garden containers, you will begin to see yard sales and thrift shops in a new way. Think vertically as well as horizontally, and watch for items that would be fun to hang from hooks or on fences, or perch atop a stump or fence post. Drawing the eye upward with well placed garden containers is a great way to make your yard look more lush and spacious that it otherwise might.
Recyclable garden containers can be fun ways to liven up your yard, but be careful not to go overboard. A few witty well-placed found items are far preferable to dozens. And remember that whatever you pot up you will also have to water.
Have fun with your container garden, and if something doesn’t work out the way you hoped, don’t worry about it. Choose pots, found items, and kitchen ware that you can use and reuse time and again, and then sit back and enjoy your creation.
Chances are good you’ll be receiving lots of compliments!
About the Author:
Scott Gray is a garden enthusiast who loves to relax taking care of his garden. For more information about container gardening ideas, metal garden planters and related gardening information, be sure to visit his site allgardenplanters.com.