Friday, March 23, 2012

Recycle. Reuse. Scavenge. And Craigslist!

While waiting for the waters to recede in my back yard, I thought a lot about container gardening.  Specifically vegetables in containers.  And what to do if containers are your only option.  Maybe you don't have room for a garden plot, or the desire/finances/know-how to build a raised bed. 

Lots of vegetables can be grown in fairly small containers.  Lots of those containers are just sitting around your house, or are destined for the recycling bins on garbage day.  Still others are available on Craigslist for free or near to it.  They say "Necessity if the Mother of Invention," so use your imagination! 

Besides the large terracotta and plastic pots I found hanging around the yard when I moved in, I used my imagination and came up with these brilliant (if I do say so myself) ideas for growing vegetables!

*Cat litter containers!  Yes, plastic cat litter containers make perfect planters for patio tomatoes, peppers or cucumbers. 
*Those recycling bins the garbage company issues you, and then goes with a truck instead, leaving you with the bins.  They already have handy carrying handles and drainage holes.  I am going to use mine for Baby Boo pumpkins. The vines can climb out and down the sides, or up the fence.
*5 gallon plastic buckets.  Enter Craigslist!  Don't ever underestimate what you can find there.  I got these clean, empty buckets for $1.00 each. 
*Let's not forget the plastic boxes I got free off Craigslist!  Five of those now have strawberries, leaving 3 for other uses.
Not my ideas, but...
* Those fabric type bags that nursery trees come in.  I have one called a RootTrapper.  I see them used for tomatoes, and even smaller veggies growing out of slits cut in the side of the bags.

*I have seen old tires given away too, which make great planters for larger vegetables such as tomatoes and peppers.  
*  Lots of people buy trees and shrubs from nurseries and give away the pots.  

Vary your search for best results.  Nothing under "pots?"  Try "pot," "planters," "planter," "containers," "bins," etc.  Right now I see someone is selling old wooden fruit boxes for $10.00, which are sturdy and will last several years. Another seller lists used plant containers, 1 gallon (10/$1) and 5 gallon for only 2/$1.00!  I am tempted to get some myself!  So what if they are used, they are being filled with dirt! 


What about drainage?  My son drilled holes in the sides near the bottom of the buckets and litter containers.  This allows for drainage, but also for a bit of water to stay in the bottom for a little bit of self-watering.  If the holes were in the bottom the containers would dry out quicker.  Besides, with my clay soil, if it rained the containers would never drain, they might even wick up more water!

What size containers do vegetables need?  That will be my next post!  You'll be surprised just how little room most vegetables actually need to flourish. 

1 comment:

  1. I mentioned using old tires. I have since read quite a bit of information that convinced me that tires are not a good idea! There is a possibility that chemicals may leach out of the rubber, into the soil, and perhaps into the crops.
    So, decide for yourself, but be aware of the latest findings.