March 15, 2010


And for me that means potting plants and gardening crafts! To my delight spring comes early here in Texas, as it does in many of the southern states, so I’m ramping up to enjoy some new potted herbs and flowers. Since I live in an apartment and don’t have a garden of my own yet I rely on container gardening. I’ve collected quite a handful of ceramic and terracotta pots over the years on sale but as my love for gardening has grown I’ve started looking for ways to expand without spending a lot of money. One of the cheapest and most effective ways to grow potted plants both inside and out is to use soda bottles or milk jugs. They are especially great for flowers or vegetables that need a lot of moisture because the base can retain extra water that is wicked back into the soil as it gets dry. You can also use soda bottles in your garden or containers to help conserve water by keeping moisture near the roots. Check out the “Scrooge Bottle” at

If you know where to shop you can usually find starter plants, vegetables and herbs for a reasonable price, but the cheapest way to fill your containers is by making your own starters from seeds or cuttings. By making your own starters you can get exactly what you want by picking out the type of seeds you want rather than depending on what the store has available. If you’re like me and only have a few containers, not a whole garden to fill, you can share or trade your favorite seeds with your friends and family or save them for next year (Note: making starters and gardening can be fun for everyone. Make an afternoon out of it with ice tea & mint from your herb container). Egg cartoons, egg shells, toilet paper rolls and newspaper are just a few of the many household items that make great starter containers. Not to keep talking about soda bottles, but they also work great in creating mini greenhouses to assist starters in growing.

Okay, I’ll keep talking for just a moment because used soda bottles can improve your outdoor experience beyond planters. They can be used to make:
* Bird Feeders
* Insect Traps
* Windproof Candle Holders
* Ice Packs for your cooler (simple fill bottle 80% full of water, put lid on and freeze overnight)
* and even a Garden Trellis!

Just to name a few.

Container pots come in all shapes, sizes and colors. You can pretty much turn any household item into a container garden with a little creativity. I’ve seen bathtubs, sinks, old toilets, barrel drums, mason jars, reclaimed wood, shoes, buckets, old crates, burlap sacks, etc. One of my personal favorites is using vintage tin cans. They are just as bright and festive as the flowers planted in them. You can usually find cheap vintage tins at thrift stores or your grandmother’s attic if you don’t have any of your own lying around. If you want to be even more cost effective and environmentally friendly, you can simple use your recycled tin cans saved from coffee, soups and sauces and either paint them and/or embellish them with vintage pictures printed from online. Mix a few tin planters in with other ceramic or terracotta pots to make a colorful statement.

Another popular recycled gardening container is tires. If you live in an apartment I do not recommend throwing tires and dirt in your front yard without permission from your landlord because it will kill the grass. However, if you’re looking for a larger planter for your patio or deck you can place a tire ontop of a scrap of plywood (cut circular to fit the base of the tire) and elevate it with feet, another tire or tire rim to keep it from damaging the patio/deck surface. You can find some great tire planters and instructions at Wuv’n Acres Gardens.

Don’t forget container gardens for inside your home! More on that topic another day.

2 Comentários:

geor5146 said...

Thanks for the great tips! I love growing plants, but do not have a lot of space to work with so container pots are my best bet also. I never thought to use a soda bottle, I will have to try it out this year!

taralee said...

I'm probably not going to use the soda bottles myself but I'm getting ready to start some seed in toilet paper rolls with soil and I found some great used kitchenware and tin cans I'm going to grow herbs in.

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