Thursday, August 30, 2012

Repurposed Container Gardening

        When is a milk crate not a milk crate?  
Yes, it is an old milk crate.

I like container gardening.  Actually I like gardening that involves the sun and in my yard that means using containers because the sun that exists in my yard is primarily to be found on my patio. So I'm a dedicated container gardener.  
Until recently I've always been content with using terracotta pots, but this summer I've fallen hard for whimsical containers.  Particularly unusual containers that once had a previous life outside of gardening. 
Planter using a golf ball bucket.
You are really only limited by your imagination and the ability to provide good drainage when it comes to repurposing items into planters.
Coffee bean bag planter - Sarah Starkey
Toy truck - FundementoDesigns
Repurposed teapots
When you use wire framed items for containers you'll need to line them with some type of netting and moss to keep the soil from washing away-
As far as what to put into these containers, I'm very, very fond of succulents because they need so little soil to grow, aren't water hogs, and are easy to propagate. One plant will eventually give you lots of little new plants.
Tool box planter 
Tool box planter
My local nursery's vertical frame overflowing with succulents.
My old 3 tiered planter filled with propagated succulents.

Here is my short tutorial on creating a succulent planter-
1) Find a container that either has the ability to drain or that you can drill holes into the bottom.
2) Fill with cactus/succulent potting soil.
3) Gather together enough succulents to pretty much fill the container.  Try asking friends and neighbors for cuttings.  These you can just stick straight into the soil.  Or watch out for small succulents at your local nurseries.  These should only cost a couple of dollars.
4) Gently place your plants into the soil and tamp down the soil around the succulent.
5) Finish by gently watering your lovely new planter.

Here is my list of ideas I'm considering for repurposing as planters: tea cup, shell, shoe, colander, wheel barrow, rain gutter, wagon, bathtub, old dresser, shopping cart, pail, and a watering can.  Am I missing anything?  Oh yeah, the kitchen sink!
There are some wonderful books published on succulent gardening, as well as, container gardening.  Give these a look:

P.S. Come take a look at our beautiful deck at Fairfax Library.  It recently received a makeover with many lovely container plantings of succulents, all done by our wonderful Teen Advisory Group. 

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