By Michael Smith (Veshengro)
Container gardening, that is to say gardening using planters of all kinds, is becoming more and more popular and that for more than a single reason.
And, it is not just flowers and decorative plants that can be grown in containers. Vegetables too can be grown in that way and thus using containers, that is to say, planters, of whatever kind, makes growing food, at least some of it, possible even in the smallest of spaces.
Whether you are looking for a unique look for your garden or whether you are trying to scrimp by on little doing your garden I suggest you try “recycled” planters.
A “recycled” planter can be just about object that holds soil and has holes for drainage and can re-purposed into a planter, whether it’s an old chair, a claw foot tub, a tin can, or yes, the cylinder from an old washing machine, a toilet bowl, an old hand basin, or whatever.
While washing machine cylinders for planters do work and look great, real great, with the right plant(s), they can be better repurposed as and upcycled into small patio fireplaces. I am presently looking at doing that with a small old one.
Bathroom & kitchen fixtures, such as old claw foot tubs (though the latter, unless chipped or otherwise damaged are best kept as they are worth money), sinks, and yes, even toilets (portable or otherwise) are among the most popular items recycled into planters, or sometimes, miniature ponds.
The fiberglass bath tubs and such like also can be converted into planters – I have done so from fly tipped ones found in a park – and work very well indeed. They already some with a large drain hole though sometimes benefit from having a couple of other drilled in. This does not work with the cast iron ones though.
Old rubber tires make excellent recycled planters. You can paint them bright colors or leave them au natural.
But it is good to remember two things with regards to using rubber tires as planters.
As they do not have bottoms they cannot be moved without losing soil.
Tubeless tires, steel belted radials, should not be used as planted for food growing. Those, unlike the ones that had inner tubes, contain cadmium which leaches into the soil and it taken up by the food crop. A serioius NO, NO.
Old wheelbarrows, old beer kegs, cut in half or left whole, can be used as planters, as can many other an item of waste.
For food growing in the backyard, especially if you have all hard standing or don't want to have to build raised beds then the woven polypropylene builders' bags, aka tonne bags, are ideal. Used either in full height, or with the sides folded down half, they are ideal for food crop growing as they create planters of the “deep bed” method.
The possibility for recycled planters is nigh on endless and, basically, anything that is a tub of sorts, or “grow bag”, can be made use of as container in which to plant flowers or vegetables. You can even grow fruit trees in containers, such as builders' bags or big tubs.