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Recycled Container Gardening

Container gardening sounded like a good, thrifty way to feed our family healthy organic produce, except for one thing: landscape timbers to build a raised bed, big flower pots for vegetables, and other containers are expensive! Then, my eye landed on the dozen empty kitty litter containers (Fresh Step--about the size of five-gallon jugs) I'd saved because they just seemed likely to be useful one day. A few holes in the bottom and a can of spray paint (used on the outside only) turned the whole dozen from kitty litter buckets into bright flower pots, with a total expense of less than $2!


I happened to have kitty litter buckets, and they could probably be had readily from your local Freecycle community, but they're definitely not the only containers that would work well. Look at the groceries you bring home. Herbs would grow in a row of margarine tubs, wouldn't they? What about empty plastic coffee containers? What other containers are you throwing away?

All you need for functionality is to be sure the plastics aren't going to leech dangerous chemicals into edible plants (easy to look up online) and a few holes in the bottom of each container for drainage. But again, a bit of paint and whatever other decoration you like will keep you from feeling like you're living in an overgrown garbage pile.

From what I've read, even apartment dwellers with a bit of balcony space can raise enough produce to feed a family of four with careful planning ... really! Google "balcony vegetable gardening" for lots of good how-to information that applies equally well to container gardening in any other space. And, with recycled containers, there's enough money to buy clean dirt to fill the pots ... healthy, organic food for very little investment! Hooray!

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April 18, 20080 found this helpful

Smart idea! We lived in an apartment that had a balcony and I used a kids swimming pool for my garden. I had tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, beets, corn and numerous other veggies planted in there! I didn't put any holes in it , as I was trying to be considerate of the neighbors below us. I used the railings to stake the tomato plants and corn against, worked out great! I also used pails to plant flowers placed along the railing so it would look prettier from the street.

I had many great compliments on how beautiful our balcony looked too. I thought out of the box when I was planning my garden up there. You can too! The ideas are only limited to your imagination. Have fun with it is the best way to look at it.

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April 21, 20080 found this helpful

My husband brought home 5 gal. plastic buckets from his work that were going to end up in the trash. Besides the obvious uses for buckets, I drilled a couple of holes in the bottom for drainage and planted my tomatoes in them. The tomato cages stand up in them fine. And another benefit I have noticed is that I don't find those tomato horn worms on them anymore......I don't know why, except maybe they don't want to or can't climb up the buckets??? Don't forget to mulch, though, cause they will dry out faster then in the ground.

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June 12, 20130 found this helpful

I enjoyed your recycling garden pots, I have been doing that for many years, teapots, boots, steamer pots, etc. At the moment I have parsley growing in an old toaster (cord cut off) which amuses my youngest granddaughter no end.

Jean Maffra Gippsland Australia

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