My Garden Container Journey
I started my life of gardening and farming now nearly ten years ago. In that time I’ve experimented with all sorts of methods of growing, most of them improvised. While I have had experiences, I have not had a lot of money. My recycled farming style developed out of necessity because buying dedicated growing containers becomes less important when you have things like food to pay for. Compost you can make from food scraps, but where does one get free gardening containers?
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Well chances are if you live in the modern world at all you have waste, much of it oil based plastics that won’t break down. The first time I saw a unique garden container was with a marijuana grow. It was comical to see robust green plants sprouting up out of old milk containers that read “Almond Milk” on the side and sported cuts on the side and bottom for water drainage. The coolest part? It worked, and they could even be reusable. Basically use them till you can’t!
I’ve compiled a list of creative and recycled garden containers that I’ve personally tried. Each have different purposes but all are useful when trying to farm or homestead on a budget.
Creative Garden Container Ideas
Used Party Cups:
Those red “solo” cups that you always see in the hands of college students at parties are actually perfect for starting seeds. If you party, save your cups, wash them out and re-purpose by cutting holes in the bottom for drainage. If you don’t party, ask your neighborhood party animals to save cups for you!
Paper Towel Rolls and Toilet Paper Roll Inserts:
Every time you finish a roll of paper towels or toilet paper you’re left with the roll. You’ve got three choices, throw out, give to your dog (excellent toy) or cut into one inch pieces for the purpose of making your own soil plugs. Just place them on a tray and fill the rolls with soil to start seeds. Add the seeds, wait until you see roots out the bottom and replant with their biodegradable wrapper!
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Are you one of those families that uses dixie cups for washing your teeth? Save the cup and start seeds in it!
2 Liter Bottles:
Have a Mountain Dew addiction? Turn your bottles into pots! You can use these for regular soil gardening as well as hydroponic gardening!
Growing in Milk Crates:
Have extra milk crates? Like the edges with newspaper, fill with dirt and grow! These are great for carrots which need rock free soil as well as a deep growing area.
Hay bale farming:
This one we tried on large scale taking advantage of a friend with an organic hay farm that happened to have a few hundred moldy bales he couldn’t sell. For the price of gas for delivery we started a farm in the city that looked like a maze to start. People recommend straw which is more expensive, the only downside to using hay is you’ll have to weed your garden or just do what I do and forage the free food that grows out of them along with the food you grow. It just takes placing a bale, fertilizing it (organically, urine water works) and then planting a few plants in the top and sides. One of the most quick and productive ways to farm, ever.
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Tire Raised Beds:
Using used tires you can make awesome raised beds. I like to layer mediums starting with gravel then adding compost, potting soil and dirt till it’s filled. Add plants and let it go. This is great for the three sisters plant combination in my experience.
As you can tell there are a lot of ways to use what you have to grow some food, or even take advantage of waste materials your friends have. If you find you like these ideas, consider asking friends and family for free tires, two liters ect. Chances are they’re more than willing to give you their waste and you’ll usually end up with more planting containers than you can fill, I did.
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