Gardening with Recycled Containers

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Gardening with Recycled Containers

Staff Writer · Mar 16, 2010

Gardening with recycled containers saves you money, while giving you the opportunity to express your creative side. Almost anything can be used as a recycled container if you understand the basics of container gardening. If you use the proper tips and techniques, you’ll grow flowers and plants as if you had spent money on store bought containers.

Examples of Recycled Containers

Here are some ideas for recycled containers that may help you transform what you already have into an indoor or outdoor container garden:

  • Five gallon plastic bucket
  • Metal milk container
  • Five gallon plastic jug
  • Kettle
  • Coffee can
  • Shoes
  • Plastic bottles
  • Food cans
  • Gift baskets

Keep in mind when selecting your container to avoid ones with very narrow openings. Otherwise, you’ll have trouble working with the soil when you need to, or your plant or flower may not have enough room to grow. Watch out for thin plastic containers over time. The sunlight will break down the plastic and cause them to stiffen.

Beware of Chemical Leaks

This is a concern if you’re growing vegetables or other edible plants. The chemicals in your container can leak into the soil and thwart any efforts to grow an organic garden. Even if you’re not growing an organic garden, you don’t want to eat foods with chemicals from used plastic or other materials. Check the bottom of the container for the resin identification code (a number 1-7) which will tell you what kind of plastic the container is made of. Then check www.plasticinfo.org for more information on the chemicals in the plastic container you want to work with, according to its number. Plastics with the number 2, 4 and 5 are often safe to use, because these ones don’t transfer chemicals into foods. If you’re not sure, use something else that’s recommended by fellow gardeners offline and online.

Buy Healthy Soil

Top soil from your local nursery or a potting soil mix from the garden center are good options for healthy soil. A cheaper way is to ask other gardeners and farmers who have problem free soil for some of their soil. They may give it to you for free or at a cheap price. Ask detailed questions about any herbicides or chemicals used to treat the soil if you want to grow an organic garden. Confirm that they’ve had success with their gardening in the soil, and get some tips and advice from them on working with the soil.

Drainage

Whichever recycled container your choose, you’ll have to create drainage. No drainage leads to the destruction of plant roots. Many renters choose plastics over other containers, because it’s easier to drill holes using a knife or hammer and nails. However, it’s possible with a drill and different sized drill bits to create drainage in any container. Ask a “do-it-yourselfer” for help if you get stuck.

Apartment renters can take advantage of an amazing opportunity by gardening with recycled containers. Instead of throwing a potential container in the trash, use it to grow herbs, plants and flowers for you and your family to use.

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