Your garden is the perfect place to express your creativity! Backyard gardening is also healthy for the mind, body and soul. It gets you outdoors and gives you the satisfaction of growing your own food. What’s better is that you can control what goes into your plants and you know exactly what you’re consuming. I encourage you to add an eco-friendly touch to your garden when you can and consider these five ideas for recycling containers for planting pots.
1. Tea tins and coffee cans
Turn your empty tea tins or coffee cans into adorable containers for herbs and other small plants! They work particularly well for windowsill gardening. Simply wash the tin or can out and then use a flat-head screwdriver to punch water holes in the bottom (flip the can upside down and punch into the can to avoid sharp edges). Fill them with potting soil to plant your herbs. When it comes time to water your plants, place them in your kitchen sink to drain before returning them to your window sill.
2. Old kitchen tools
Whether the handles of your colander have finally fallen off or you search yard sales and thrift stores for them, old kitchen tools can make a charming addition to your backyard garden or patio. Consider colanders, teapots, cooking pots and even hanging fruit baskets for your garden. An old cooling rack can be hung vertically to give a climbing plant a place to travel, while an old muffin tin makes for a great seedling tray.
When you replace your gutters on your home, consider keeping the old gutters to build mountable planters that can be attached to the fence or the side of your house for non-edible plants. They’re perfect for flowering plants that feed and encourage pollinators to visit your yard. Simply screw them into a flat horizontal surface and plant as usual. Avoid using old gutters for your edibles, as they may leach toxins — including lead — into your plants.
Both wicker and metal baskets make for great planters. Simply line the basket with some moss before adding your potting soil. Baskets allow for easy drainage, and their handles make them versatile. Hang them from your porch cover or decoratively arrange them together in the corner of your patio.
5. Cardboard scraps
Cardboard egg cartons, toilet paper rolls and paper towel rolls are perfect for seed starters. Simply fill them with seed starting soil and add your seeds. Once leaves start to push through the soil, you can plant the entire seedling — cardboard container and all — in the ground. The cardboard will degrade over time and protect the roots as the plant grows.
Other gardening ideas
In addition to the above ideas, get creative when it comes to your garden. Here are some other ideas for recycling items in your garden and creating a truly unique space.
- Cut strips from plastic milk cartons for plant labels. Use a permanent marker to add each plant’s name to the strips.
- Fill clean wine, liquor or beer bottles with water and insert them, opening side down, into the soil. As the dirt dries out, it will draw water into the soil automatically, making your tending job easier.
- Use old utensils as plant markers. If you’re particularly crafty, use a set of metal stamps to add plant names to old teaspoons, knives and forks.
- For non-edible plants, consider things like old tires, broken electronics and even shoes for fun, decorative touches throughout your garden space.
What’s your favorite way to recycle something in the garden? Tell us in the comments!