Water, occasional fertilizer and deadheading the spent flowers is all that is needed. And best of all no weeding. I water about every other day, if it does not rain, but check daily to make sure the containers have not dried out. Stick a finger into the soil and if you feel moisture 1 to 2 inches depth, they do not need watering. I fertilize about every 2 weeks, either with compost tea or manure water. You'll find my links below for making your own. Or of course you can purchase fertilizers at your local nursery or garden center. Make sure any containers you use have drainage holes.
Gardening does not have to be expensive when you observe objects that can serve as containers, whether whimsical or classic. You may enjoy some of the ideas I've utilized to enhance my own backyard, and you may just have some of these things waiting for a new life in the garden. Using your imagination and the inspiration from my photos may bring you many hours of enjoyment in your own garden.
1. An old cement fountain or birdbath, that leaks and no longer works. Just remove the water pump from the fountain, place it where you want it in the flower beds, under a tree, or on the patio or balcony. Fill the water reservoir with a good potting soil and tuck your plants inside. Simply water it and fertilize as needed.
2. Old chairs, metal or wood with the seat removed. There are several ways to utilize the old chairs. Chicken wire fastened to the open underside, with some moss placed over the wire will hold soil and plants can be added. With some chairs, the hole where the seat was, is the perfect size to slip a container inside, then just fill that container with good potting soil and plant. With some other chairs, you may be able to simply set a container on the seat platform. If you do not choose to remove the seat from wooden chairs, you can cut out the center and slip a container into that hole. Chairs can also be used simply as plant stands if you choose not to remove the seats. You can add a basket to the chair frame, paint the basket and chair to match with spray paint.
3. Old watering cans, metal coffee cans and old galvanized buckets, tubs, and metal tool box trays are great containers for your favorite flowers. If the bottoms have rusted out or partially rusted there may be enough drainage, otherwise, drill some holes in the bottom for drainage. No drill? No problem, a nail and hammer will work to pierce the holes in thin metal or plastic.
4. Old Chicken Feeders and Waterers are great containers for flowers. Again if rusted out, they should drain well, otherwise piece holes in them with a drill or nail.
5. Large cottage cheese, or sour cream containers are handy containers for many things including plants. They can easily be spray painted to conceal what they are, piece holes in the bottom and fill with good potting soil.
6. Old Rubber boots and Leather boots are fun and whimsical containers for plants. If the soles are worn through they will drain, otherwise drill drainage holes. Old Rubber boots also work well for bouquets. Just slip a mason jar inside, fill with water and your flowers for a fun patio bouquet.
7. Old boot scrapers can be utilized as planters for succulents. My boot scraper was resin with a brush. The brush wore out, so what to do with it? Add some potting soil and tuck some succulents into the soil. They need little water occasionally, and periodic rain is usually enough,
8. Do you have some old bricks laying around? Build those bricks around a large bucket, and make a wishing well with roof made from recycled wood. The bricks do not have to be mortared in, just layered around the bucket, that can also be used as the container for plants and no one will know you used nothing more than an old bucket. Be sure to drill holes for drainage. This makes a great planter and cute no matter where it's placed. Cement blocks can be painted or stenciled and the opening in the block can be filled with soil and plants tucked inside.
9. One of my favorite non-conventional plant containers is an old wood frame window with a planter box attached. It's easy to add the planter box and does not require carpentry skills. Measure across the width of your window frame, for the front piece. Measure the depth you wish for your window box to be. Cut the pieces of wood needed, nail the box together and use wood glue to secure the pieces together. Cut a piece for the bottom of your window box, nail that to the wooden box. Screws work best for securing the box to the window frame. If your wooden window frame has glass in the panes, use a drill through the wood, and screw the window box to the frame. Hammering nails in to secure that, could shatter the glass. Fill the box with potting soil and plant your favorite annual flowers. I use mine year round and change it according to the season.
10. Old pie tins make great water catching reservoirs under plant containers. It's especially good to place a water reservoir under some plants that love lots of water. Just make sure they do not leak. I have used plastic lids that have high sides on them as water reservoirs as well.
When I water, I allow the water to completely fill the planter, allow to drain, then again, fill with water to make sure water gets completely through the soil and into the root zone. Surface watering is hard on plants and they are not able to utilize the moisture. Make sure plants are always thoroughly watered which will also mean less watering, better root system and water conservation since those plants will not need to be watered as often.
If a plant does dry out, dip the entire container into a bucket or dishpan and allow it to soak up water completely.
Most Spring Bulbs are suitable in containers, such as Grape Hyacinth, Woodland Hyacinth, Daffodils, Tulips and Windflowers. Once those have been spent and the foliage begins to die back, you can interplant with your favorite Spring flowers to hide the foliage and continue enjoy your plants throughout the remaining season.
Visit my links for making your own organic fertilizer and potting soil.
Organic Potting soil link: justfowlingaround.weebly.com/earth-friendly-projects/diy-organic-potting-soil
Idea for planting succulents: justfowlingaround.weebly.com/earth-friendly-projects/category/hens-n-chicks-chicken-basket
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CREDENTIALS: Certified Oregon State Master Gardener since 1999. Horticulture degree 2001. Study of Herbs and Horticulture Therapy, heavy research and study of all plants and herbs. Gardening a lifetime.