This red wagon brings back fond memories, I can still see B as a little thing carting stuff around in it, which is why it’s dear to me. As he grew, he didn’t use it much anymore, and it was only occasionally used by Jeff as a garden cart. This year we re-purposed it into a strawberry planter. Jeff drilled some holes in the bottom for drainage, and we planted it full of berries. It makes me so happy every time I see it. I love creating something useful out of something special to us.
(I’ve also come to the conclusion, after a very rainy spring with slugs in record numbers, that I don’t want to plant strawberries in the ground anymore. Jeff agrees. We’re looking into ideas for growing them vertically and in other containers off the ground, because we’ve seen how much it reduces the slug damage, though we have a lot of other garden projects that are higher on the list at the moment. The slugs aren’t the only ones enjoying the strawberries, the chipmunks have discovered them as well. We plan to consolidate where we grow them, and use bird netting next year.)
I’ve been wanting to share some different things we’ve been re-purposing into garden planters. I was inspired by some of Jeff’s creative conversions, which is what gave me the inspiration to turn the red wagon into a strawberry planter. We have friends who have wanted to begin gardening, but don’t know where to start. They don’t want to spend the money on building raised garden beds when they have no gardening experience, and they don’t have a lot of spare time to delve into gardening endeavors. I think gardening in pots and containers is a great place to start! You don’t need as much soil to get started, and you can even look around at what you already have that could be used to grow things in.
Jeff filled this old wheelbarrow with soil and planted it with lettuce, kale, and cilantro. Instant garden bed! That wheelbarrow had been sitting by some old fencing, rusting away. (Conveniently, there were already some drainage holes.) Instead of throwing it out, Jeff found a creative way to extend it’s usefulness. I love it!
This other old wheelbarrow had rusted through in some places in the bottom and hadn’t been in use for awhile. Jeff covered the larger holes with a leftover little strip of hardware cloth, and planted it with nasturtiums. Since I took these pictures (when they first started blooming, and then when more flowers started popping up), the entire thing is completely covered in flowers. I really like the way it looks in the yard, and I like seeing new life brought to things we already have.
And these! This was a really fun idea Jeff had. He went to Habitat for Humanity to pick up some building supplies, and these little teacups were in the free box outside. He took them home, drilled a hole in the bottom of each one for drainage, and planted them with lemon and orange thyme. We sold them at a local farm. I thought they were adorable.
In our garden, Jeff has also used old tea kettles, mugs, and parts from an old woodstove for planters. (I need to take some more pictures.) I love the character and variety they bring to the garden, and I love making use of what we already have while prolonging the life of things and keeping them out of the landfill. All this re-purposing has made me look around at things with new eyes, as I’m realizing more things around our place that can be used in our garden.
Recently I was walking our dog in town while we were getting an oil change in our truck and I saw an old wheelbarrow in a garbage pile someone was throwing out. I knew it would make the perfect garden planter and I wanted to ask them if I could have it, but we didn’t have any room left in our truck because we’d filled it up with free pallets from a lumber store. (We use those for all sorts of things, I’ll have to share more about that in another post.) I wanted to mention it, though, because you might know someone getting rid of some things that you could use for gardening, so keep it in mind as you’re looking around.
One other thing I should mention is that you can simply use a hammer and nail to poke drainage holes in the bottom of metal containers, or you can get a particular drill bit suited for that. Also, when drilling the porcelain (like with those teacups pictured above), you’ll need a special drill bit for that as well.
Do you guys grow things in pots and containers? Do you already re-purpose things around your place to plant in? I want to hear about your creative re-purposing adventures, so please share. I’ve had so much to say about gardening lately, I ended up saving some of what I started writing here for another post because it was getting so long… for now I wanted to share some of these projects I’ve been excited about and hope it will bring you some inspiration for your gardens.