Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Some new Veg containers

It grieves me to pay loads of money for something that ought to be cheap. Why do plastic flower-pots, planters and other growing-containers cost so much? It's not as if they are a complex shape, or anything, and most of them are pretty flimsy. I think the assumption must be that gardeners have loads of money to spare and they will pay whatever the suppliers ask! In my case, Not So. I have been looking around for suitable alternatives, and have found a couple.

The first type is the wooden wine-crate. These are relatively rare these days, because most wines are packaged in cardboard boxes, but the "posh" ones still come in wooden crates. Making some enquiries in this respect I found that my local branch of Majestic Wine was prepared to help me. They don't get a lot of wooden crates, but they are not re-cycled either, so the staff were more than happy for me to relieve them of the responsibility for disposal. Unfortunately they only had two boxes available when I visited, but there is the promise of more to come. This is what I got:




As you can see, they are quite attractive items, though evidently made of fairly flimsy unseasoned wood. I don't expect them to last more than one year, but I reckon they will be ideal for growing things like salads, radishes or baby carrots. I have drilled a few holes in the bases and fixed a couple of battens to them. The battens will lift the boxes off the ground and allow excess water to run out better, as well as reducing the speed at which the wood will rot, by minimising surface contact.


My other useful find was a range of rectangular plastic crates sold as storage-boxes by Tesco. At only £1.67 each I thought these were a bargain. You can hardly buy a single pot-saucer for that sort of money, at a Garden Centre. Drill a couple of drainage holes in these, and you have got some very serviceable growing-containers.


Coincidentally I find that two of these will fit neatly into that wooden raised planter that Jane won for me last year:


So that's my carrot-growing arrangements for this year neatly taken care of then...

Some of you will have seen this one before. It is the container which held my Christmas tree.


I got this one (free) from my local butcher's shop. It previously held a huge quantity of Chinese Five-Spice Marinade, but I have washed it pretty thoroughly, and I plan to use it for growing a chilli plant in - I think the colour will be most appropriate!

Has anybody else out there found a good source of this sort of thing?

22 comments:

  1. The wine boxes will look very good in the garden Mark. The chilli plants will suit the colour of that pot very well.

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  2. I build large frames for my veg to make raised beds. (Do you KNOW how much they charge for a ready-made frame? It's insane...) I recycle pallet-wood and knock it together as best I can, and they do the trick. (Though like your wine crates it's definitely a solution with limited durability.)

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  3. Now then Mr. Willis - where's my mention for giving you the ideas! I reckon the wine crates will last far longer than you imagine and will look great planted up.

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  4. Here in the US I've gotten 5 gallon buckets for free. I use them for lots of things in the garden. One year they were my tomato planters.

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  5. Wine boxes are great - I've got one that size as a salad planter and have smaller ones (single bottle presentation boxes) as windowsill planters for winter pansies at the front of my house. I try to steer away from using plastic flower pots where I can (particularly new ones). I don't think they should be cheap - 'cheap' conjures up 'disposable' and that's not a good association where plastic is concerned.

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  6. OK, Ms Rickett, it's a fair cop. I admit I got the idea for scrounging the wine-crates from something I saw on one of your lovely blogs! Unfortunately the ones I got are nowhere near as sustantial as the ones you showed...

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  7. As long as you aren't constantly disturbing the crates I think you could get a number of seasons from it actually. Love the idea. One of the initially expensive costs associated with seed starting has to be amassing any sizable number of pots to plant an entire food garden and not one of simply hobby-ing about.

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  8. Looks like you are making preparations! I think I will try some bucket gardening!

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  9. Where did all the snow go? Oh no...your making plans, which means spring must be on its way for you.....which means autumn must be heading our way. But I don't think I'm ready for that yet :(

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  10. A man after my own heart. You know I love a recycled planter...hell! I like a recycled anything!

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  11. I absolutely bloody love those wine boxes for planting!!! I tried to look for some myself last spring but could only find expensive versions on eBay. We use an old metal wheelbarrow to plantveg in which works out really well and now in its 4th year is starting to look nicely vintage.

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  12. I got a few empty paint buckets from my neighbor for free two months back when he got his house painted.

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  13. They'll age beautifully, I've always wanted them, but for home. They fetch big prices on ebay and I was sure they weren't available new any more ... eh, misconceptions.

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  14. I love those wooden wine boxes (I probably would have enjoyed their contents too....). I love that you've been on the scrounge at local businesses - that's something I've never done. The footpath for things like polystyrene fruit boxes yes but businesses not yet. I agree with you about plastic pots - although I do use quite a lot but all are second hand from the tip shop (via my ever useful father).

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  15. Great containers. The wood boxes will look great with salads.

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  16. LOVE the wine crate idea! I'll be calling about for sure!

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  17. Will you line the wooden crates with plastic to protect them a little Mark? The wine crates do look very smart!

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  18. I love those wine crates, they'll look great planted up with salads. The plastic boxes are nice and deep, just the thing for your carrots.

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  19. I've been looking for wive crates for some time now, but local stores don't share it, or even sell it...:( I made some containers last year from wood remnants.

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  20. Top tip on the wine boxes Mark, might have to try that one myself. Crazy that such things just get thrown out, and then we are supposed to pay a fortune for flimsy plastic pots made from unrenewable resources. Happy carrot growing!

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  21. WONDERFUL idea Mark as I can get those wine boxes by the dozen here in France and for free too! I currently use them as vegetable and fruit storage drawers, but I may set aside a couple for containers for my herbs!
    Karen

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  22. Hi, I have been wanted to grow vegetables for years. As i have concrete flooring I will obviously have to grow them in containers; But I don't understand how will I keep them warm and free from bugs especially in the winter. Mini Greenhouses that are sturdy cost too much so does anyone have any good cheap alternative ideas?

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