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?