Creative container gardening

I’ve been seeing a lot of amazingly creative container gardens around lately, so I wanted to put together a post to showcase some of them.  This is the time of the year when folks with an outdoor garden space start to feel excited and inspired to get planting.  For those of us in small apartments or houses without yards, it can be hard to get motivated to start new projects just because it’s spring — after all, the time of year doesn’t make a huge difference for container gardens.  The flip side of this is that, well, the time of the year doesn’t make a difference, and we can keep growing inside year round without having to spare a thought for frost or snow.

Anyhow, for the lawn-less, the balcony-less and the transient folks, here are some amazingly creative and cool looking options for planters.

When I first saw this photo, I got so distracted by the gorgeous candy colours of the planters that it went completely over my head that they were old toilet tanks.  You might not be able to find the same amazing array of vintage tanks that this woman has, but I’m sure you could track down some plain old white ones and they would make amazingly sturdy and and functional planters.  I would try Used Victoria or the Habitat for Humanity Restore, and I bet you’d come up with lots of free or mega cheap options.

I’ve seen a few different variations on pallet planters (everything from how to re-purpose the lumber to build a standard container garden, or just plain plunking the pallet down in your garden and planting into it), but this one is my favourite because of its ingenious use of vertical space.  Fern Richardson, who created the planter in the picture above (as well as creating a great looking book about small space container gardens, that is available at the library) has a full tutorial about how to transform a pallet into a garden.  One word of caution:  please make sure that any pallets you scavenge have not been pressure treated.  The process of pressure treating  puts some seriously nasty chemicals into the wood, and you definitely don’t want them leaching into your food.

If you’re gardening indoors only, check out this fantastic tutorial about creating a kitchen herb garden that hangs right in your kitchen.  Even when I have lots of outdoor garden space, I try to make sure that I plant my herb garden close to where I cook.  Otherwise, I find I just don’t bother to make the trek out to the other end of the garden to grab a few sprigs of parsley (especially if it’s raining or dark out).  This project is a fantastic solutions to that problem, and is a great way to make sure your tasty culinary herbs are exactly where you need them:  in your cooking space.

Bottom line, you can get as creative as you want to with container gardening, so don’t feel limited by a lack of money, building skills, or space.  Container gardens can be in any kind of container.

For some great books on container gardening and lots more inspiration, check out the public library.  I’m particularly fond of The Edible Container Garden:  Growing Fresh Food in Small Spaces by Michael Guerra; Apartment Gardening:  Plants, Projects, and Recipes for Growing Food in your Urban Home by Amy Pennington, andThe Vegetable Gardener’s Container Bible:  How to Grow A Bounty of Food in Pots, Tubs, and Other Containers by Edward Smith.

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