How To… Get Started on a Recycled Container Garden (Guest Post)

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We have the lovely Chris visiting us again from Thinly Spread – where she writes about her appraoch to parenting, crafting, gardening and lots of lovely recipes! Not only is Chris a fellow crafter (see her great Christmas Crackers she did for Red Ted Art before), but she is also a great gardener. If you don’t know where to start with your garden, read on. Over the coming months, I will be turning to her and her blog for advice and direction!!! Today, she brings you a fabulous intro into getting your garden ready – plant some seeds and make some fabulous recycled container gardens. Great for small or big space. Hello Chris!:

Although there is still a distinct chill in the air and the last two nights have brought frost here in the South West, there is now no doubt that spring has sprung! It is time to spruce up the garden and prepare it for its mad blowsy season. I have spent the last few days clearing the veg patches ready for action as it’s much easier to get on with it now before the weeds take hold. I have been digging in compost and drawing up a plan on a large piece of paper to show me what is going where this year. I have seeds planted in loo rolls and newspaper tubes all over the house all ready and waiting.

But, I am an impatient woman and this is not enough so I always create a bit of instant garden at this time of year to get me in the mood. I don’t want to spend a lot of money so I make container gardens out of things I have lying around and things picked up for pennies in charity shops.

You can use almost anything to plant into. Old wellies, boots and shoes are good as are pots, pans and colanders. Cases and bags which are past their prime can look fabulous overflowing with summer flowers or bursting with tasty herbs and salad, your imagination is the only limitation!

Here’s a little

‘How To’ to get you started with recycled container gardening!

You need to make sure there are drainage holes in your container so that your plant is not sitting in a swamp. Colanders are obviously fine here but most things will need you to punch or drill holes into the base to allow excess water to drain out. Colanders and sieves will need lining with newspaper to stop all the compost washing out of the holes when it rains.

Once you have punched your holes, you now need to cover them up! Pop in some pebbles, bits of broken pot or broken up polystyrene packaging. This is to ensure that the drainage holes don’t get blocked up with compost. If you are using a tall container like a welly, do fill the bottom with pot or pebbles rather than polystyrene or they will be top heavy and fall over!

Next fill your container with peat free compost. If you are using a boot, you are unlikely to need to fill it with compost unless you are planting a deep rooted plant so you can fill it to about half way with broken pot pieces to save on compost.

When you are planting up make sure you put the lower growing plants at the front of your container and the taller ones at the back so you can see and enjoy everything!

These wellies are hand me down hand me downs which my daughter plodded about in for ages. The lining has gone and they leak; even before I punched holes in them! I will get enormous pleasure seeing them spilling over with flowers and remembering many happy walks hand in hand with my little girl!

These colanders seemed to be crying out to be filled with herbs. I am going to stand them outside the kitchen door in the sunshine for quick pickings (I will be protecting them from frost for a few  more weeks yet as they are new young plants and I don’t want them zapped before they get a chance to get going!)

As they grow, they will outgrow your container and need moving on. Pot them into larger containers or start a herb garden and plant them in the ground. Read the plant labels or seed packets for care instructions for each plant, I can’t cover them all here!

If you have planted spring bulbs, allow them to die back and then remove them, dry them out and plant them in the ground (or another container) in the autumn and pop some summer bedding in instead or scatter some salad seeds on the surface and wait for your garden to grow!

Container gardening means you can grow things for your kitchen or to cheer your day with colour and scent even if you only have a small patch or a window ledge. Gardening in upcycled containers means it doesn’t need to be expensive and growing from seed means you get a lot of plants for a small outlay!

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