Saturday, May 19, 2012

Up-cycling - Working With What You Have

      Since I am only growing things out of containers and because I keep acquiring more plants, it would make sense that at some point I would run out of usable containers. Well, it happened a couple days ago. I had managed to use the ridiculous amount of plastic containers that I bought plus any and all ceramic planter-looking things I could find in my house. Unfortunately, I discovered this after coming home with 12 tomato plants from the farm we visited (see prior post). Now, it wouldn't have been a big deal if it were say, 1 or 2 plants. I would have just gone to the store and pick up the couple pots I needed. But 12 is a great deal more than a couple. Why I didn't think about this dilemma before buying the tomatoes, I'm not sure. It is a question that C. asked me once we got home though. Sometimes I get so excited about new plants I fail to think through where I'm going to put them. See, and this is another thing that I miss about living in Maine. If we were living in Maine and I came home with 12 plants without sufficient number of pots for them, it wouldn't be a big deal. It'd be more like, oh well that part of the yard doesn't get a lot of foot traffic and gets a lot of sun, so let's put them there! Alas, our house here on base is one that doesn't have a garden bed in front of the house. At least, one of a usable size and in a sunny location. So this leads back to the need for more containers. My first thought was to go in search of big tubs for these plants to go in. I succeeded, finding three big tubs at wal-mart (a place I hate, but sometimes their prices are just too good to pass up). But even in the car ride home I was regretting my decision not to think about what I could use that we already had in the house. So when I got home, I searched the house for bigger boxes. Recently, we recycled a bunch of our cardboard boxes that we had left over from moving, so I was hoping to find some that I had missed. Mission completed! Then I did some research online to make sure that the cardboard would actually work as a substitute for plastic (which it does). 
      Now I don't know about you, but the sight of a cardboard box is not that appealing to my eye. And it does absolutely nothing visually for the beautiful plants that it would hold. So I found the blue duct tape my husband bought (good color choice, C.!) and starting wrapping the boxes. Turns out, there's a lot more surface area than one might think. After almost three rolls of duct tape, I now I have four boxes. 

This one is the smallest. It is probably 10"x10" and maybe 5" deep. 
I made this one specifically for the four dianthus plants that needed to be re-potted
from their previous containers that provided no drainage. 

These are the boxes for my tomatoes. The two smaller boxes hold Roma tomatoes
and Patio tomatoes, while the bigger box holds a bigger variety Early Girl tomatoes.

 Those boxes might get too small for those tomato plants, but I can re-plant some of them into more boxes if it becomes an issue. We still have more boxes and duct tape is cheap!

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