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Past Articles Library | Container Gardening


4 Unique Planters from Found Objects

 
 

While life as a gardener is made easy when I can just purchase the perfect container, this is not always the case.  Sometimes the store bought containers just do not meet the need or I really want to have a theme and I cannot find the right container.  In doing so, I have gathered some of my top DIY containers.

DIY Hedgehog

A really cute planter can be made from any size plastic bottle.  The size of the bottle really depends on the size planter you want. 

To begin this process you will need to remove the label from the bottle.  Once that is done, cut a rectangle on the side.  I really cannot tell you the size because I do not know what size bottle you are using but the key is to make sure not to cut out the whole side.  Instead, you just want a section cut out.  If you plan on putting your planter outside, poke a hole in the bottle across from where you cut the rectangle.  On the other hand, if your planter is going to remain inside, skip this step.

Now the fun begins and you can really make your planter look like a hedgehog.  To do this, cover both ends of the bottle with material such as burlap or wrap twine around the bottle.  Secure with glue.  Add eyes to the bottle along with a nose using buttons.

Once this is done, fill your planter with soil and plant as usual.

DIY Self-Watering Planter

A self-watering planter can be made from a plastic or glass bottle.  If you are growing a plant that is not going to be eaten, it is fine to use the plastic.  On the other hand, if you decide you want to grow say herbs then choose glass.

To make the plastic version, you will need to acquire a 2-liter plastic bottle.  Remove the wrapper from the bottle.  At this point, you will be drawing two lines that will divide the bottle into thirds.  The first line should occur just above the lines that indicate the bottom or where the bottom of the label was.  The second line should occur where the top of the label goes.  Yes, I know you are wondering why I said to remove the labels.  Well, the answer is simple.  As careful as one may be, you will find yourself cutting through some of the label.  This will dull your scissors or knife.  In doing so, it is better to just remove the label.

Once that is done, dispose of the middle part of the bottle.  At this point, you can decorate the two halves any way you would like.  After you have done that, it is time to create the self-watering container.  To do this is simple and starts off with running cording, thick string or wick into the bottom of the top half of the bottle.  When doing this, you will need to hold the top like a funnel and run the “cording” through the bottom into the top.

Next, add the soil so that the “cording is running into the soil.  You can then plant the “funnel” as you would like.  Fill the lower half of the bottle halfway full of water and place your “cording” into it.  Top the water-filled half with the “funnel.”

If you are using a glass bottle, you will need to cut the bottle in half and remove the cork.  Run the “cording” and plant as described above.  In the plastic bottle example, you removed the wrapper but when using a glass bottle you can keep the label on if you are using your planter indoors. 

DIY Wine Bottle Planter

This planter is wonderful one to create for that wine lover.  While there are horizontal versions, this particular one is a vertical style.  To create this planter, one will first need to cut the bottom off the bottle.  This is easier said than done.  While there are numerous ways of doing this task, I like the old-fashioned way of using a cheap, glass cutter.  How far up do you cut?  Well, the easiest measurement is to use the label.  You want the cut to be along the lower edge of the label.  Since the label does not go all the way around the bottle, you will need to mark it off with a wax pencil.

Once you have marked the area off, you will need to find a friend or make a gig for your bottle.  The gig is just something that will hold the bottle still while you cut into the bottle.  The glass cutter I use requires several times over the scored area before it breaks away.  In doing do take your time when doing this step and do not forget to wear gloves.

After the bottle has been cut, smooth the cut glass with sandpaper and if you would like remove the labels.  Keep in mind though, if you keep the labels on and place your planter outside they will fade and peel away. 

The next step in this process is to run a chain or wire through the neck of the bottle.  In this step, do not try to go down the neck.  Instead, go from the bottom up through the neck.  Now, you are ready to plant.

But, how do you plant this planter?  The answer is simple and requires a base.  You will need to take a ball of soil and wrap around it a good about of damp sphagnum moss.   Once you have that done, wrap the soil and moss ball in chicken wire and push this mass into the bottom of the bottle. 

At this point, you can plant into the soil and moss ball.     

DIY Hotbed

This planter is has multi-purposes and is designed for small areas but can really be made any size.  Before I tell you how to create it, I need to first explain the science behind it.  First, glass bottles are used to create a microclimate that is warmer than the surround area.  This occurs when the bottles take up air and the sun comes out.  As the sun hits the bottles, the air inside warms up and creates a microclimate.

To create your own hotbed, starts off with collecting a lot of glass bottles.  It is easier to make this planter if the bottles are all the same size.  Once you fill you have enough, collect a few more.  It is amazing how many bottles this planter uses.

Next, make an outline of a small circle in your garden space.  Once you have that, you can lay down a line of concrete following this outline.  Only follow the outline and do not fill the middle up with concrete.  This center is going to be your planting area.

Once you have that line down, place bottles into the concrete so that the necks are going inward.  After you have bottles all the way around, add another layer of concrete and repeat.  You will need three rows of bottles and make sure that the openings of the bottles remain clear.

Allow the concrete to dry for at least a week before planting.   To plant, fill with soil, add your plant material and water in as usual.


 

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Purple Knight Alternanthera

This ground cover likes partial sun to full sun.

It grows 16 to 20 inches (40-50 cm) tall, and 2 to 3 feet (60-90 cm) wide. It is very heat tolerant.

Its beautiful purple leaves make an excellent accent plant in the garden.


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