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in The potting shed
My greatest triumph is a large perennial and evergreen garden (grown from cuttings and gathered seeds) that is sitting looking lovely in flower buckets on my brick-paved driveway - and it cost me nothing at all! I have limited mobility which has brought me to focus on growing things in containers - it's not ideal but it helps eliminate jobs that involve digging, heaving, lifting, carrying and all that. I have also planted lots of native trees and plants by growing them in this manner before planting them out in the wild.
For both starting plants and add-hock boarders I use the large mushroom cartons - the ones that Supermarkets and Greengrocers use for loose mushrooms and other vegetable displays and then throw in the skip. They come in two convenient sizes. The small one is great as a seed tray, the larger one can be used for growing salad, herbs, larger cuttings, or even as temporary flower border. To make a boarder I line them up and put a nicely aged plank up in front of the row to cover the plastic containers. You have to do two simple jobs before you can use them. First, you have to drill holes in the bottom. I get my biggest drill bit, stack the trays inside one another - you can do as many as five at a time without splitting them - and then drill lots of holes in the bottom. Don't put too much pressure or weight on the drill or you will split them. Second you have to block the holes in the sides. This can be done by wrapping a strip of masking tape around them. What ever tape you use must go all the way around at least once with an overlap. Because the cartons are a moulded shape you stick it to the protruding areas, leaving it stretched across the recesses. All the holes are in protruding areas on these cartons, so they are all blocked off nonetheless. You can, alternatively, thread a strip or of plastic or polythene through the holes, back and fourth in the manner of weaving, until the two ends can be tied together. Always put the holes in the bottom before blocking the ones in the sides, because they don't stack for drilling once the tape or plastic has been added.
If you are lucky you might find a supermarket that throws out all it's used flower buckets. Again, these need holes drilled in the bottom. It is best to drill them one at a time, because you have to start fairly gently in order not to split the bottom of the bucket as you drill. You will soon get the hang of it though. I usually put twelve holes in the bottom of each bucket, but this can be varied depending upon how much drainage the plant needs. These buckets are almost indistinguishable from the big flower pots that cost so much once they are planted up, and being of regular colour (grey or black) and sizes (there are three that I have seen, small, medium and extra deep - for small trees) they look ever-so smart all in a group.
Noodle and soup pots are great for small and young plants, though you might like to put a quick coat of outdoor or gloss paint over them if they are to look good, or if they are transparent. An inverted transparent pot is very good for a mini-cloche if you put a quick strip of tape around to hold the pot and cloche together. If the pots are painted bright colours and you use electrical tape of contrasting colours to fix on the upturned, transparent pot, you end up with something that really looks the business, and will sit well in a row on a sunny windowsill waiting for your seedlings to sprout. I sometimes use a very light coating of an inexpensive metallic spray on the outside of noodle pots, and it looks brilliant!
If you don't like using an electric drill, you might invest in a carpenters hand drill, or, heat a poker in a garden fire and melt holes in the bottom of whatever type of plastic container you are using (avoiding breathing any fumes of course). I have done this with quite brit
Hope this helps those - like me - who aspire to skimp.
Thanks for sharing your great ideas with us. I especially like the idea of your border of mushroom cartons. It would be great to see some photos if you could post them on the site. I hope you enjoy the new growing season,