Container gardens are a popular and fun way to grow plants in small spaces – plus you can endlessly experiment with garden design. For an extra bit of self-expression, why not save the planet a little and plant your seedlings in containers made from reused household items?

Container gardens are a popular and fun way to grow plants in small spaces – plus you can endlessly experiment with garden design. For an extra bit of self-expression, why not save the planet a little and plant your seedlings in containers made from reused household items?


"You're keeping something out of the trash and you're growing something that looks beautiful and probably smells nice, too," said Linda Levitsky of San Francisco's East Bay Depot for Creative Use, a shop that collects cast-off items to be sold for crafts and other uses.


Levitsky had these suggestions for household items that would make creative plant containers:


 


Olive oil tin herb garden


For this project, you can patiently store a collection of olive oil tins (they range from about 15 ounces to 34 ounces) as you use the oil, or visit Italian restaurants and ask for their cans.


1. Using a can opener, cut away the top of the tin. Carefully wash out the container to remove the oil residue.


2. Drill a couple of holes in the bottom for drainage.


3. Fill the tin with good quality potting soil. Resist the temptation to dig some dirt out of your garden or yard. What works well in the ground doesn't necessarily provide proper nutrients or moisture-retention in a container, said Troy Cooper of the Ohio State University Cooperative Extension Service.


"There are different qualities of potting soil and, generally, you will find that you get what you pay for," Cooper said.


4. Plant a different herb in each tin. Before deciding how many seedlings will fit in the tin, keep in mind the various heights and root requirements for each type of herb. You want to be careful not to overplant the container.


"You want to match the plant to the container and make sure the size of the pot doesn't hinder the root development," Cooper said.


 


Hibachi grill container garden


These classic ball-shaped small grills can usually be found at garage sales, flea markets or maybe even in your own garage.


1. Discard the lid or find another use for it. Carefully scour away the rust and corrosion from the grill and repaint it in an exciting new color with some spray paint. Or leave it grubby for a deliberately "distressed" look.


2. Repair the grill legs, if necessary, or remove the legs if you'd rather create a new base out of stones or bricks on which to rest your container.


3. Make sure the vents on the bottom of your grill are open. If needed, drill holes in the bottom to provide drainage.


4. Fill the grill with good quality potting soil.


5. Plant a variety of plants with differing heights, textures and colors. Again, before making your final selection of plants consider their root requirements and mature size to be sure you don't overload the container.