Thursday, February 9, 2012


Like many other gardeners, my January was about planning for springtime.  A slightly obscene variety of organic heirloom seeds were ordered.  A garden plan was drawn.  Some seed starting equipment was purchased to make sure my frequent weekends away don't kill the tender little guys.  But still, there was a major hole in my plan: containers.  My garden is an 80 square foot cement slab so, yeah, containers should be a priority.  

Per usual, the Internet, sweet mistress of inspiration, suggested a frugal, greener option than going to Home Depot to fill a cart with brand new plastic: check your local grocery store.  It took me two tries at customer service, lots of polite smiles and a little hutzpah, but after my weekly visit to Shaw's on Monday, I walked out with a lot more than food.  Behold my haul!  

They gave me 16 food-grade 5-gallon buckets from their bakery.  I'm going to use this tutorial to turn them into self-watering pots (which, by the way, usually start at $50 a pop).  These ones were free, upcycled, and best of all, they smell like heavenly buttercream frosting.  I'm in little gardener heaven. 

P.S. This is my weekly entry at the Barn Hop.  I get tons of ideas from there. 


  1. Good for you!! This is an excellent idea, especially for urbanites who are gardening on balconies!

    I'm planning to use buckets in my large garden as well. I've been collecting them from a bakery where my friend works - buckets and lids are everywhere! We have a huge gopher problem as well as a short growing season so I need to get an earlier start this year. I'm going to either drill holes in the bottom or cut the bottom out and attach hardware cloth. Then I'll bury the containers half way in the ground. I'll fill part way with dirt and then plant my tomato seedlings inside. Besides acting as a water well, the gophers can't get to the roots until it grows out the bottom. Also, the tall sides will act as a mini-green house. At night I will replace the lid, but in the day, I'll remove it. As the tomatoes grow, I'll add some more dirt to encourage those small little hairy roots off the main stem. Eventually, as the season warms up, the tomato will have grown out the top and there will be no need for it to act as a green house but it will still be a water well and protect the roots somewhat from gophers. Wire cages for support are also easy to insert through the top opening. A friend of mine did this last year and had huge success!

  2. That is a great idea, I used to be able to bring buckets home from the plant I work at but 1 day they decided to stop allowing us to bring them home. This sounds like a good way to go. I bet we could probably try restaurants as well. If you haven't entered already, I am having a give away of seeds. Spread the word!