Budget Pots and Modules.

Continuing on from my blog on budget propagation and protection. I am moving on to budget pots and modules. As money is tight for many folks, dont cut back on seeds, good seed is always worth the money. The best way to save money in the garden is to recycle. So much of what is thought of as ‘rubbish’ can be put to good use in growing plants. Some of the things we can use will be bio-degradeable, others not so much and many can be used more than once.

Yogurt  and Cream Pots.

These are a classic seed and growing pot, as are any other small plastic tubs and containers. Large plastic tubs and pots can be use to grow mature plants. Water bottles, fruit juice cartons, tubs from ice cream, there are so many. All these plastic containers will need drainage holes, these can easily be made using a drill or bradawl. These are non degradeable, but can be used a number of times.

Coffee Cups.

These can either be cardboard or polysterene. Make drainage holes in the base and use like any other plant pot. These are mostly non bio-degradeable, so tip out your seedling before planting. Many of the stronger cups can be used over again.

Toilet and Kitchen Roll inserts.

Another classic is the cardboard tubes from toilet and other paper rolls. They are easy to cut to size, though the toilet roll length is perfect for growing sweet peas, peas and beans, any vegetable that likes a deep root run. Leeks do quite well in them too. As the tubes have no bottoms, the best way to use them is to fill them up with compost and place in a tray. They dont require drainage holes but keep the cardboard moist. As the tubes are bio-degradeable there’s no need to remove the seedling from the tube, just give them a good soak and plant the whole thing. Keep moist after planting till the roots grow out into the soil. Any cardboard tubes can be used, just cut to size.

Newspaper Pots.

You can make good one use pots out of newspaper. I have an oak ‘paper potter’ for making pots. I was given it as a gift, but a straight sided jar or heavy glass will do just as well. I have also seen posts on the internet about making them. The easiest way to make them is, fold a sheet of newspaper till it’s the depth you want plus extra to fold in for the base. Wrap the folded newspaper round the bottom part of the jar with the extra bit sicking below the bottom. Tuck and fold the extra bit over the jar base and press down, giving a couple of twists. Place the paper pots in a tray and fill with compost. Use them just like the toilet tubes, planting out in the same way.

See also  Easter Sunday on the plot

Cardboard Egg Cartons.

The compartments that held the eggs can be filled with compost and can be used to sow seeds or growing on small seedlings. As these are bio-degradeable, just cut or separate individual sections, water well and plant. I find individual lettuce seedlings do well in these.

Plastic Flower Buckets.

These are readily available in supermarkets at a reasonable cost. Morrisons usually sell 8 for 99p, but I have often found stacks of double that for 99p. I was was once given 38 for £1.98. These can come in a few different sizes, but all are large enough to grow bush tomatoes, peppers, chillies and I grow carrots in them. They will need drainage holes, I use a medium spade bit on my cordless drill, and drill 5 or 6, 1 cm holes. I also use them as bottomless pots, placing 3 along a growbag in the greenhouse. I then plant my tomatoes into the compost filled bottomless pots. It is easy to cut off the bottoms with a pair of scissors. Note bottomless pots were for sale last year at my garden centre for £13.99 for 3! These flower buckets are great for growing strawberries too. Any large plastic container can be used, some restaurants buy catering ingredients in large lidded buckets, a hotel near to me is happy to give them away.

Other Containers.

When selecting other containers, be inventive. Anything that will hold compost and have some drainage can be used for growing. I have used old wicker shopping baskets for strawberries. Those plastic canvas reusable shopping bags bought from supermarkets, make great potato growing bags, they even have handles for easy movement. Again they will need some drainage holes, but at less than 50p, much cheaper than specialist potato bags. Old tyres can be stacked and filled with compost to grow potatoes and other veg. I have seen tins large and small washed out and use as pots, remember the drainage holes. A hammer and a large nail will sort them out. Save any pots or trays from plants you have bought, they can all be reused. Some garden centres have a pot recycling bin, you can take from the bin as well as put in. Thats the idea. I bet if you look around the house, garage and garden, you will find all sorts of stuff that can be put to work growing plants, you will tidy up at the same time.

Helen Fowler
Born in Middlesbrough. Moved to live in rural North Yorkshire in late teens. Moved back to the town in my 30's to live near Stockton on Tees. Then after a divorce and a serious accident I moved back to rural North Yorkshire near Thirsk, where I live now. I am a passionate gardener, a keen amateur photograper, I love travel, music, anything artistic and I have a great love of nature and the natural world. I have gardened since my teens and I lived and worked on a farm for years. I have owned or have experience with most pets and domestic animals. I hope by sharing my own experiences and the personal knowledge I have gained over the years, to help and encourage others to gain the most from their gardening efforts.

Latest Articles