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Planters created from repainted crates and decorative drawer pulls. Brett Sayles, Pexels
If you are on a budget, want to save some money, and rescue items from the landfill, you can start by taking advantage of the many free plant containers out there! Not only that, but this will allow you to unleash your inner creativity built up during the pandemic. Our gardens and spirits will surely benefit.
Aside from social media platforms that offer a "free" category, where terracotta and glazed pots of all sizes regularly show up for those with nimble typing fingers, there are also many other sources. A few years back, a wine shipping company in Napa County posted “Free wooden wine boxes.” I recruited my poor mom for the mission and jumped into my car to make the trip. Somehow, we managed to pack dozens of beautifully designed wooden wine boxes into what became a bursting Honda CRV. Although, it must be said that the ride home was rather uncomfortable for poor mom. A hand drill and a little rope turned these beautiful wine boxes into wonderful culinary herb containers with convenient side hand pulls.
When walking around the neighborhood, I often notice 5-to-15-gallon black plastic grower pots curb-side during trash pick-up after a landscaping project has been completed. After asking permission from the owner, I take the pots home, give them a thorough washing and replant in them.
Most home improvement stores have a recycling program and will sell you these very same black grower pots for a small fee. Of course, you might miss the serendipitous discovery of a lonely pot on the curb looking for a new home. The 15-gallon size grower pots are perfect for my tomatoes. Using free coffee sack burlap, I wrap the pots to disguise them, or nestle them into a large (garage sale find) woven basket, and voila! Creating visually pleasing country/boho plant pots that cost you nothing but a little time, makes it all worth it.
Essentially, anything that is made from a non-toxic material that you can drill water drainage holes into, will serve as a great plant container. Galvanized water basins, dresser drawers, food grade plastic buckets that bakeries and grocery stores throw out, all make wonderful containers. Amongst the items that I once brought home with me, from an office that had closed, was a metal file cabinet. I pulled out the drawers and attached four caster wheels along the back. I laid it on its back, drilled holes in the bottom, and painted it a pretty copper color. It was then filled with soil and sunflowers. It looked modern and amazing and could be rolled right into any sunny spot. Now that was a great plant container!