If you’re like most home gardeners, every year you find yourself with those plastic containers that were left after you planted your flowers and vegetables. Some gardening centers will take these containers back for use again, but many just want you to pitch them. Instead of throwing the plastic away and adding to the problem of too much plastic in our landfills, here are 13 ways you can use those handy containers again.
1. Wash your veggies
The drainage holes at the bottom of your containers make them the perfect vessels for cleaning fruits and vegetables that you harvest from your
garden. Clean out a medium or large sized container and keep it handy when you pick the fruits of your labor. Fill up the basket and then use the hose to wash the dirt off your fresh produce.
2. Organize craft supplies
Containers with several sections for small seedlings are great organizational tools for small items like craft supplies. Beads, jewelry supplies, sea glass, sequins and stones all fit nicely into the smallest sections. Use larger containers for glue sticks, thread, toothpicks, popsicle sticks and other supplies. Put a variety of craft supplies in one set of containers and place it on a table with glue and construction paper to keep kids happily creative for hours at a time.
3. Create a watering halo
This is a great solution when you have plants that need a lot of water and dry out quickly. Cut the bottom from one of your containers and place the remaining ring around your plant. Tuck it into the soil and water as usual. The ring will help the water pool, allowing the plant to use it more effectively.
4. Divide a desk drawer
Place a multi-section plant container in a desk drawer to organize items like staples, paper clips, rubber bands and tacks. You can even spray paint your plastic container before you use it to make it look prettier in your drawer.
5. Untangle cords and twine
The holes in the bottom of your planter are great for managing anything long like an extension cord or a ball of twine. Place the object inside the upside-down container and then feed one end through the hole. You will have a way of pulling out just what you need while the rest stays in place.
6. Store seeds
Small containers are very useful for storing dry seeds you’ve gathered from your garden, been given as gifts or even purchased from a garden store. Use labels to keep track of which seeds you have and when you began storing them. You can cover your seeds loosely with plastic wrap or other material.
7. Shake out your dry fertilizer
Fill a medium or large planter with fertilizer and use the holes to evenly shake it onto your garden. The gentle shaking spreads the fertilizer nicely and keeps it off your hands.
8. Protect plants from frost
Save your plastic planters for the end of the gardening season when frost is a threat. On a cold night, you can place the planters over each other your seedlings or small plants to protect them from the frost and extend their growing and blooming times.
9. Keep small holiday ornaments
Place holiday ornaments in the plastic dividers to keep them safe and separated in storage. You can put the whole container into a box and even stack several on top of each other.
10. Add drainage to creative planters
Almost anything can be turned into a planter, and many containers are fun with a flower or even a vegetable plant growing out of them. However, drainage can be a problem with these homemade planters. You may not want to drill holes in your item, or the material can be too hard to work with. Plastic garden store containers are a terrific solution to this problem. Select a container that is slightly smaller than the object you are going to use as a planter and place it inside. Plant your seedling or seeds in the container and water as usual. The water will drain through the holes.
11. Contain personal items
Place a divided container in a bathroom drawer or on a shelf in your closet to keep personal items for daily use. You can store nail clippers, cotton balls and Q-tips as well as items like makeup, cleansing pads and applicators. Containers can be kept in a pretty box or even stacked for use as needed.
12. Start seedlings
You can always reuse your containers for their original purpose by starting your own seedlings in them. When you plant seeds indoors or in a protected environment like a greenhouse, you are able to get a jump on the growing season. You can use high quality potting soil or even seed starters. Simply transfer the plants when they are big enough to be placed in a garden or in a larger container.
13. Create a display
Collect containers in several different sizes for a gorgeous floral display on a porch, in the yard, in a designated planting area or anywhere else. Keeping your flowers in different pots will keep them from spreading too much and will allow you to put plants at different heights for showcasing and to create a more pleasing overall effect. You can use your plastic planters the way they are or decorate them for your display. Use spray paint or decorative tape for bright colors and designs. You can also spell out your name or a message by painting a letter on each pot. The possibilities are endless.
You don’t have to let your garden center containers go to waste or take up more space in a crowded landfill. Instead, you can repurpose and reuse those handy planters. These 13 ideas will give you inspiration to start.
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