The next time you’re looking for a new pot to spruce up your garden, consider what’s hanging out in your garage or closet, or take a walk down the street to your neighbor’s garage sale or to your local thrift store. Almost anything that will hold soil and can be modified to allow for drainage could be made into a planter. Take a look at some of these fantastic, upcycled garden additions.
Make a planter from upcycled takeout cartons, which due to their wax coating and contact with messy foods, cannot be recycled.
Old shoes or boots are favorite items to reuse and repurpose into recycled garden planters. In fact, the Alamo Square Shoe Garden in San Francisco is an entire garden full of planters made from old, abandoned shoes! Making your own shoe garden is easy! A little potting soil, seedlings, a plastic bag, a sharp object and you’re four easy steps away from an upcycled planter.
- Line your shoe or boot (or other improvised pot) with a plastic bag. Cut it to fit your footwear so it’s entirely inside.
- Use a sharp object to poke some drainage holes on the sides and bottom, through the plastic bag and shoe. I found a combination of hole puncher and screwdriver works well on sides of old, thin leather, but whatever works for you as long as it is handled safely. For the sturdier sole bottom, you may need a drill.
- Fill the shoes with potting soil, all the way to the toe area. To keep the bag in place while you’re filling it with dirt, it helps to use a clothes pin or binder clip. Don’t overfill with dirt- leave about an inch from the top. TIP: It helps if you still have the laces in the shoes and they are tied, to hold in the soil.
- Think of the shoe as a peat pot, and plant your seedlings at the same depth. Remember to water it!
You may find that succulents grow well in this type of planter, so you may want mix in sand and peat moss to your soil.
Moisture level is crucial to desert plants as well as any other houseplant. The amount of water needed for each planter depends on the size of the plant, the type of soil, size of your shoe planter, and the time of year. Overwatering is the biggest problem, so remember to keep it well-drained.
Making the Most of Small Space
Do some serious upcycling with these other clever ideas for unique and unusual planters. These two methods of growing vegetables are great for maximizing growing space.
From Somerset, England take a look at this ingenious vegetable garden in a hanging shoe organizer.
Elevate your rows of leafy greens using rain gutters.
We LOVE this idea too. For a more decorative vertical planter, turn an old pallet on its side. It might be neat to paint the pallet first.
Don’t forget we’ve got lots of tips on making recycled seed starters too!