Small Space Gardening: Reusing Empty Boxes, Containers and Soda Bottles

Container garden on patio with a hummingbird on duty.
Container garden on patio with a hummingbird on duty. | Source

With the weather getting warmer, all our container plants are all wide awake, livelier and happy to greet Mr. Sun everyday. Last year got a little out of hand, with the chayote plant claiming all the trellis and space all for itself. But this year, I wanted to make our small patio as inviting, and pleasing to look at with all the plants on their proper places. My parents love planting vegetables, specially my mom who seems to want to germinate every seed of bitter melon, jute, and squash she had saved. I, on the other hand likes vegetables too but is more interested into flowers and I wanted to have some on the patio. But there's just not enough space in our little patio for more plants. It would be nice to see more space on the ground by having some more hanging plants. But I don't want to make a dash on the garden store and get hanging planters for my petunia flowers. I already had some hanging baskets and planters I got 2 years ago but if I could reuse stuffs, then I wouldn't want to spend more than $5 each on more hanging planters.

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Photo here was March 24 when the plants was transplanted into the three tiered hanging planters.
Photo here was March 24 when the plants was transplanted into the three tiered hanging planters. | Source

Reusing Empty Cracker Boxes For A Planter

On my search around the house for any reusable item I could find for a planter, I came across a three empty cracker boxes that I could use to make a hanging planter. Since it wasn't that big, I decided it's just the right spot for the thyme I had bought few days ago.

After poking a hole on the bottom for drainage, I connected all three by making about 1 1/2 hole on the center of top and middle box for the handle to get through. And it's a good thing the handles are detachable too so I detached the handles of bottom and middle box, and off it went through the hole before it was attached back. I had transplanted the thyme at the very bottom, a spinach at the middle and tried the snapdragon at the top. I wanted to see how well the snapdragon will do as I already had two snapdragons on a hanging planter and are doing well.

Plants On The Three Tiered Planter After Almost Two Months

Month of May, the 20th. All three plants on the planters are doing well. The spinach here is looking good and so is the snapdragon and thyme.
Month of May, the 20th. All three plants on the planters are doing well. The spinach here is looking good and so is the snapdragon and thyme. | Source
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No Wasting! Use The Unused Hook

On this small space was two chayote plants which found their place on our patio last year, 2012. Shown here are the bamboo trellis dad had made last year for one of the chayote. Since we have a small space garden, I hang the snapdragon planter from the unused hook that we had used to support the trellis.

Here is a snapdragon underneath the chayote trellis. It's been doing really well and this year, I say was a better year than last year. It still is displaying its beautiful, white snapdragon flower on an upright stalk that's almost 3 ft. long. The stalk went past through the trellis and is now towering over the creeping chayote. The flowers last for a very long time, it's been over two weeks now and still in beauty.

The hook use on the three tiered plant box and the snapdragon planter on a hook supporting the trellis.
The hook use on the three tiered plant box and the snapdragon planter on a hook supporting the trellis. | Source
The proud snapdragon flower as it past through the chayote trellis.
The proud snapdragon flower as it past through the chayote trellis. | Source
Male chayote flowers.
Male chayote flowers. | Source
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With the chayote, still is very active on creeping in its trellis and reaching onto anything its tendrils can reach. I already had harvested shoots more than 4 times on trying to control the many shoots.

Few days ago as I was ready to harvest again, with a scissor in hand, I was surprised to see a baby chayote as I was about to cut a shoot. As I do this hub, there's about close to 10 female flowers I found and one for soon to be twin chayotes!

The twins!
The twins! | Source
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Reusing Soda Bottles

And since I came across this hanging planter made from empty soda pop plastic bottles, I thought its a good way to reuse the plastic bottles. So I took three bottles of the recycles that we are saving for the recycling center.

After making holes for the drainage, I tied all three bottles to connect them and filled it up with soil. Now I am trying on growing the papait plant on them with an amaranth (kalunay) that my mom had transplanted on the very top.

For a little space, anything that can be reuse has to be use. This cooler here became a planter two years ago for this chives. Also sharing the space is a tomato which happened to sprout in there from last year's.

Some young amaranth (kalunay) plant also shares the soil with the chives. With the chives, we use it on omelette, grilled fish dipping sauce and sometimes on Filipino soup sinigang.

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Below, a cherry tomato on the container, now also flowering and has unripe cherry tomatoes. While on the next plant ring support perched Ozzy, a non migratory male hummingbird that keeps an eye on the three feeders. Either he spent most of the day perching here, preening himself and singing, or he perch on one of the chayote shoots of his choice. When either I or mom outside, he would be on the other side of the fence, on the neighbors side and we could hear his alarmed humming as he warned other hummers to stay away on his food source. But he can only guard the feeders on the patio, there's one hanging on the front porch too.

Ozzy on a chayote shoot.
Ozzy on a chayote shoot. | Source
Ozzy, our patio guest as he perched back on his favorite spot after driving away another hummer and I was under the chayote trellis. We enjoy his daily visits.
Ozzy, our patio guest as he perched back on his favorite spot after driving away another hummer and I was under the chayote trellis. We enjoy his daily visits. | Source
Aloe flower.
Aloe flower. | Source

With some plants like the lavender on the soil along with some Thai chili, the rest are either on a pot or on the containers my dad had brought home from his work.

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Comments 29 comments

Hawaiian Scribe profile image

Hawaiian Scribe 3 years ago from Hawai'i

Thanks for the great ideas! We just have a small lanai so this hub is helpful. Voted up, useful, interesting, tweeted and pinned. Aloha, Stephanie


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

Good work, precy anza, all of this is is invaluable info. When I was growing up, we cut down milk cartons to plant seeds in.


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 3 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

This is just so brilliant! Plus everything looks beautiful. You've shown me that in a small space there is no excuse for not growing real food. Thanks so much - I will share this. Yay!


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida

Very clever hub, precy, and very clever uses for some of the items we normally throw away.


mary615 profile image

mary615 3 years ago from Florida

I grow almost everything in container due to small space and sandy soil here in S. Fl. I like your ideas, but I can't help but wonder if the roots of the plants have room to grow in such shallow containers like the soda bottles?

I use a lot containers that would normally got to the landfill, too.

I love your small garden!

Voted UP and shared.


Lizolivia profile image

Lizolivia 3 years ago from Central USA

Your photos are very nice and the ideas for container gardening are handy, thanks.


Angelo52 profile image

Angelo52 3 years ago from Central Florida

Nice article on reusing stuff for container gardening. I have reused plastic coffee containers for growing flowers and hot peppers. Thumbs up and shared.


Marilyn Kee profile image

Marilyn Kee 3 years ago from Penang, Malaysia

WOW! I have to show this to my mum. This is gardening at the lowest cost. She's gonna love it. :) Thanks!


poetvix profile image

poetvix 3 years ago from Gone from Texas but still in the south. Surrounded by God's country.

The hanging planters you made out of the cracker boxes are inspired! Most impressive.


precy anza profile image

precy anza 3 years ago from San Diego Author

@ Hawaiian Scribe:

Hi Stephanie ^-^' Glad my hub helped with the ideas. Happy gardening! And appreciate you stopping by! Thanks :)

@ Avian:

That's a really good way too of reusing milk cartoons! And I hadn't though of it. I had tried egg shells, and I would definitely try the milk cartoons. ^-^'

@ BkCreative:

Thank you! ^-^' True, if there's a will there's a way. My parents loves planting, having a vegetable garden ever since I remember. And the small area we have didn't stop them from having a garden. And I just love to brainstorm a bit on how all would fit on our patio, specially adding flowers to the plant crowded area.


precy anza profile image

precy anza 3 years ago from San Diego Author

@ Drbj:

Thanks :) Reusing this items not only help saves money. Saves me gas and time too. Have a good evening!

@ Mary615:

I believe so. We had the same plant last year on a small container and it thrived, as long as it was on a sunny spot as it loves sunshine. But this is the first time I had it on a soda bottle, so I would update on that in about a month or so on how well it did. :) Thank you for stopping by!

@lizolivia:

Thank you :) I'd probably try some other reusable stuffs I would come across. Thanks for stopping by.


precy anza profile image

precy anza 3 years ago from San Diego Author

@Angelo52:

I had used plastic coffee containers for a pot stand ^.^' I loved reading all your comments, and you just gave me an idea :) Maybe another three tiered hanging planter, but with a coffee container this time. :D

@ Marilyn Kee:

Hey, looks like your mom loves gardening :) Hope this hub gave her ideas for her garden. Thank you for stopping by!

@ poetvix:

Thank you! ^-^' It sure came out beautiful, add to it it was my favorite color :)


Tara M from Black River Falls,Wi 3 years ago

There is a lot of information in this article on recycling and reusing items that can be keep out of the landfill. Very good article. Thank You for posting this article.


precy anza profile image

precy anza 3 years ago from San Diego Author

Hi Tara! Glad you like the article. :) Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment, appreciate it. And of course for stopping by!


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

Very interesting use of recyclable items. Voted up, useful and shared.


StephanieBCrosby profile image

StephanieBCrosby 3 years ago from New Jersey

These are great ideas for reusing things we have sitting around. Thanks for sharing your cool gardening tips.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 3 years ago from Nashville Tn.

Recycling and re-using plastic bottles, cracker boxes, etc. for planting is a good example of what we can all do. I'm also going to read your hub on "what to do with plastic bottles."

These are such wonderful ideas! Thank you and voted up, useful, interesting and will pin and share.


Neil Sperling profile image

Neil Sperling 3 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

well done - cool idea's... Every little bit we grow ourselves is a huge help to the whole save the earth movement - in fact it is one of the smartest ACTION we can all do.

Thanks


precy anza profile image

precy anza 3 years ago from San Diego Author

@ Rajan and Stephanie:

Thank you both for stopping by. We could pretty much reuse anything for planting as long as soil could be put in it :)

@ Vocalcoach:

Hi Audrey :) Had read your other comments too on my other hubs. I'm glad you liked those hubs. Our family saves those boxes until we found a good used for it, same with other stuffs. Now they're out there with the plants :) Thanks for your time stopping by!

@ Neil:

Agree to that :) And maybe if most of us would consider reusing stuffs, Mother Earth would be much more happy instead of piling this things up on the garbage or recycle bin. Thanks for stopping by!


moonlake profile image

moonlake 2 years ago from America

I love your small garden so pretty and such good ideas reusing containers. Vote up.


precy anza profile image

precy anza 2 years ago from San Diego Author

@ Moonlake:

Thank you! And I think it got a little more crowded as my dad continually bring home containers from work and mom planting more. But seems like our hummingbird prefers it that way, found himself a hummer swing in the garden :)


Thelma Alberts profile image

Thelma Alberts 2 years ago from Germany

I have not used the soda cracker container planters, yet. Thanks for the idea. I have used an old toilet and plastic bottles of cokes for my plants.Thank you for sharing. Voted up and useful.


precy anza profile image

precy anza 2 years ago from San Diego Author

@ Thelma:

Hi Thelma: Have you used coconut husk? I just remembered it being used as planters when I was still in the Philippines. Thanks for stopping by and reading :)


DDE profile image

DDE 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Gardening is exciting if it is done with proper spacing and your ideas are so helpful thank you for this hub.


precy anza profile image

precy anza 2 years ago from San Diego Author

Hi DDE, it is exciting :) Glad you found the hub helpful.


the girls profile image

the girls 2 years ago from Los Angeles, California

Great tips for backyard gardening! I have been growing my own herbs at home too, organically. Thumbs up!


agusfanani profile image

agusfanani 2 years ago from Indonesia

Those plants looks lushly healthy and fruitful growing in those recycled planters. Thank you for sharing this post which we all need in recycling used containers.


precy anza profile image

precy anza 2 years ago from San Diego Author

@ the girls:

Hi the girls :) Thanks for the visit here. It's always good to grow our own herbs, available anytime we need it and I'm enjoying their flowers now, sage, thyme, and lavender. :)

@Agusfanani:

Yes, and for this year, it's just April and our chayote is already starting to cover its trellis. Herbs are flowering too :) Than you for stopping by.


prairieprincess profile image

prairieprincess 16 months ago from Canada

Oh my goodness, @precy! I absolutely love this hub! You have so many good ideas for gardening, and make it look so easy. I am completely new to gardening, but have just recently bought a place with gardening potential. I am going to look through more of your hubs, for ideas on gardening. Thanks for this!

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