Where To Find Free Gardening Containers
Yes . . . Free !!
All fellow gardening enthusiasts will remember a time when they were caught off guard with no containers to start planting their spring bulbs, summer annuals or even their seedlings of vegetables.
Free containers would have been a godsend if only we had known where to look! Recycling has become a way of life for many, out of economic hardship, personal choice or the mere fact that it makes sense on every level.
Free garden containers can be found all around our homes (with some imaginative thinking), but what about finding good, free gardening containers outside your home? Here are some suggestions that will not only save you money, but help the environment at the same time!
Recycle Used Containers
Greenfingers at work . . . . The skips by the side of the road are worth checking
WHERE TO LOOK
Skips / Dumpsters –
OK, so maybe not everyone’s idea of fun, but a Wealth of free gardening containers can be lurking in these places. Check along the side of the road, parking lots, or even underground apartment blocks. It is amazing what people throw away! With a little cleaning some of these free items will make fantastic gardening containers!
In my apartment complex, I have seen planters of all sizes in terracotta, plastic and ceramic dumped in or by a skip. Thinking outside the box for gardening containers, skips and dumpsters are a great free way of picking up suitable items. If you go looking in them, think “If it has a bottom, it’s a possibility”. Steer clear of any large tubs that would have contained chemicals, for example paint.
Below are Recycle Bins of different colours denoting the different recycled materials
Recycle Bins -
With recycle bins separated into glass, clothing, garden cuttings, plastic, paper and cardboard, it is always worth checking for any old plastic gardening containers, newspaper or interesting glass bottles or jars that have been discarded.
Remember to carry a pair of disposable gloves with you in case you feel the urge to dumpster dive unexpectedly in the bins and skips!
These are the assortment of containers I got Free when my dad moved house.
Creative Planting . . .
House Moving –
Recently my dad and his partner were moving house. They decided that they were not going to take certain items that included many great gardening containers!
As they were up for grabs, I jumped in to claim them and ended up with 20 great containers that will certainly be used and have only cost me some elbow grease at the end of the day. Result!
People moving house quite often will leave items not travelling with them by the sides of the road and the most common items are indeed plant pots, so take a drive it could be very productive!
Friends and Family –
If you share a passion for gardening with friends or family, they may be planning on some landscaping and planting. Many people discard the plastic containers or trays the bought plants are sold in so why not tell them you will take them off their hands?
You may be on board to lend a helping hand in their re planting so they will probably be only too delighted if you take the “empties” home.
Garden Centres and Landscape Gardeners –
When garden centres offer a landscaping service, it is an ideal place to pick up used plastic plant pots which were used by the landscapers. Equally, if you know private landscape gardeners, mention that you will take any of their used pots. They will be delighted to pass them on.
Any place serving coffee is bound to have an abundance of milk containers!
from my good friend Bill Holland
- Gardening Ideas and Early Spring Tips
Some simple ideas to get you on you way to a bountiful garden this year.
Petrol /Gas Stations –
When they sell cut flowers, quite often the buckets holding the flowers are discarded and thrown out. If that is the case they are only delighted for you to take them off their hands.
Cut flower buckets are thrown away or sold ultra cheap. Morrison’s (chain in Great Britain) sold them at 99p for 10!
Deli, Supermarket Deli –
These places will use catering size plastic containers from wholesalers in a variety of products such as mayonnaise, butter and BBQ sauce. Their turnover of containers will be high so they should have a regular supply ready for recycling.
Restaurants/Fast Food –
Use catering sized containers the same as deli's do for mayonnaise, sauces, coffee etc . . . . If you don’t ask you won’t get! If you already have a relationship with your local restaurant its worth asking the Manager.
Tip - Remember if you have any family or friends working in any of these businesses, get the word out! I have a friend working in a restaurant and get great sea shells for planting or craft use and have also availed of big plastic catering tubs.
Recycle pie tins, coffee cup sleeves and toilet rolls to make your own seedling trays.
From my Good Friend Bill Holland -
- Frugal Gardening Tips: Living Simple
Why spend money on gardening when everything you need you already have? There are many ways to have a fruitful garden and not spend loads of cash.
The Bakeries often throw away as many as 20 5,10 or 20 gallon buckets on a daily basis. Any bakers in the family?
Corner Shops/Convenience Stores –
Often having a take away food bar, these stores are excellent places to try for the catering buckets. If you ever pick up take out coffee, grab some of the coffee sleeves and hang on to them for your recycling! Many will sell cut flowers and dispose of the buckets when flowers have sold through, why not check them out for these container freebies at the same time!
Local Recycling Centres –
This is where they separate the different types of recycling products. Milk cartons for example are great for starter plants. Just cut the tops off the carton and they are ready to go. At the Recycling Centre they are plentiful here for free!The centre should be delighted you are taking some initiative and helping the environment at the same time.
The Cornell Cooperative Extension Program -
http://ccetompkins.org/about-us I checked out the Tomkins County program in New York, however the program is available all across America, connected with no less than 67 Universities.
Originating through Cornell University in New York, this program offers incredible resources, help and guidance to communities.
One such initiative is the plant pot recycling program that with a donation, gives out free used plastic plant pots of different shapes and sizes from seedling starter trays to hanging baskets.
They even have terracotta pots and large ceramic containers at times, depending on what has been donated.
The other fantastic idea I found with them is the Free Seed Cabinet program.
They accumulate all different seed packets (i.e. flowers, herbs and vegetables) and you are then able to take up to 10 packets in one go for free. How awesome is that!
Containers for Free online
Harringay Community Online – http://www.harringayonline.com/ An online community site in London, England that is a one stop shop for all things within this neighbourhood and also serves Crouch End, Hornsey, Stroud Green and West Green. There is a free section were all things including plant containers are available totally free. From a posting I saw, a girl was giving away an assortment of gardening containers (approximately 50) for free and only required they be collected
The Freecycle Network – http://www.freecycle.org/ With over 9 million members worldwide, including America, Great Britain, Ireland and Australia, this is a non profit organisation at local level where people can give and receive all types of products for free. The idea is to keep good stuff in circulation thereby avoiding the landfills.
Friends With Things – http://friendswiththings.com.au/ Connecting suburbs across Australia in all 8 states, this online site is a terrific place to share skills and knowledge, borrow items and give away items for free. While researching I came upon a member who had an assortment of plastic plant pots free of charge for anyone interested. It is a great site to get involved with at local level and it is all about working together as a community, perfect for any newcomers to a neighbourhood in Australia
Free containers are very much available all around us if we need them and are prepared to really look. Along with being able to recycle, I love the versatility container gardening offers and have found some great ones through many of these avenues. How about you?
I would love to hear any additional ideas you have as to where to get containers for free, so please feel free to include them here in the comments section!
Happy Planting and Recycling!
The Author -
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Credit - homesteadbound
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