I've learned a lot about gardening over the last two years, some I've had to learn the hard way. But the hardest part about gardening is the spring gardening fever to build a better garden each year. I start getting emails about what plants to plant, and different garden bed ideas, and in past years I spent more on certain things that I could have actually just done myself and saved a lot more money. But with all projects you learn as you go, so I'm passing on what I've learned.
One of my biggest mistakes was purchasing plant pots. Last year we had two garden beds, and our new melon patch, but we still needed somewhere to put our tomatoes, pumpkins, and hot pepper plants. So I looked online and compared prices and found plant pots at Walmart for around $7. These pots were 15 inches in diameter, and about 14 inches tall, so they were good sized pots for my needs, but when you get a bunch of them that $7 adds up.
This year I wanted to spend less money, I was determined to not overspend. Do it yourself projects, DIY, are a good option when you want to save money. While there are some projects that still require a bit of spending, there are ways to penny pinch, and this idea is a great penny pincher! Why not make your own plant pots? It's easier than it sounds. There are actually multiple ways you can make your own plant pots. I haven't tried all the ways I've discovered, but I have tried one, and that is the main one I'm going to tell you about. Basically you only need three things, an old laundry basket, burlap, and a hot glue gun. Sounds simple enough right?
This idea will work for any type of plant pot. Whether you want a plant pot for a tomato, which you could put in a laundry basket that is about the same size as the pots I bought last year, or you want to plant more than one plant and need a larger laundry basket, this idea will still pay off and save you some money.
Now you're probably wondering how you can spend less money by buying a laundry basket. If you go to Walmart for example, you still have to spend almost $7 just for the basket. Depending on the size you're looking for. But you need to think cheap options here. Go to your local dollar store, near me I have the 99 Cents Only Store, and look for laundry baskets there. I found a good sized laundry basket that would work great for a tomato or pepper plant for just $1.99. See, your saving money already! You could also use an old laundry basket you already have, or one a friend has. Luckily for me I had two that had some damage, such as a broken handle, which I wasn't using anymore. So for this project I used those, but if I end up needing to make another I will go to the 99 Cents Store for sure!
Now for the burlap, you need to do some research and go for your cheapest option. I did some searching, looking at Walmart and Amazon for example. I didn't want to spend $30 on burlap, but I also wanted to get enough to use on more than one laundry basket. So I compared pricing and sizes. For myself, I was looking to spend under $20 on the burlap, and still be able to use it on the two laundry baskets I had and still have some left over in case I needed to make another. The laundry baskets I had were around 20 inches long and 12 inches wide, so I wanted a good amount of burlap to cover both of those with burlap left over for another if I needed it. So first I suggest you figure out how many you want to make, and the size, then you will have a good idea of how much burlap you need. It really depends on your own budget and needs. But, just in case you want to remain under $20 as well, this is the burlap I purchased at Amazon, Burlapper 12 oz Jute Burlap Fabric Sheet, 40" x 5 yd, Factory 2nd. This burlap is 40 inches by 5 yards, so it's a good size, and I got it for $18.97 through my Amazon Prime account. Seeing how I used this on two 20" x 13" laundry baskets, with more left over to cover other baskets, it was a good deal compared to other options I'd found.
Now for the fun part! First you will need to cut four strips of burlap to cover the wholes on each side inside the laundry basket. You don't want to lose any soil when you fill the basket with soil. These strips won't need to be very large strips, but make sure each one covers all the wholes on each side. Then glue each one on the inside of the basket. Now that the inside is done you can now begin working on covering the outside.
You will need to cut a strip to go around and under the laundry basket, and then a second strip to fold over the top edge. Basically you want to hide the laundry basket entirely so that no one can tell what it really is. For the strip that goes around and under, don't try to get an exact measurement, otherwise you may cut a piece that is too small to go all the way around. This strip has to wrap around and under the laundry basket, so it's okay if you cut a bit extra. Measure the basket the entire way around, and then add on a few inches just to make sure you can cover the whole basket with a bit to overlap once you've wrapped the entire basket. For the bottom I measured at least 4 inches to go underneath to ensure the basket was fully covered. It doesn't matter if the entire bottom of the basket isn't covered, you just don't want any of the basket to show. Then I got my hot glue gun and glued as I wrapped the burlap piece around and then under the laundry basket.
Now you will need a second strip that will cover the top of the basket. This piece will overlap the first strip a bit, and then fold over the top and into the inside of the basket a few inches. That way, after you add soil to the basket all you see is burlap. So measure the diameter around the top of the basket, which is always more than the basket itself since the handles tend to stick out a bit. I then added a few inches to ensure I was able to cover the whole basket all the way around. Then I glued that piece on as I wrapped it around the top.
Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures as I made my two laundry baskets into plant pots, but here are a couple pictures of what my laundry baskets look like after I finished. These baskets I used for lettuce and cabbage. I sprout from seed so my lettuce hasn't reached maturity yet.
If you want to hide where the top piece overlaps the bottom piece you can get a piece of rope and wrap it around the basket and tie it in a decorative knot, or anything else you might have on hand. Since my baskets are just sitting on my back porch I didn't feel the need to go the extra decorative mile.
Oh, and another idea which I haven't tried yet, you could get a small trash can and spray paint it. I found this idea looking through Pinterest. Unfortunately the link doesn't seem to work anymore, so all I can do is add a picture. But from what I remember when I read the post is you spray paint the garbage can, add some bricks to the bottom, then fill the garbage can with soil and add your plant.
While these are great ideas for single plants, or a small lettuce or cabbage patch, they won't work too well for building garden beds. We have three different garden beds built three different ways. Two are raised beds, and the other sits on the ground. I'm sure there are multiple posts out there about how to build a garden bed, but I also try to do this as inexpensively as possible. So hopefully you will get some new information that will help you grow your veggies and save some money. But that will be a post for another day. If you try either of the ideas in this post, or have any other ideas, feel free to comment and let me know!