For the first time since being married, Matt and I are renting a house. We’re finding huge advantages to no longer owning a home, but one of our passions, gardening, has definitely become more of a challenge.
We miss our custom-built raised garden beds, rain barrels that collected water for the garden, and the freedom to do what we wish with a yard.
We couldn’t let a spring go by without planting something… thank goodness for a little combined creativity.
Alternatives to gardens
Planting herbs with flowers
Having given away the majority of my pots before moving recently, it was absolutely necessary to make my few remaining pots very functional. I wanted colorful flowers to give the rental house more curb appeal, but needed the pot space for herbs as well. Combining herbs and ornamentals was the perfect solution.
I created a few eye-catching arrangements to sit near the front porch, giving me easy access to herbs that will be cut and used later on. The flowers serve as a focal point in the arrangements and add a little color to the predominantly green herbs.
We’ll use chives in fresh summer salads and thyme to flavor many meat and pasta dishes throughout the year. This arrangement is complete with bold colored Persian Shield, and small golden flowers (that apparently the bugs love!).
I can’t wait to see what these pots look like when the plants have matured a little. I chose some flowers and herbs that will give height to the arrangements, and others that will trail and spill out of the pots for a softer look.
Repurposing containers for planting
We had to put aside all desires for things to look “pretty” this year. We decided a more rustic, repurposed look would suit us just fine for our planted edibles.
Tomato and pepper plants are now resting happily in 5-gallon buckets on our small dock. Matt drilled holes in the bottom of each one, layered rocks and pine needles in the bottom for drainage, and nestled some marigolds in with each plant to deter critters and beautify the bucket planters.
We desperately wanted to grow some greens, so we scavenged around for another “planter.” We had found an old rusted, broken down wheel barrow in the carport when we moved in, and tossed it aside so it wouldn’t be in our way. Luckily it didn’t make it into the trash because we decided it was another perfect repurposed planter.
Matt gave a few kale plants a good home in the old wheelbarrow. The small rusted out holes in the bottom serve as efficient drainage holes, and the entire thing can be moved around if plants aren’t getting enough sun.
For a more attractive planter, you can use your creativity to adorn the containers. Ours are hidden away, so we didn’t take the extra time. (And we’re kind of enjoying our array of unattractive makeshift planters this year!)
Use your imagination AND your space
There are many other ways we could take advantage of the resources we have to grow food. What empty containers do you have that can be put to use? Do you have windowsills you can grow herbs on? Floorspace that can be called home for a plant or two? Hooks hanging over a window where an herb might be able to hang out? It might not be exactly what the oh-so-pretty pictures in the gardening magazines show, but you’ll save money, utilize your resources, and put your creativity to the test with do-it-yourself container gardens.
We’re getting the bulk of our fresh produce from a CSA membership this year, but these herbs and vegetables will provide a welcome addition.
So how about you? Are you proud of a little gardening ingenuity you’ve used this year or in the past? Let us hear about it!