Yahoooooooooo! It’s finally warm enough here in mid-Michigan to get out of the house and into the garden and not worry in the least about it being too cold overnight.
A couple of weeks ago on a cold, drizzly Saturday I went to a local nursery and grabbed four bags of Morgan Composting’s Dairy Doo. I am officially in love with this Michigan-based product. Two bags went straight onto the vegetable garden, and two bags stayed in the garage to await the arrival of warmer weather, and the promise of repotting indoor plants and creating container gardens.
Today was the day. I headed out early to buy probably $100 worth of plants. I look for color – always, and definitely have colors that complement one another. Some plants should tumble out of the container, and others should reach for the sky. Additionally, I need plants that tolerate hot sun and a lazy watering schedule. Petunias and creeping jenny take care of tumbling over the side and bright colors. Coleus adds more color and height, with “Spike” (actually a member of the Dracena family) giving more height and a deep green color.
And the containers? Some old tote bags from a thrift store.
You can plant in almost anything, really, so long as there is decent drainage. Surely you’ve seen old shoes or boots with plants tumbling out of them? I just love that look and figured I could do the same with tote bags. Here are four tips to easy container gardening with upcycled tote bags:
ONE: Buy good size bags that can stand up on their own
The turquoise bag in the center is what inspired me – it’s a luscious summer color and stood up on its own. I just knew that if I threw potting soil in there it would make a terrific container. And the sturdy handles make it easy to move around, too. The other two bags aren’t nearly as sturdy, but they held up over the summer.
TWO: Fill up with empty containers and then soil.
If you do any gardening, you’ve probably got an abundance of those small plastic containers that all of the big box stores grow seedlings in for shipment around the country. Fill the totes up – not to the top, but enough so that they take up the majority of the space in the tote. This helps you use LESS potting soil (the stuff is expensive) and to make the container easier to move (potted plants can be super heavy.)
Here’s a peak inside the turquoise bag. You can see the bottoms of the seedling containers poking up from the soil.
THREE: Pack those plants in!
Another key to creating gorgeous container gardens is packing the plants in tight. Each bag has three to five plants, except the turquoise bag – there are seven plants in there! After you’ve placed the plants, fill in with more potting soil.
FOUR: Water, water, water
Move your awesome upcycled tote bags into their summer place and water, water, water. This first watering is both feeding the plants and helping the soil compact down. And keep watering through the summer – every day if you can manage it.
The other thing I do for all plants – both inside and outside – is talk. I tell them how lovely they look, and how they’ll love digging their roots into the nourishing soil. And with these particular containers – I tell them how awesome and unique they look. I’m pretty sure they communicate back, not with words, but with general well being.
What’s in your containers this summer? Do you talk with your plants?