Saturday, April 30, 2011

Rubbermaid Container Garden

This is my "recipe" for a Container Garden using Rubbermaid containers.  It is a cheap and effective way to garden, and is very easy to get together.

First, decide what plants you would like to grow and the amount of space you will need.  Consider the region you are in, the space available, and monetary investment.  Google is good for gathering information, as well as your local Extension Office for answering any questions you may have.  Once you've decided, purchase the necessary Rubbermaid containers.  Luckily, there are plenty of color and size choices out there.  Do remember to try and avoid see-through containers though, as algae can grow there. 

Second, prepare your containers.  Drill 3/4" holes in the bottom and around the bottom sides of the container.  You can use the lid, placed up-side-down, as a good drainage catcher, but make sure you have something to lift the container up off the lid so that air can get underneath, and so that the excess water will actually drain.  I used deck banisters cut in half.  I used a few pieces per container, placed them on top of the up-side-down lid, and then placed the containers on top of that.  I was also mindful of where the drilled holes were in relation to the banisters and tried to make sure that none of the holes were blocked.


Third, start filling.  I used marble chips in the bottom of the container to fill up some space, and also to allow for more draining.  They are relatively inexpensive, and cheaper than the potting soil, so I filled them up about 1/3 of the way.  Next, I used Miracle Gro Potting Mix.  I filled up the container the majority of the way to the top (roughly 3-4 inches from the top) with the potting soil.  If you are growing tomatoes, you should also mix in some peat moss.  This will aid in the acidity of the soil, and will  also make it light and fluffy.










Fourth, start planting.  At this point, you are ready to plant.  Make sure you provide each plant with enough space to grow, and support where needed.  Tomato cages are a wonderful thing, as well as trellises.  What kind of support you will will depend on what you are planting.  To plant, I create a small valley with my fist... wide enough to allow the plant to go down, and deep enough to go to the base of the plant.  You will want to make sure that the top of the soil in the plant pot is below the level of the soil.  Crush roots very gently, place into the hole, and then cover with soil.  Make sure none of the leaves are touching the soil - this promotes disease.  And if they are, feel free to pinch them off.


After I finished planting, I added a layer of mulch on top of the soil.  This helps retain water and also protects the soil... and it also looks good.  :)


And there you have a container garden.  
Remember to water well and watch them closely.
Oh, and talk to your plants - it makes them happy! 

****

Edited to add:
I would recommend this form of gardening for your non-food-bearing plants.
The discussion regarding the release of toxins from the plastic containers into the soil and thereby the food is an interesting one that would require more research. And if you have insight, please feel free to share in the comments!
But all in all, still a great option for a garden!

42 comments:

  1. What a great idea using the using Rubbermaid containers to create a garden. Thanks for sharing it.

    Regards diane

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  2. I have tons of these containers just sitting in a shed collecting dust, I will now use them to collect veggies & herbs. Thanks for the post!!!!

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  3. You are most welcome! Best of luck to your garden and happy green thumbs!! :)

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  4. Can you plant seeds in these?

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  5. Sound like a great idea but wonder since plastic if can cause cancer......

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    Replies
    1. Yes if you eat enough of it, but why would you be so ignorant to eat plastic?

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    2. Yes if you eat enough of it, but why would you be so ignorant to eat plastic?

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    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    4. HDPE (2) and LDPE (4) should be safe for gardening without leaching. See the following article: http://www.epicgardening.com/which-plastics-are-safe-for-gardening/

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  6. Excellent. They look so neat and tidy on your porch/deck too! Thank you for sharing.

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  7. Looks nice - works great and somehow I always have empty ones!

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  8. I have three I use to grow potatoes in? They work great.

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  9. I also love painting or putting cute designs such a butterflies, birds and more on my tubs like this.

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  10. What a great idea- I am definitely going to use this- thanks!

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  11. You inspired me ! I have my containers tomorrow I go get my plants. I can hardly wait for I live in an apt. It is a very nice apt complex but I miss getting my hands in the soil. thank you

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  12. Great suggestion. I only have one concern. Does anyone know if the rubbermaid container would leach toxins into the soil and therefore into the food?

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    Replies
    1. At the time, I didn't think about it, but now, I'd probably leave these container gardens for the flowers and nonedible varieties. Just to be safe.

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  13. Thanks for responding so quickly. I guess I use them for herbs and veggies. It was such a good idea though. Thanks for sharing.

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  14. Thanks for responding so quickly. I guess I use them for herbs and veggies. It was such a good idea though. Thanks for sharing.

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  15. Thanks for responding so quickly. I guess I use them for herbs and veggies. It was such a good idea though. Thanks for sharing.

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  16. Rubbermaid Roughneck containers are made of low density polyethylene. This type of plastic is used in most plastic food storage containers. I would say if you are ok with storing your food in plastic, then this would work great. I know some people will only use glass storage containers, but I've never had a problem with plastic. Great article!

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    Replies
    1. Awesome! Thanks so much for the info... that's a relief! :)
      Thanks for stopping by, and happy gardening!

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    2. Totally different.
      These are going to be sitting in the SUN for hours nonstop.
      It is NOT the same as storing your food in plastic.

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    3. Wow!! Makes so much sense. Can't wait to try this!!! Wish I could go get to Walmart right now!!

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  17. Omigoodness people. If you don't want to use it for your herbs and veggies then don't, but don't get your panties in a twist over it. People will make their own choices. Thank you.

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    Replies
    1. Do you think it would be safe to use these? Now I'm not sure what to do.

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    2. I think the point is VERY important and valid. I'm so glad it was bought up because it was the first thing I thought of when I saw PLASTIC containers. She is right, the plants need the sun to grow, and this is the very process by which leeching toxins from the plastic would occur. Thanks Kaitlin for saying what made me choose wisely! :)

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    3. Consider that unless you are planting in the ground, your container will more than likely be made of plastic.

      This is an article on CONTAINER gardening after all...

      If you are truly concerned, dont use the containers suggested. Research container options and feel free to share your newfound expertise :)

      I would love to hear alternatives...

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  18. What all fruits/veggies dos you plant in these containers? They seem pretty full! I'm excited to give this a shot this week! Big lots always has great deals on big storage containers. Thank you

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  19. Great idea love it. You can buy liners for growing vegetables in containers

    https://www.google.com/search?q=garden+container+liners+for+growing+vegetables+in+plastic+containers&prmd=sivn&tbm=shop

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  20. Great idea love it. You can buy liners for growing vegetables in containers

    https://www.google.com/search?q=garden+container+liners+for+growing+vegetables+in+plastic+containers&prmd=sivn&tbm=shop

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  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  22. https://www.google.com/search?q=garden+container+liners+for+growing+vegetables+in+plastic+containers&prmd=sivn&tbm=shop

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  23. Okay so I jus went out and got my starter plants, in the one tote can I plant the tomatoes with the berries?

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  24. Okay so I jus went out and got my starter plants, in the one tote can I plant the tomatoes with the berries?

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  25. I know your expertise on this. I must say we should have an online discussion on this. Writing only comments will close the discussion straight away! And will restrict the benefits from this information. ecosystem

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  27. It also stated: “…food should only be microwaved in glass or ceramic dishes—not plastic, because it could leach the harmful chemical bisphenol-A (BPA).” While some plastic food storage containers contain bisphenol-A, no products currently manufactured by Rubbermaid Consumer contain BPA.

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  28. I have planted tomatoes green peppers bell peppers eggplant mint garlic potatoes in Rubbermaid containers and have never had a problem with any types of toxins. This is a great way for gardeners to get their Green Thumb on if they live in a small area or if they are renting. It's also a great way to move your containers to catch the Sun. If you are concerned about the toxins do your research in the meantime try growing just a small amount to start with. Happy planting from Green Thumb plants and Gardens.

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