4 Ways To Create A Kitchen Garden Using Upcycled Materials

On: Monday, May 20, 2013


Whether you live in an apartment and have no yard space or are just enchanted with the idea of growing a bit of food in your own kitchen or on your porch, creating a kitchen garden can be fun and rewarding. There are, of course, a host of kitchen garden pots, planters and other tools available for purchase, but why not create your kitchen garden using upcycled materials? What better way is there to be kind to the environment while enjoying home-grown food straight from your own kitchen?

What to Grow 

A number of plants are suitable for a kitchen garden, but it is important to take into account root depth, sunlight requirements and more. Below are a few suggestions of plants worthy of consideration for your kitchen garden.
  • Strawberries: Nothing quite beats the romance of picking plump, red berries off your own personal plants. Because they are shallow-rooted plants, they adapt well to container growing.
  • Lettuce: Incredibly easy to grow, lettuce is a top candidate for kitchen gardens, especially if you choose a cut-and-come-again lettuce blend. There are some fantastic seed blends with a wide range of leaf textures and colors and tastes that vary from bland to spicy.
  • Herbs: The best chefs use fresh herbs. Join their ranks by planting your own food seasonings such as chives, basil, rosemary, parsley and thyme.
  • Tomatoes: Be cautious when selecting tomato plants. If you have limited space, you will want to look for patio container varieties. These will stay a bit more contained than some of the bigger garden varieties. You can also grow tomato plants specifically for indoor growing, as they don't require bees to pollinate them. Although the pollen naturally drops from one flower to another, some growers suggest gently shaking your tomato plant to encourage pollination.
  • Radishes: Their compact size and bursts of color make it a no brainer – it must be included in the kitchen garden!
  • Dwarf Carrots: While your average carrot is too long for many containers, the more compact, ball-type carrots work well.
These are some of the easiest to grow and most popular plants for a kitchen garden. Of course, you can grow many other things, but keep in mind that plants such as watermelon and squash need a lot of space! Once you have decided what to grow, it is time to get down to the business of finding containers in which to plant.

Gathering Materials
If you are planning on using upcycled materials to house your kitchen garden plants, you will want to take some time to gather the materials. Here are a few things you may want to have on hand.
  • Two Liter Plastic Bottles
  • Egg Cartons
  • Egg shells
  • Plastic Clamshells (Those clear plastic containers used to package lettuce, greens, berries, and such make great planters!)
  • Old cups
Now, let’s get down to business with some fabulous ideas!

Idea #1: Eggshell Seedling Starters

A perfect way to get your herb seeds off to a good start is by starting them in eggshells! Eggshells are a natural source of calcium and will eventually breakdown in your soil. Simply save the shells left from your morning breakfast, fill them with some organic potting soils and plant two or three seeds in each shell. For stability you will want to place the egg shell halves in an egg carton.

The clear plastic cartons make an especially nice-looking display! Write the name of the seeds on the carton slots before inserting the eggshells and soil. When the seedlings start to grow, transfer to the plants to a larger container, slightly cracking the shell with your hands to allow the roots to expand.

Idea #2: Self Watering Planters 

If you have trouble remembering to keep those roots well-watered, this idea is perfect for you! Simply take a 2-liter bottle, remove the cap and cut the bottle in half. Punch ¼ inch holes around the neck of the bottle (close to where the cap would go).

Next, insert a couple of strips of good moisture-wicking cloth through the bottle top and place them upside down into the base of the bottle that is already filled with water. Fill the top part with soil, ensuring that the wicking strips touch the water below and extend into the soil. Plant small herbs or other plants inside and set in a sunny window sill.

Idea #3: Lettuce Trays 

Those plastic clamshell containers are a great container in which to plant lettuce. Simply cut off the lid (or remove if it isn’t attached), fill the base with soil and scatter seeds.

Idea #4: Old Mugs 

Parting with a favorite coffee mug is never easy, so here is a great reason to hang on to those old chipped or cracked cups. Fill them with soil and plant herbs or other small plants inside! Just remember that there won’t be drainage holes, so be careful not to over water. To avoid the plants getting 'soggy feet' when you water them, you can line the bottom of the mug with small pebbles.

The Sky’s the Limit

These ideas barely scratch the surface of what you can do with upcycled materials in your kitchen garden. Look at what you have on hand, swirl those creative juices and get your green thumb working! You will soon be enjoying some tasty treats straight from your window sill or patio!
Featured images:

Chris Turberville-Tully is an avid writer and blogger for Fabulous-Store.co.uk - kitchen designers in Berkshire, England. When not busy at his computer, Chris enjoys days out with his family, including walks along the seaside.

1 appreciated comments on "4 Ways To Create A Kitchen Garden Using Upcycled Materials"

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great ideas

Post a Comment