MAKE HANGING BASKETS OUT OF LEFTOVER JUNK
From milk cartons to baked beans tins, colanders to old pullovers, green-fingered growers at Garden Organic are encouraging gardeners to get creative with their hanging baskets to help protect the planet and their purses.
With more of us taking up gardening during the pandemic, the horticultural charity is expecting a big uplift in the popularity of hanging baskets ahead of the summer. But if you don’t already have a regular basket to reuse, before visiting the garden centre check what you might have lying around at home that could be transformed into a sustainable container.
Former Blue Peter gardener and Garden Organic’s head of horticulture Chris Collins says: “I live in a flat with a balcony, so container growing and hanging baskets are an important part of my organic growing life.
“You don’t need to spend a lot of money; you can make your own highly-original ‘basket’, which can be a delight throughout the year. Many can be made from your household rubbish - much better for the environment.” Here are four common household items to upcycle into hanging baskets.
An old colander, with its ready-made drainage holes, is ideal. “Just make sure you line it with a layer of grit or matting (such as recycled jute, sisal or coir), moss or even an old woollen jumper (this must be 100% wool as synthetic fibres can break down into the soil) to prevent the compost blocking the holes or falling out,” Chris advises.
“They will have a tendency to dry out quicker than other baskets, but are perfect for plants that don’t mind dry conditions, like thyme.”
2. Old wellies
Old wellies make quirky additions to the patio, you can hang them up on a post or wall. Fill them with compost and trailing plants.
3. Tin cans
These can be painted in bright colours or in subtle tones, depending on the effect you want. Drill holes in the base for drainage and the sides so you can suspend them with string from posts.
4. Single-use plastics
“Hanging baskets are also great for growing herbs and veggies,” says Chris. “My strawberries did well last year in their milk bottle tower and I’ve got tomatoes in DIY containers, too.
“Coriander, basil and parsley leaves will make delicious additions to your dinner. “Tumbling tomatoes and chilli peppers will all flower and fruit so long as they are in a sheltered, sunny position..”