Friday, February 12, 2010

miniature Water Wise Container Gardens

Last year I dumpster dived a giant stack of white pharmacy trays that each measure 16 inches in length, 7 inches in width while being 5 inches deep. I tossed the stack in my Dodge minivan because I am John Starnes, compulsive pack rat/recycler.....I KNEW I'd think of a cool use for them. And I did!

I drill 8-10 holes on the sides, about 1 inch from the bottom, to create a miniature Water Wise Container Garden perfect for starting seeds in. The bottom half is filled with soil from my chicken scratch path/compost factory, then I add a few inches of commercial greenhouse potting mix. I snip miniblinds into 5 inch lengths to set edgewise into the soil to divy up the container garden for differing plants, then use a short length to label each section.

These have proved very effective, NON-THIRSTY havens for tomato, catnip, broccoli and many other seeds that stay damp a LONG time between waterings.

Many folks find the various Alliums (onion and garlic family) difficult from seed when direct sown into a garden, but I got GREAT germination from a leek variety called 'American Flag' (see photo). Once the seedlings are big enough to divide and handle, I transplant them into the garden.
Just remember the Dumpster Diver's Motto: "Peek, and you shall find!"


  1. Hi John, Those plant markers wouldnt happen to be old vinyl blinds would they? Thats what I use. I love your dumpster diving finds!

  2. Yes Eddie,I keep my eyes peeled for miniblinds that people stick into,or,on top of, their garbage cans to be hauled to the landfill.I use scissors to snip ALL the support cords and strings at the very top below the support bar, and each blind slips out easily when needed. I use pencils I find while dumpster diving at apartment complexes to write the needed data on each garden marker. No. 2 pencils are best, and the labels last a little over a year in Tampa's harsh sunlight.