February 17, 2012

Repurpose Cans as Planters

I was washing out cans to put into recycling, when I had an epiphany:  cans are cool looking, sturdy, and waterproof.  They would make great pots.  However, there are some clear hurdles: they provide no drainage, and it's unlikely my neighbors will think they're as cool looking as I do.  We live in a neighborhood of wonderful people who sadly don't subscribe to my "make it don't buy it" ethic.

I'm a pro at tackling one problem at a time, so I decided to ignore the appearance issue until I have time to make them pretty, and get right down to the challenge of making them work as pots.  

Unfortunately, poking holes in the bottom (my usual solution for drainage) wasn't an option because of rule #6:  do not inconvenience or annoy non-gardeners in the house.  My husband puts up with a lot, but he's not the DIY type, and soup cans bleeding dirty water would not make him a happy camper.  So, self-contained had to be the way to go.

Fortunately, I found a solution in the cans themselves:  the lids. bent appropriately, they made nifty little air pockets at the bottoms of the cans to allow water to drain.  They would still need less watering than their more drain friendly peers, but they'd do nicely.   Now I just need to spend some time deciding how to make them look pretty to everyone else and stay within my $5 budget.  
Here's how I did it:

Step 1:  Eat the contents of the cans and wash them.  Don't lose the lids!

Step 2:   Peel off the labels, and soak or use Goo-Gone to remove any remaining residue.

Step 3:  Fold the lids as shown.  Basically, the goal is to make a tent-like shape.

Step 4:  Drop the lids into the bottom of the cans to create an air pocket (that will quickly become a water pocket when you water your plants the first time.

Step 5:  Fill with dirt and plant whatever you want to plant according to directions.  Enjoy as your plants grow and take root.

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