This summer we bought a few tomato plants with dreams of beautiful ripe home-grown tomatoes in the late summer. Since we are on a tight budget this summer, it has been impossible to find decent-looking large-ish pots or planters for $5 or less (it’s a very tight budget!) and as renters, I didn’t want to dig up the yard to put in a garden.
The other day, I picked up a few sturdy wicker baskets at Goodwill. (Remember my quick trip to “William’s Boutique”) I bought a large basket for $2.99, and turned it into a planter in about 20 minutes. Here’s how:
- One wicker basket*
- Glue gun (Low temp is best, but high temp will work)
- Heavyweight Garbage bag – Make sure the circumference of the bag will accommodate the basket. If in doubt, measure or open the bag and try to pull it up over the sides of the basket.
- Potting soil
- A plant or two
1. Fit a heavy duty garbage bag into the bottom of the basket, and fold the top down until the bag height is just a little taller than the sides of your basket. The fold should be to the outside of the bag so when the bag is in the basket, the folded plastic is between the bag and the basket. (In the picture, the grey thing is the handle tie of the bag.)
2. Using a glue gun, apply a blob of glue to one spot on the inside edge of the basket. For the rest of my instructions, I’ll refer to this point as North. My North point was under the handle.
Apply a blob of glue to the opposite side of the basket (South) and stick the opposite side of the bag to it. My South point was under the other side of the handle.
3. Now glue your way around from North to East, then South to East. Repeat going North to West and South to West. This way you don’t have a lot of extra bag bunched up at one spot in your basket, and when the soil goes in the weight won’t pull on the part of the bag that’s already pulled tight.
You should have a little extra bag at East and West. Fold it flat and glue it down.
The nice thing about using hot glue and a garbage bag is that the glue will still stick when it has cooled down a bit, so you have a little bit of working time between gluing and sticking.
I also have to admit a little faux pas at this point. I was sure my 13 gallon garbage bag was big enough, but it wasn’t. If this happens to you, just rip out the bag and start over. My heavy duty 30 gallon leaf bag was perfect.
4. Now that your bag is glued around the inside edge of the basket, spread it out across the bottom of the basket. Using a sharp blade, cut two small drain holes in the bottom of the bag underneath where each plant will sit.
5. Start filling your basket with potting soil. Using a mix with vermiculite will lighten the weight without compromising your plant. As your soil fills the basket, pull up a little on the sides of the bag to create some slack. You don’t want the weight of the soil to pull on the bag where it has been glued.
Add your plants and finish filling with soil. When the basket is almost full, tuck the excess bag down and hide it under the last 2-3” of soil.
*Select a basket large enough to accommodate the roots of your plant. Generally you can expect the roots under the ground to be about the same size as the mature plant above ground. I figured my basket could hold two tomato plants.