Plastic pails

They may not win many design awards, but plastic pails are inexpensive and practical containers for use in vegetable gardening. You can buy the 2- or 3-gallon type at the local variety store, or you might be able to pick up larger, 5- or 10-gallon models that have been tossed away after use at construction sites. There are many ways to doll up these plastic eyesores, such as covering them with metal foil or placing them inside larger wicker baskets.

Some companies, such as Rubbermaid, manufacture attractively designed plastic containers specifically for gardeners. These ready-to-use pots come in many different sizes and shapes and have found a wide market among apartment farmers.

Other simple containers

Paper pulp pots: An all-around good vegetable container, this type of pot can be carried from place to place easily. The most popular sizes are 12 and 18 inches in inside diameter. In the larger, you can plant eggplant, tomatoes and other large vegetables; the smaller are good for carrots and similar plants.

Wooden fruit boxes: You can still occasionally pick up an orange crate or similar wooden box outside the supermarket or vegetable store. Recycle it into a container by lining it with black plastic into which some drainage holes have been punched. Filled with good soil, one of these containers will hold several tomato, zucchini or corn plants—or almost any other variety you'd like to grow.

Bushel baskets: Some people find these more attractive than the wooden fruit boxes. Aside from that everything we said about the fruit boxes holds true for bushel baskets. But act fast—the age of cardboard and plastic is upon us, and the old wooden baskets and boxes are becoming scarce.

Wicker baskets: As wood becomes rare, wicker seems to be becoming more common. Well-designed containers are available in countless styles and sizes at many import' and other variety stores. Use plastic liners as noted above.

Windowsill containers

The list of common household items that, with a little imagination, can be drummed into service as containers for windowsill gardens is almost infinite. Here are a few of the more widely used:-

Coffee cans: These make fairly sturdy containers for plants. Just punch a few holes in the sides, close to the base, for drainage, fill with soil, and you're ready to grow.

Milk cartons: These plastic-coated, paperboard containers won't last as long as cans, but they'll do quite nicely for one crop. Cut them off 6 to 8 inches above the base and punch out four holes for drainage with a pencil.

Freezer containers: One-pint plastic freezer containers are excellent windowsill containers. Lightweight, durable and inexpensive, they'll last through many plantings.

Flowerpots: The classic four-inch clay flowerpot is not as cheap as it used to be, but it fits very nicely onto most windowsills and is large enough to grow beets, carrots, radishes and similar leafy and root vegetables.

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