Having realised that my local tip offers recycled milk crates I'm in a sort of boxed heaven. I've had a cherished collection of crates for over 10 years and found any number of uses for them.
They are a design masterpiece.
IKEA under your nose.
Since my current stock is being used by my partner as a wall of storage for mosaic pieces and china, the new supply line has got me thinking -- just as I was looking to add 'pots' to the garden...while lamenting the cost of pots and the complication of size variations when buying cheap.(And after a few years the plastic ones always break)
But hey look at this:
- Tom: the urban milk crate gardener
- How to make a milkcrate garden
- Milkcrate garden images (sample at left)
The tweak is that milkcrates when placed together, insulate one another despite the thin covering used for the sides. Indestructible. Stackable. Multi-functional. They look neat. Lighter than many pot options. Space efficient. Easily lifted or ported about on hand trolleys.
So folks -- I wanna know what I should put in these crates in way of a soil? You reckon I can use my own with a few tweaks rather than go pay for the mixes?
And it's instant 'square foot' gardening.
For those into wicking beds, you could create them from milkcrates by using cut off pieces of old garden hose for your outlet.
You can even grow spuds in them although I'd think other veg would be better as maybe the spuds deserve a larger volume.
Asking price at the tip: $1/crate...but they sell out quickly so attend early and often .
We're making pallet gardens at the local school veg garden and I'm not too fussed on that option. 'Vertical' always means much more watering to me and it doesn't suit our climate..
I used to use car tires and while I love the gardening -- getting rid of the tires is an expensive and challenging hobby.Not recommended.
Here's my latest milk crate project:
We've just said 'good bye' to around 20 tyres, at $8 each to tip.
Milk crates are the design masterpiece of the 20th century.
For wicking beds, just line with plastic.
My mix is this: el cheepo potting mix for bulk then soaked fine coir, vermiculite (I buy in 100L bales for $15 approx.), compost, Organic Xtra, rock minerals, worm castings.
Tried the square foot mix. He uses peatmoss so I substituted with soaked fine coir. Never had enough compost so it didn't work all that well for me.
The car tyres if you cut around the sides can be put in the general rubbish bin because they are no longer a tyre $8 is excessive. Tyres if in landfill are a good way of storing carbon where if recycled will be turned into oil or burnt .
Great. Thanks for the tip, Jeff.
There's always a domestic use for milk crates...and as well as storage tool, they too store well.
I use 2 stacked on a trolly for market shopping. Useful for garbage sorting, and lashed together they make great storage shelves.
The ultimate in Industrial Design style....
A milk crate offers a greater or equivalent volume than the oft used Styrofoam boxes which always fall apart when deployed in the garden.
The drawback for me is the fact that you need to create a potting mix from commercial inputs...and that's added cost, cartage and mixing.
One site recommended: 50% soil, 25% compost, 25% manure and a few tablespoons of dry organic fertilizer.And for my bath experiment I sifted my own yard sand plus manure 1:1. (Talk about mixing!) That has worked 'OK'. A layer of manure was on the bottom.
But I suspect you also need to plan what you want to plant...and I'm thinking herbs so I can tweak the soil to suit. And preferably perennials...
Milk Crates form an indispensable stool for many activities. Topped off with a folded old towel, a great way to do 'stuff' for which you need to be sitting.
I sit on a low chair to do my potting up and sowing of seeds and seedlings, and use milk crates as my tables for this great little things they are.