Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Planter solution - repurposed wine crates

You guys are so smart! Several of you mentioned wine crates, which kind of steals my thunder, but I'm glad to see that we're on the same page. I would have loved to use the self watering containers that Christina recommended (see them in use here), but my odd space constraints made it difficult (my patio is very long but not terribly wide).

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We already had a storage rack sitting outside on our patio, and I wanted to use it if I could. Luckily, wine crates fit on it perfectly.

Craigslist came through for me, and I scored 11 wooden wine crates for $39, which gave me 6 extra to use as storage on the lower levels. They are pine, so they will deteriorate eventually, but pretty much anything you fill with dirt and water and leave outside is going to do that. I considered treating the insides or lining them with plastic but ultimately decided it would only slightly prolong the inevitable.

Prep: My uncle saw my wine crates and immediately worried that they needed to be reinforced to hold up the extra weight. He screwed little rectangles of wood in each of the corners for me! We drilled holes in the bottom to allow for drainage and then laid down a bit of old screen to prevent soil from leaking out.

Planting: Fill with good potting mix, add your plants and plenty of water to get them started. I also tried some seeds. I have no idea if they will take, because all I did was sprinkle them and then put a bit of soil on top. We'll see. I'm not exactly an expert gardener.

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See those funny little terracotta things sticking out of my planters? They are called ollas (oy-yahs), and they are a very traditional way to water in the southwest. For more detail, check out this wonderful post about using ollas. Basically, they drastically reduce the amount of watering you have to do, which saves water and effort.

Olla sources: Mine were given to my by my mom, and she purchased them from the local nursery Tree of Life. I found Arizona Pottery to be the most reasonably priced online source.

Technically, this didn't break my shopping hiatus, because the wine crates were repurposed and my mom treated me to the soil and plants because she was so excited to see I was finally going to start my own garden. If I had done the purchasing myself, it would have been about $35 for the gardening supplies, plus the cost of the wine crates and the ollas.

What did I plant?

Sage + greek oregano - both perennials, which means I shouldn't have to replant next year
Rosemary + mint - also perennials, placed together because they are equally invasive and I figured they could hold their own against each other
Basil (two different kinds) - annual, will need to be replanted each year
Cilantro + red bell pepper + Italian parsley - annuals, will need to be replanted each year

I'll make sure to post updates so you can see if I manage not to kill everything.

39 comments:

  1. Rachel a very neat idea! I have my fingers cross they will take and grow.... Enjoy!

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  2. i am so very jealous.
    love your solution!

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  3. so cool! thanks for sharing, I REALLY love that!

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  4. I love that you put the two most invasive plants together. Good thinking!!!

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  5. Rachel, this is incredibly inventive. Way to go! I'm super interested in the ollas, and will definitely read up on it.

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  6. i can only begin to imagine the kinds of pizzas that will be coming out of your oven. they'll be seasoned to perfection with all those spices!

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  7. wine crates=just brilliant. and here i am with my lame plastic planters from home depot. gotta start somewhere when it comes to gardening though.

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  8. this is so innovative - great idea!

    i'm interested in hearing about how the rosemary + mint turf war pans out. ;)

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  9. and cue rachel's next appearance on design*sponge in three...two...one...

    lovely, clever work as usual! the seasonal eats at your place are clearly going to be stupendous this spring.

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  10. Too cute! And I love that you posted what you planted + with what neighbors -- I've been saying I need to plant an herb garden for so long it's shameful, and even your mini-notes on perennial/annuals is helpful! Hope you don't mind some copycatting in Texas...

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  11. your wine crates are a clever solution...a note on your rosemary/mint turf war, one likes water(mint) and one likes it dry(rosemary). that may actually determine the winner.

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  12. Very cool - I love the wine case idea!!!

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  13. all of my favorites!!! so yummy.

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  14. Question about the Magnolia Bakery frosting, can you make the milk flour mixture up to 24 hours ahead of time?
    Might help with my planning if I could. It's time consuming but wonderful. I agree with you about the 7 min. frosting, too marshmelloish!

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  15. Rachel, I just love this! You are so resourceful and stylish. :)

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  16. the wine crates are so beautiful! maybe plant some herbs? i have no idea how easy they're to grow but if anyone could do it, it'd be you :)

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  17. oh, love love love it! I think i may just have to copy you if that is ok?!

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  18. This is gorgeous! I love the wine crate idea better than any other suggestion.

    I wonder if I could use them in my apartment somehow....

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  19. Looking good, Miss Rachel! I loved doing this last year. Watch out for staples when they start to pull apart a bit.

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  20. off to find wine crates and some sort of green thumb.

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  21. Great thanks for the speedy reply. Funny coconut cupcakes story. I just discovered your blog by way of design*sponge & fell instantly in love with your style, not to mention your recipes. So, last evening I made 21 [argh!!] of your lovely cupcakes, had the flour/ milk mixture cooling, and started helping Alice with her homework. I came back out to the kitchen, oh, 10 minutes later to check on my mixture, [I was anxious to make the frosting and was obsessing about things cooling down to room temperature], only to discover that our Golden Retriever Noah had eaten all but 3 of my cupcakes. So, I'm making them again tonight. We will have cupcakes! Nothing says "Cool Mom" like homemade cupcakes just hanging out on the counter for 10 yr. olds to grab! Thanks again

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  22. What a lovely repurposing idea Rachel! I can't wait to see your garden grow and bloom. Thanks for the fantastic tip on the Ollas too! It's so ingenious and eco-friendly -- I will certainly try it with my next garden.

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  23. Oh they look so cute! What a stylish little herb garden, and super creative solution! :)

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  24. so creative I love it, I am also really enjoying your lovely blog!!

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  25. awesome post. these photos are so bright and cheery, and i love the wine crates...craigslist, here i come!

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  26. cuuuuuuuute. craigslist is SUCH a good idea for wine crates! and i love the olla idea.

    i found a wine crate while I was running a few weeks ago (yes i carried with me the rest of the way home) and i've been waiting to fill it with a succulent garden. But i Looooooove your herb idea.

    of course.

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  27. omg, genius!!! i love it. they look awesome...can't wait to hear about your garden updates.

    and i figure it doesn't bust a shopping ban...i mean it's for you to eat! hooray! {craigslist is the best...we actually just bought a used food processor off there...my acupuncturist told me i need to eat more soup...another shopping bust?!? since it's for our food nourishment, i say no!}
    xox

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  28. what a cool idea. this looks great.

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  29. I can hardly stand it, crate and barrel of or in this case bottle. I think your plants will thrive.
    Speak a little french and they will feel right at home.

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  30. What a great idea. Practical and good looking.

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  31. This is amazing! I appreciate all this info so much and can't wait to put it into practice.

    You are my gardening guru.

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  32. I'm so thrilled you stopped by and left a comment--it led me here and I *LOVE* your blog. This idea is brilliant! I just adore what you've done. xo ~Suzanne

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  33. Wow! What a cool idea Rachel. I love the idea of using wine boxes, (not that these things are easy to get hold of in the UK and would probably rot very quickly in our weather!)and the fact that they fit perfectly on the racking is brilliant. I can imagine how great these are going to look when they are full of herbs. I now have wine crate envy and can't wait to see more photos of these!

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  34. craigslist you say...? I want wine crates to make floating shelves!

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  35. most grocery stores give their empty wine crates to me FOR FREE. Just ask! :-)

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  36. They look fantastic. Thank you for sharing.

    Patrick
    www.winepine.com

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