Gardening is a great way to bring color into a yard and save money by growing herbs and vegetables. But that savings can disappear when overspending for the items you need. Don't spend money on more gardening containers and accessories! Here's how to save and use what's already on hand around the house:

Glass bottles and wine bottles

Old glass bottles make beautiful garden borders–the glass catches the light and adds color to the yard. Another benefit? When nothing is blooming, colorful glass bottles bring interest and depth to an otherwise bland off-season yard.

Any glass bottle will do: lemonade, sparkling water or cider, wine bottles or liquor bottles. They should be similar in height but not necessarily identical in size; varying the height slightly will add some contrast to the border and make it more interesting.

Additional suggestions:

  • Dig a trench to create a border. It's easiest to do this when the ground is wet (after a rainy day is ideal).
  • Dig deep enough to "plant" the bottles upside down, leaving four to six inches visible at the base to create the border.
  • If the border is long (six feet or more) know this could be a work in progress and might take more than one season to complete (it could take a couple dozen bottles to complete a border).
  • Ask friends to help with the collection! Let friends know you are collecting empty glass bottles and ask if you can take any off their hands.

Tea tins

Add some charm to an indoor herb garden by reusing old tea tins. They are the ideal size for herbs like basil, oregano and parsley and are small enough to fit in a sunny window space.

Be sure to puncture some holes in the bottom of each tin for drainage. If the base is too heavy to puncture, add a layer of small pebbles to the bottom of the tin and then cover with soil; the pebbles will allow the soil to drain properly.



Glass jars, fish bowls

Watch your container garden grow from the ground up by planting in an old glass jar or that glass fish bowl that has been sitting on a shelf. Line the bottom of the jar or bowl with pebbles to help with drainage, then add soil. The smaller sizes of glass jars and bowls make these ideal for herb gardens kept indoors. Plant any herbs commonly used in cooking and enjoy having these plants handy and just within reach in the kitchen.



Old drawers

Wooden planters and flower boxes add charm and character to a front porch or deck, but the cost is usually $30 or higher at a gardening or home improvement store. Repurpose that outdated furniture by using a dresser drawer as a planter. Here's how to do it:

  • Sand away any rough spots
  • Repaint the exterior of the drawer to give it a bright, sunny color
  • Drill holes in the bottom of the drawer for drainage
  • Cover holes with a layer of newspaper to prevent messy dirt and mud runoff when watering (it is cheaper than landscaping fabric and will decompose naturally in about 18 months)
  • Fill with soil and flowers!

Wine crates, wooden crates and pallets

Lucky enough to have one of these on hand? If so, congratulations! Wooden boxes are ideal for container gardens and also add charm and personality to an outdoor space.

In love with this idea but can't find a wooden crate? Check local liquor stores and grocery stores to see if there are any available for free.

Follow the same guidelines used for any container with a solid base: Puncture holes in the bottom for drainage.

Use pallets as a low-maintenance garden bed. The slatted design makes this piece perfect for growing rows of lettuce and other leafy greens. Just place the pallet in a sunny spat, fill each "row" with soil and let the growing begin.

Photo Credits: Photo 1, Photo 2, Photo 3, Photo 4, Photo 5

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