Do you want to know one of the best things about container gardening? It's scavenging for and finding amazing second hand garden planters from yard sales and thrift shops.
Many people are put off gardening because of the wrong notion that it's an expensive hobby. And for those without much disposable income, it becomes all the more out of reach.
Plants aren't usually the issue. Seeds, after all, can often be purchased very cheaply especially if you frequent home bargains stores. You can score established plants off your garden-loving neighbors for little to no cost. You can also get them cheap at market stalls or on sale from a plant nursery at the end of the season.
Containers, however, are a different matter. Bought brand new, they can burn a hole in your pocket especially if you indulge yourself in the amazing variety available both in brick and mortar shops and online.
The answer, of course, is simple: don't buy new.
Thrift stores (charity shops here in the UK) are fantastic for finding quirky containers. Just look at this little guy, who, come the Spring, will be (hopefully!) bright with fresh young carrots.
Scavenging at thrift stores and second hand shops is so much like digging for buried treasure. You drive out there to whatever destination you're going to and you just never know what you're going to find after much looking and searching.
And oftentimes, it's all about the eye and your personal taste. You get to find and pick up items that go with whatever theme you have going in your container garden.
Like this rather unique but elegant container I found in a yard sale. It has just been planted up with black tulip bulbs. They should produce a clean, sharp contrast when they flower, also in Spring.
Buying both of these items cost me just £5.48 ($7.43), with money from the purchases going to support Age Concern, a UK charity which provides help, advice and support to elders, to enable them to live as independently as possible.
Some charity shops/thrift stores will also sell older gardening tools like trowels. Pro-tip though - yard sales are a better bet for these.
For larger items such as patio tables and chairs, lawn mowers, and garden sheds and green houses, check out classified listings. Whether in your local paper or on online sites, they are full of good quality items being offered cheaply.
I know of one person local to me who got a garden shed for free because the sellers were moving house and didn't want to take it with them! If you're able to dismantle items and have a vehicle for collection, there are plenty of bargains to be had,
If you're into sustainability and responsible consumption, then buying good-quality second hand items is definitely the way to go. If you buy from charity shops/thrift stores, you're supporting a good cause.
As with the charity I've mentioned earlier, you'd be helping keep open a venue that helps elder persons keep engaged and active. Buying from individuals via the classifieds keeps money in the local economy, and directly helps individuals – and that's always a good thing!