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How to grow stuff in a fruit box

the rented spade

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Despite moving a full truck load of pots to our new rental, I'm forever running out of places to grow plants.
This is mainly because I want to grow everything (at least once) and I've finally realised that to have a year round supply of some edibles say for instance dill, you have to sow dill seeds all year round! This requires lots of growing space. Therefore I am on a constant search for more pots or vessels to fill with potting mix - particularly pots that are free!

In the past I've dug up bits of rented gardens when short on space and if the landlord didn't mind. Our new rental however already has a well established garden which I really shouldn't touch. More influential is that we have a new addition to our household - Taco the dog - and she needs her own space to run and bury her precious bones.

So with our regular pots already full with summer crops, as are the other containers like my polystyrene boxes, the spare worm farm trays and milk crates, I've been in desperate need of some more growing space to plant seeds.  Then the recycling bin came through for me, as it often does. I noticed a glistening material shinning out from among the newspapers and discarded energy bills of  the recycling. Plastic fruit packs - perfect for growing stuff.

Yes, fruit in packaging.  I know the deep greens reading my blog will be appalled that I sometimes buy fruit in packaging. I feel very guilty but try to justify it by the fact they come from a third generation local family green grocer that sells locally grown seasonal produce? To me that is important to support.

Modern moral debates aside - I've taken to reusing these clear plastic box shaped packets that fruit is sometimes packaged in. I'm using them for growing seeds of veg that will be transplanted later to my other pots such as zucchini, and as pots for small annual herbs that turn over quickly like coriander. The plastic fruit packets I use are clear rectangular shaped, about 15 cm by 10 cm wide and maybe 10 cm deep.

You can prepare these packets for plants in three easy steps:

  1. Holes - The packets may already have a few holes in the bottom but I've been popping a few more in the bottom to improve drainage (just using a knife to poke through the bottom of the packet). 
  2. Drainage - I then add a layer of drainage material such as gravel to the packet, about two cm high.This helps excess water pass through without loosing the soil.
  3. Growing medium - Then I fill with soil until about one cm to the top of the packet. I use potting mix with a bit of compost or poo thrown in.

These fruit box pots  are good for renting gardeners. They don't take up much space and they don't require heaps of soil which can be costly or heavy to carry. So far so good in my rented garden and I'd recommend giving this a go if you are looking for some small pots. Might even suit a window box for those living in apartments - just make sure to put a tray or ice-cream bucket lid etc. underneath to catch the excess water.

Ongoing care

  • On the topic of water you will have to be mindful of keeping the pots wet enough, particularly if you are using them for seed raising. As these aren't huge pots they are likely to dry out quicker than larger pots, so constant watering is required. 
  • The sun can degrade the plastic (probably a good thing!) as it is unlikely to have any UV resistence built in. So be mindful to watch for brittleness if you position the pot in all day or afternoon sun in summer.

Finally, be prepared to eat more that I know these fruit packets are good for plants, I have noticed we seem to be buying a bit more fruit these days.


container garden, Garden, renter gardening, the rented spade