how to: dollar store garden

If you follow our Facebook page, you might have heard that I am planting a garden this year.  But it’s not your usual garden.  My garden is a dollar store garden!  I’m using as many dollar store and recycled items as I can incorporate.  Meanwhile, I will be sharing all of my experiments and projects here!

Of course, the first thing I had to do was start some seeds.  My favorite way to start seeds is using cardboard egg cartons, or as I like to call them, poor man’s peat pots.  I always cut along the hinge of the carton to separate the top and bottom, then flip the top upside-down and set the bottom inside of it.  By the time you’re ready to put the seeds in the ground the cardboard will be starting to disintegrate, so you will appreciate the extra stability that the lid will add!  And because the carton biodegrades just like a peat pot, when it comes time to plant the seedlings in the ground you can just tear apart the sections and pop them right into the ground!

After I started my seeds, I made an amazing discovery.  I have a whole stack of large food storage containers that I bought at Dollar Tree late last year and used to hold the dozens and dozens of Christmas cookies I made as gifts.  These containers are the perfect size to hold two egg cartons!  I pour the water into the container through a little gap at the edge and the seeds are watered from below, keeping them evenly moist as well as avoiding washing the seeds around by watering from above.

I’m planting a container garden along the fence between my house and the next door neighbor’s, so I need lots of flower pots!  I found the most incredible pots at Dollar Tree in two sizes and five different colors, so I bought a giant stack of each!

The pots need rearranged a bit as I add a few more things, but this part of the garden is almost done being planted!

Another thing I’m trying is the pocket shoe rack planter.  I bought my shoe rack from Family Dollar and I like it because it’s made from the same material as reusable grocery bags.  Since it’s kind of meshy in nature, the excess water drains by itself; if I had gotten one with plastic pockets, it would need drainage holes to be added.  I’m in a cooler climate so the darker color is okay, but if you live someplace really hot you might want to look for a lighter colored shoe rack to avoid overheating the roots or constantly the soil drying out.

I nailed it to the wall of one of the sheds in my yard and planted it full of beans.  I plan to get two more as well so I can grown three different kinds of beans!  (Green, red, and yellow!)

My Dollar Tree has had the wire hanging baskets in stock for a while now, but I haven’t seen any of the liners there yet.  Then one day I was in the next town over and stopped by their Dollar Tree to see if they had anything different than my store.  Wouldn’t you know it, they had an entire shelf full of liners…  But not a basket in sight!  (I think it’s the universe telling me to take more shopping road trips, right?)  I bought several baskets there, including the two here on the left and right; I had some gift cards for Home Depot, which I used to get the basket in the middle.  I have them all planted with tomatoes as sort of an experiment, as an alternative to Topsy Turveys.

(Though I do have a Topsy Turvey full of peppers!)

I’ve planted a lot of interesting things (we’ll get into that later), including this garlic.  It’s actually from a bulb I didn’t get around to cooking with before it started to sprout.  So I separated the cloves and stuck them in the ground, and in the fall I will have fresh garlic!

I still have quite a few things to plant too.  We’ll check back in on my garden next week to see my progress.  You can also see more pictures of my garden on Facebook!