What do a dresser, used tires and a filing cabinet have in common? They’re just a few of the unusual ways you can think outside the box when it comes to gardening in containers.

What do a dresser, used tires and a filing cabinet have in common?
They’re just a few of the unusual ways you can think outside the box when it comes to gardening in containers.
“Anything is possible,” says Yvonne Savio, Common Ground Garden Program manager with the University of California Cooperative Extension program. “I’ve seen chairs, washing machines, filing cabinets and bedroom bureaus made into containers.”
As long as there is a way to drain the water from the container — either naturally or by punching a few holes — gardening experts say many items for you home and even your car can add an original look to your garden.
Transforming an old file cabinet into a planter utilizes all the drawers, since each drawer has holes in the bottom for drainage. Each drawer should be filled with soil or planting mix and, to prevent it from tipping over, Savio suggests anchoring the cabinet by using a lighter mix in the top drawer than the bottom drawer.
By pulling each drawer out like a staircase, you ensure that the top drawer does not block sunlight to the bottom drawers. Each drawer can be filled with the plant of your choice.
Some containers can even roll right off your car.
Christopher Nyerges, co-founder of the School of Self-Reliance and author of “How to Survive Anywhere: A Guide for Urban, Suburban, Rural, And Wilderness Environments” (Stackpole, 2006), has recycled old tires into potato planters. He starts by stacking four of them and filling the inside of the tires with a couple shovels full of compost, regular soil and straw. Then he takes potatoes from the kitchen that are too old to eat and plants a piece of the potato with the sprout (or eye) going out. He plants about three eyes per stack of tires.
“It’s all above ground and it’s very easy to do,” Nyerges says. “The way you harvest it is you just pull off the top two tires. You might get 10 to 20 potatoes per stack of tires.”
Using old and odd containers for planting gives going green a whole new meaning.
Says Savio: “You just have to literally think outside the container so it can contain a whole new life as a new item in the garden.”