Recycled Planters

60 Minutes | All | Outdoors

You don’t need a garden to get growing – make some recycled planters to turn even the smallest space green.



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Recycled Planters

60 Minutes | All | Outdoors

  • A4 paper
  • Rope
  • Scissors
  • Sticky labels
  • Coloured pens or pencils
  • Seeds
  • Gardening gloves
  • Compost
  • Cotton wool balls
  • Garden fork
  • A sharp implement (like a screwdriver)
  • Watering can
  • Gravel or stones
  • Yoghurt pot
  • Kitchen roll
  • Cress seeds
  • Wood nails (optional)
  • Breathable membrane (optional)
  • Items to use as recycled planters such as old wellies, shoes, trainers, bags, old or punctured balls or other items from your recycling like bottles or tins

  1. Before you begin
  2. Why not do this activity with a member of your family
  3. Gather your items for the activity
  4. Different plants have different needs, so think about the seeds or plants that will work best for you
  5. For example
  6. Tomatoes need a long, flat, stable container
  7. Potatoes need a deep space for the tubers to grow
  8. Courgettes, marrows and squashes need lots of ground surface around the planting
  9. Raspberries and cherry tomatoes need space to grow tall and some canes to support them
  10. If you don’t want to get messy with compost, we’ve included instructions for making cress heads out of yoghurt pots and kitchen roll
  11. Get ready to plant
  12. Chat about plants need to grow: light, water, and nutrients (usually from soil)
  13. You don’t need acres of green space to grow things
  14. It’s easy to ransack the recycling and turn it into interesting and practical planters
  15. With help if needed, make small holes at the bottom of your planter for drainage
  16. The best way to do this depends on the item – you may want to drill holes or puncture the planter with a sharp screwdriver or sharp nail
  17. Put something like a block of wood behind the surface you’re making holes in
  18. We’ve included instructions for specific items below
  19. Make sure an adult is involved to keep this step safe
  20. Line the bottom of their planter with gravel or stones to help it drain
  21. Fill their planter with peat-free compost
  22. Take your plants or seeds to add to their planter
  23. Make your finishing touches: they could add labels to remind you what you have planted, stand your planter on a tray or plate to catch water, or figure out a way to hang their planter
  24. You could even decorate your planter
  25. Now all you need to do is take care of the plants by watering them every few days when the soil begins to dry out
  26. Shoes, trainers and wellies
  27. Pull ripped shoes or trainers from your cupboards or fetch the hole-riddled wellies collecting water outside
  28. They’ve got a new life as a planter waiting for them
  29. You could also use old cloth bags or even old handbags – just make sure the owner agrees first!
  30. If you’re using a shoe, remove the laces and pull out the tongue to get as much potting space as you can
  31. Make sure there’s drainage so extra water can escape
  32. You may need to make holes in the soles with a sharp screwdriver or sharp nail – put a block of wood on the other side so the sharp end goes into the wood
  33. Always seek an adult's help with this if you need to
  34. Line the bottom of the shoe, welly, or bag with gravel or stones
  35. Add some peat-free compost then put in your plants (or sow seeds)
  36. Why not try adding different plants with different coloured flowers to attract different pollinators?
  37. Label your planter so you know what’s inside and continue to add water every few days when the soil begins to dry out
  38. Decide how you’ll display the planter
  39. You could stand it on the ground outside or use nails or tacks to fix it to a wall or fence
  40. Football or basketballs
  41. You may not be able to play with punctured balls – but there’s no need to throw them away
  42. Give them a new purpose and give a plant a new home
  43. Use sharp scissors or a craft knife to cut out a section of ball about two thirds of the way up so you can see (and plant) inside the ball
  44. Seek an adult should you need help with this
  45. Unless there are already holes in the base of the ball, stand the ball on a block of wood and use a screwdriver or large nail to make some holes for drainage
  46. An adult should help with this
  47. Create a loop for hanging by make four holes equally spaced around the ball, about three centimetres below the rim
  48. Thread strong twine or thin rope through to meet at the top and tie a knot
  49. You don’t have to create a loop – you could also attach the planter to a pallet, fence, or wall with nails or tacks
  50. Decide whether you’ll cut some slits in the sides of the ball so plants can poke out from all angles
  51. Line the bottom of the ball with gravel or stones
  52. Add some peat-free compost then put in your plants (or sow seeds)
  53. Label your planter so you know what’s inside and continue to add water every few days when the soil begins to dry out
  54. Display your planter for everyone to enjoy
  55. Cress heads
  56. Don’t worry if you haven’t got soil or compost
  57. You can turn a yoghurt pot (or similar item of recycling) into a planter for some tasty cress
  58. Remove the label and draw a funny face on the yoghurt pot
  59. Put some wet kitchen roll in the bottom of the pot
  60. Put some damp cotton wool on top of the kitchen roll
  61. Evenly spread cress seeds on top of the cotton wool and gently press them down
  62. Put the pot in a warm place that gets some sunlight (a windowsill is perfect)
  63. Watch the cress grow
  64. Be patient: it’ll take about seven days
  65. Take a photo of your cress head and share it with your leader

  • Always remain aware of your surroundings and follow local COVID-19 advice, including the Hands / Face / Space / Ventilation guidance.
  • If you’re meeting online, check out the advice on using Zoom and other popular digital platforms and the guidance on being safe online.
  • To help others do activities safely over Zoom, check out the example risk assessments and remember to make sure those taking part understand any care that needs to be applied.