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Exploring Womanhood > Heart of the Home > Gardening > Container Gardening

Compostable Garden Planters
by Ron Williams

Would you like a more natural alternative to using those plastic planter containers?

Well, here is a project for you, where you can have an interesting planter during the growing season, then throw the container out in the garden for mulch, without having to add to the world's landfill problems.

These planters can be used and grown anywhere you can provide good plant growing conditions, including on a patio, pathway or even a roof top. The main criteria being enough sunlight for the plants chosen, easy access to water and ease of access to maintain the planter/s.

Just follow the steps below.

What you will need.

  • One or more rectangular bales of hay, (One per planter).
  • 4 to 8 seedlings or small plants per planter.
  • One to two good handfuls of soil/compost/potting mix per plant.
  • Small garden handtools.
  • Hose/watering can.
  • Liquid fertilizer.
  • Area chosen to provide enough light for growing conditions required by plants selected.


  • Take one rectangular bale of hay; flip it on its side so that the straps are around the sides not over the top and bottom.

  • Moisten the hay bale thoroughly with a hose or watering can.

  • Using the handle of a hand tool, dig four to eight holes in the new upper surface of the hay bale, these holes have to be big enough to hold a good handful of soil.

  • Into each hole, place a handful or two of compost, soil or potting mix.

  • Plant up your choice of annuals, herbs or short-lived perennials.

  • Water the plants in well and fertilize them with a liquid fertilizer.

  • Because of the air gaps in the hay, this type of planter can dry out more quickly than a normal planter, so regular watering is essential.

  • Also remember that your planter is actually decomposing while you are using it so remember to regularly fertilize the plants growing in it.

  • After you have finished growing your plants, move it out to the garden, take the straps off the bale, and use it to mulch/fertilize a part of your garden. You will find that the centre of the bale has decomposed into compost nicely by this stage.

Ron Williams is a Freelance writer as well as being a Horticulturist and a Rehabilitation Therapy Aid at a Psychiatric Hospital in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. He writes ezines for wz.com. He also owns a discussion group about Australian Gardening, called austgardens at groups.yahoo.com.


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