I’m so excited to receive my author copy of my newest book, The Small Budget Gardener (Cool Springs Press, 2010 $16.95). I think the whole garden world gradually became so fancy and so expensive that a lot of people just lost interest. But in my mind gardening is so inexpensive a hobby that everyone can enjoy growing things whether its for food or beauty. That’s why I wrote this book to help everyone get back to basics. In truth, gardening involves little more than soil, water, air, sun and plants, and if you read the book you’ll know how to get plants that are either cheap or totally FREE. Gardening is always more popular in hard times when our options are so limited, and in these periods millions discover for the first time an endeavor that will remain satisfying for the rest of their lives.
While in Xochemilco, the ancient Aztec center of flower culture outside Mexico City, I came upon this brilliant no-cost idea. Aluminum cans, be they from beer or sodas are brightly colored, lightweight and won’t rust. They make the cutest little pots thin enough to cut easily with scissors or use a hack saw. Smooth the cut edge with a nail file or sand paper to avoid cuts. These examples below are rather beat up, but you can reuse your favorite drink containers to grow all the tiny plants you want. Small succulents and herbs are ideal. They make really fun gifts or decor items in small urban gardens. If you cut the can in half, turn the top half upside down so that the opening assures drainage. If you use the bottom half, poke some holes with a nail or ice pick to ensure it drains before adding soil. This is a nifty way to reuse aluminum rather than recycling.