As an ecological NY gardener we have to admit that the greenest gardening is gardening done by the client and not us. Here is a quick do it yourself activity that you can complete for your New York City green garden in a few hours that can have lasting ecological, aesthetic, and environmental benefits. Create a beautiful planter box with a hidden cache of water out of completely salvaged materials.

We removed large portions from a shrub of a native invasive species (native=good, invasive=annoying) from our garden to aid the growth of other plants. Following ecological building techniques that Eco-Brooklyn loves, we only use salvaged materials to create this project: plastics bottles and cups were used for the water retention mechanism, salvaged wood was used create the gardening box, and recovered carpet was used for the root barrier.

The plastic bottles and cups retain water so that when it does not rain for extended periods of time, the plants can still find sustenance.

This activity will also save you a large sum of money. If you were to purchase all of the materials new then you would incur the following costs: $20 dollars for a garden box, $50 for root barriers, and $10 for new soil. Over $80 can be saved by following these green gardening techniques! We hope you enjoy creating beautiful!

Step 1:
Remove plants from your garden that are native invasive plants, buy native plants from your local nursery, or plant seeds. Here is what our shrubs looked like before and after removal:

Before- shrubs to the left and right of the path were removed.





Step 2:
Obtain a flowering pot or gardening box. Try your best to not buy a new one. You can create one by getting a salvaged wood and nailing it together to create a gardening box or get one from your friendly neighbor’s trash. Here is what ours looks like:

Step 3:
Garner used plastic bottles or cups from your house, local garbage cans, or recycling facility. Here are the bags of bottles and cups that I collected on Smith Street:

Step 4:
Cut plastic bottles or cups 3 inches from the bottom. Cut as many as it takes to fill the bottom of your gardening box.

The half cut cups are stacked and the half cut water bottles are displayed in front.

Step 5:
Place cut plastic bottles and cups at the bottom of the garden box.

Step 6:
Obtain a root barrier and cut it accordingly to the shape of your gardening box. Or use a carpet underlayment from the trash like we did.

Step 7:
Place root barrier in gardening box over the half cut bottles and cups.

Step 8:
Acquire soil from your yard and place in the gardening box. The mix we used was 3 parts soil and 1 part mulch.

Step 9:
Plant native invasive plant, new plant, or seeds within the box, water and enjoy! Admittedly our plant looks very sad but they will cheer up after a few days.