Where To Get Containers For Your Container Garden

Posted on Apr 18 2011 - 2:54am by Mike Lieberman

The one question that I most often get from people is where I get the containers for my garden from. When I posted a question on Facebook asking what posts people would like me to write, it was mentioned again by some friends.

The first thing is that I never buy the containers brand new. I don’t for a few reasons. The most important is that I don’t want to use any unnecessary resources and materials, especially plastic. The other reason is that there are much cheaper ways.

Here are some places that you can easily get the containers for free or for a $1:

When I was living in NYC, the containers used on my fire escape garden, I got containers for free from the local bodegas.

All bodegas use the containers to put their flowers in. When I walked by and saw a big stack, I’d ask if I could take 3-4 of them off their hands. The usual answer was no. I’d follow up with how about just 1 or 2. They would usually say yes just so I’d stop bothering them. Free containers. That simple.

Farmers Market
Since I’ve moved to Los Angeles, and stared my balcony garden, there aren’t many bodegas where I live. So I’ve been sourcing them from the flower vendors at the farmers market for $1 each. It’s not free, but still not too bad.

Other places that you can likely get the containers from are:

Restaurants, Delis, Bakeries and Deli Section of Supermarkets
All of these places usually get their shipments of mustard, mayonnaise, pickles, etc in the 5-gallon containers. Check with them to see if they have any that they aren’t using.

It’ll be much easier if you are a regular customer or have a relationship with them. If you aren’t, it’s still worth inquiring.

Where you don’t want to get your containers from:

Construction Sites
It’s likely that the containers from construction sites had plaster, concrete, paint or something else nasty mixed inside of it. You don’t want to be growing your food out of that.

What other places are good to get containers from?