Hanging Colander Lettuce Pot

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

You are looking at one of this year’s serendipitous brainstorms. I feel perhaps a little bit too genius for coming up with it, when really, it’s just an enamel colander filled with ‘Sea of Red’ cutting lettuce and hanging in a wire basket. I quite like it. So much so that I haven’t had the heart to harvest it! Yet.

Here’s how this happy marriage came about. I had this heavy wire hanging basket sitting around, going unused. It’s the sort that is typically lined with coir, which is fine in most gardens but hard to keep hydrated on a hot and sunny roof. While, I’ve found it difficult to use as-is, I’ve kept the basket waiting for a new use to present itself. Despite the issue with hydration, stylishly understated and black hanging baskets made of a sturdy materials are hard to come by so I wasn’t about to get rid of it.

I bought the colander at a local secondhand store with the expressed purpose of growing greens in it. I liked the pairing of butter cream with bright red trim. The holes are small enough to hold soil without adding an extra liner, and the drainage they provide is perfect for growing small greens or herbs.

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

Once I had planted up the colander, I thought it might be better served sitting up off the ground. Low and behold it fit perfectly inside the otherwise useless wire basket. As an added bonus our digging mammal visitors (squirrels, raccoons, etc) have not been able to get at it, while a second pot of ‘Sea of Red’ cutting lettuce has been dug up several times over the season.

Incidentally, I have experimented with this particular variety by growing the heads spaced at a distance from one another and tightly clustered as you see it here. I prefer it grown together and like the way the spear-like leaves create a literal sea of rich, mahogany that lights up when the sun hits it just so. It’s as satisfying to look at as any flower basket I have grown and I might even eat it for lunch sometime soon before the plants bolt.

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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19 thoughts on “Hanging Colander Lettuce Pot

  1. Pretty! At a local garden mart this spring I saw mini collanders filled with hens and chicks. I loved the idea then but they were way too pricy. I’m going to have to start hunting at local yard sales to see if I can find some cheap ones. Right now I have a large container planted up with some red leaf lettuce and some frisee. The contrast in the colors is gorgeous. I wish I hadn’t planted it separately, half on one side, half on the other. When I do another sowing for fall I’m going to mix it up!

  2. I have a metal colander I was going to take to the second hand store… maybe I’ll keep it now.. :)

  3. This idea is gorgeous- now I’ll keep a sharp eye out for use colanders on my thrift hunts as well! Just think of all the pretty things you’ll plant to replace the lettuce after you eat it in a sammich ( or salad, or…)

  4. LOVE it!

    Now I’m going to be on the hunt for old metal colanders. And of course I’m kicking myself for throwing out that one I had for years and never used. Of course it’d make a good pot. Duh.

  5. perfect reuse, this is why I can’t rid of stuff, of course it’ll come in handy one day ;-)

  6. Brilliant and gorgeous.

    I’m also growing ‘Sea of Red’ lettuce in a hanging basket & haven’t harvested many leaves yet because it is so pretty. I think I may check out a few garage sales for a colander to grow the next crop.

  7. Ciao Gayla-

    Oh that IS genius, take credit! I love the idea of re-using old colanders that way. I’m also growing Sea of Red lettuce, a gift from Mom who knows I have no willpower when it comes to Renee’s Garden seeds. I’m not having trouble harvesting it, though. We’ve so enjoyed our colourful salads this spring. So far, I’m not seeing any signs of bolt and I’m also growing it crowded like I do with the arugula.

  8. SCORE!!! I asked a yard sale shopping friend to keep an eye out for metal colanders for me. She already brought me one, stainless steel no less. For a quarter!!! I’m transplanting hens and chicks into it as soon as I get some fresh potting soil! Woo Hoo!

  9. Clever! We had a colander identical to yours (minus to cute red trim), but as it was in sad shape we replaced it. If only I’d had such inspiration!

  10. What a great and creative idea! A very practical, attractive planter and a good way to recycle old colanders. Hanging them from a plant hanger in a kitchen window might be a convenient way to grow salad greens too.

  11. I think this is a wonderful idea. I am in the deep south where it is already too hot for lettuce to survive but it will make a great planter for other things. Great idea.

  12. Great idea. I’ll also keep a look out at second hand shops! You could use coffee filters to line the holes is you wanted. I can’t seem to garden without coffee filters =)

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