Unique Container Idea: Planter Cart

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

I came upon this shopping cart planter the other day while riding my bike along College Street here in Toronto. The planter sits outside a restaurant located at the corner of College and Clinton, perched up high atop a metal outdoor patio fence.

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved
There is a tiny anal-retentive person living inside my brain that REALLY, REALLY longs to remove that dead strawberry leaf. Fighting. Urge.

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

What I love about it is that it is such an affront to the typical planter box. I’m a firm believer that anything that can hold soil can function as a container. And if it can’t hold soil, with a little innovation it can most likely be made to. In this case the designer simply used the basket of the cart like a wire hanging basket, lining it with burlap to allow drainage but also keep soil in. The planter is deep enough to house some pretty deep roots so really the only challenge comes in keeping the soil consistently moist. We’ve had a very forgiving wet and cool season so far which is why those violas are holding up so well into the month of July. In addition to the violas they’ve included some other edibles including strawberries, mint, Vietnamese coriander aka ‘Rau Ram’, nasturtium, rosemary and thyme.

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

The planter is great, but I’m most in love with their sign… I just can’t figure out the logistics involved in urinating in a planter box that high up. Given what I have experienced with my own public garden I can believe that anything is possible and that some people will go to acrobatic feats to make the impossible possible. But still… how do they do it? And what’s more bewildering, why?

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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16 thoughts on “Unique Container Idea: Planter Cart

  1. I love this. I just stumbled upon your blog a week or 2 ago and I’ve been visiting since. I’m down in here in the land of Texas. Gardening here is considered extreme. It’s not an easy task, but I try.

    I love using old things as planters. I’ve been guilty of claiming the stray leather boot (and I do find them more than I think I should) for a planter.
    I’ve got my eye on an old wooden wheel, now if I could just coax it out out my uncle’s hands. I’ve got some gifted succlent cuttings that would look fabulous in it.

  2. Now look what you’ve done, I want to hijack some carts from the local grocery store!
    :)
    What a fabulous way to make more garden space without having to dig up grass or gravel.

  3. While you’re wondering how the offenders manage to accomplish their offenses, I’m wondering how the ‘rules are enforced’.

    (I, too, just discovered your blog a couple of weeks ago, and really enjoy it, and all of the pictures!)

  4. I just can’t figure out the logistics involved in urinating in a planter box that high up.

    Are Canadian men exceptionally tall?

    I find the sign on the cart even more amusing than the sign in the planter. In the U.S. that space is used either to remind parents that their children should sit down in the front part of the cart and wear the provided seat belt, or it is sold as an advertising space. Gotta love the U.S. Sue happy free marketeers! ;-)

  5. Fern: I think that’s a fairly old cart. It’s hard to tell from the photo but is actually very small… I haven’t seen one like that in a long time. The carts in big supermarkets tend to have some advertising although I completely tune it out when I step into a big supermarket.

  6. Fern: I think that’s a fairly old cart. It’s hard to tell from the photo but is actually very small… I haven’t seen one like that in a long time. The carts in big supermarkets tend to have some advertising although I completely tune it out when I step into a big supermarket.

    Darn. I was hoping that Canadians weren’t constantly subjected to advertising everywhere they looked.

  7. maybe Canadian men have exceptionally good aim and Canadian women can fly????

    Toronto is sooooo neat!

    the last time i was there in july i was amazed at the above 90′s temps and humidity “up north”

    i’m happy for your viola’s that your temps are so mild! and there no way i could have let the dead strawberry leaf stay there…

    i keep thinking i’m going to get busted for dead heading petunias at cafe’s and in city planters…..

  8. I immediately started thinking about how I, an apartment dweller with no balcony, could wheel one of these things inside and out, like a baby in a pram, in order to have a little portable garden of my own. I could grow my daily salad stuff and wheel it outside for sun and air and watering.

  9. I think that they probably are urinating on the side of the cart… and everything else after 2:00 AM.

    Other good containers soon to be available is the blue/grey/green boxes that will be replaced by the new garbage and recycling bins. The new Toronto garbage trucks come with a robo-arm that looks like it is a modified Canadarm from the Space Shuttle. So, we have about a million of these square-cornered plastic bins to either recycle or repurpose.

    Greg

  10. I found one of these on my street last year and planted potatoes in it (lined with burlap, as in the photo above). I put a window-box of chives on the kid’s seat, and wired some planters onto the sides of it with lettuce and herbs.

    There are photos on my myfolia page: http://myfolia.com/planting/2497/journal

  11. oh gayla, i adore this shopping cart planter. this makes me think i should turn my bicycle basket into a mini garden to take with me where i go.

    i’ve been collecting wooden trunks and tool boxes to turn into planters. do you have any tips on what to do with the inside? do you suggest lining them with plastic? Do you then poke/drill holes for drainage in the bottom?

  12. Karyn: I considered the same but I regularly use my basket to hold stuff.

    Some wooden items will work without any sort of lining. You can also line with plastic sheeting, bags, landscaping fabric, burlap, coir, etc…

    I do make holes for drainage.

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