Backyard Planters for Spring

When I picked up this sad clearance shelf sweet potato vine last fall, I wouldn’t have bet on it surviving the month, let alone the season. So what I did I do? I took that root bound plant and chopped it into three. Because I’m cheap, and three sad sweet potato vines for $2 sounded a whole lot better than one. Here’s one of the planters this spring.

sweet potato vine

Rock on, sweet potato. Looks like $2 well spent, especially since my goal for transforming our dilapidated overgrown suburban jungle (aka backyard) was zeroscaping. As in I wanted to spend ZERO dollars on yard improvements. The giant palmetto bush in the back was uncovered by clearing out the five foot tall weeds. The pinkish ti plant (and its eighty seven brothers) was relocated from the side of the house. The croton in the foreground was memorialized from my grandfather’s funeral arrangement.

Come spring and the miraculously thriving sweet potato vine inspired me to look for ways to add more color and texture to the backyard. I went to the nursery looking for thrill and fill to add to my sweet potato spill–the trifecta formula for gorgeous containers. (Or so I’ve been told. My containers usually look like “thirsty” and “worse.”) I came home with some 97 cent annuals in yellow and purple. At least this way when they die a slow humid death mid-summer, I won’t regret dipping into the college fund.

To plant, we first added some dirty rocks to the bottom of the pot.

container garden

I pretend these are for improving drainage, but really they are the mistake I call “trying to get rid of the moldy rock mulch in the front beds.” Tip: you can never get rid of rock mulch. It just burrows deeper. It’s like freaking quicksand unto itself. I dug up a few buckets full before giving up and covering the beds with wet cardboard and pine mulch. Relocating those buckets into these containers just meant I didn’t have to figure out how to throw them away.

mulch planter filler

Then, we added mulch mulch as filler. It is way cheaper than soil and will make the pots much lighter. (I know I will end up dragging them around the yard a few dozen times before finding the perfect spots.)

sweet potato container

We added our plants and some soil, then repeated the entire process times the two remaining containers.


Color? Check. Texture? Check. Remembering to water… wish me luck.



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