My partner is really into computers; I enjoy making things and have recently started gardening; so I thought "why not combine both our interests and upcycle some old IT equipment into something a bit different for the garden?"
This is the result. So far I've made two planters for our computer-themed garden area - one is a dwarf apple, the other is a patio apricot. Soon they'll be joined by an acer as well, and possibly a raspberry
Step 1: Gather Your Stuff!
Track down an old CRT monitor. The screen can be scratched, cracked, whatever - the important bit you need is the case. The bigger the better, although the size depends on what you want to grow in your new planter.
Once you've got your monitor, you'll need:
- a few basic tools
- pliers (maybe)
I also used:
- copper tape (to help deter slugs)
- pot feet
Step 2: Get Dismantling
Put your gloves on, grab a screwdriver and unscrew the monitor casing. Some are partly held together with plastic lugs that lock into another part of the casing - you'll just have to explore until you get the thing open.
Then, carefully, start unscrewing anything on the inside that holds the screen and electronics in place. Cut wires if you need to. Just be careful of breaking any glass, or any shocks from components that haven't been discharged.
Eventually you'll have cleared everything out, leaving just the plastic (and maybe metal) parts of the casing. I left the buttons and stand as well.
Dispose of the internal workings according to local regulations. Recycle where possible!
Step 3: Prepare for Planting
If using copper tape to prevent slugs and snails from eating your new plants, now is a great time to stick it around the outside of the monitor.
Cut a piece of landscaping fabric so that it completely fits inside the casing. The fabric is to stop the compost falling through the ventilation/drainage holes, so arrange the fabric so that it fits into all the corners and there are no gaps.
I took the front bezel off the monitor, lined the casing, then put the bezel back on to clamp the fabric in place. If there's any fabric hanging over the edge, trim it off once everything is planted.
Put some stones or broken clay pots in the bottom of the planter to help with drainage.
Step 4: Get Your Green Fingers Ready!
Now's the time for compost and plants!
I half-filled the monitor, making sure compost filled all the corners, and then used the new plant to gauge how much more compost to add so that the top of the rootball would be at the right level when planted.
Then I removed the plant from the pot it arrived in, teased out the roots a bit, positioned the plant, and filled in the rest of the planter with compost. I also added some fertiliser. Press the top of the compost down firmly.
Step 5: And Finally...
Move the planter to wherever you plan to keep it.
If the base of the planter is curved, use some pot feet to stabilise it. You can get these easily from garden centres for not a lot of money. They also help water drain from the planter.
Once in position, water your planter thoroughly.
If the compost settles a bit after a week or two, top it up.
Add gravel, mulch, or decorative items to the surface of the compost if you want, and wait for your plants to grow happily in their new home!