In this April 8, 2013 photo, these old hard-sided suitcases at the Ball Horticultural Co.'s field trials near Ventura, Calif., make an innovative plant bed idea for space-starved gardeners. They also can be moved from one location to another, even if it's just to follow the sun across a balcony or patio. Adaptable planters with wheels or handles can be inexpensive yet attractive and capable of being used indoors or out. (Dean Fosdick via AP)

In this April 8, 2013 photo, these old hard-sided suitcases at the Ball Horticultural Co.'s field trials near Ventura, Calif., make an innovative plant bed idea for space-starved gardeners. They also can be moved from one location to another, even if it's just to follow the sun across a balcony or patio. Adaptable planters with wheels or handles can be inexpensive yet attractive and capable of being used indoors or out. (Dean Fosdick via AP)

Gardeners on the move make their plants portable

People on the move often spurn gardening as a hobby because they have to leave their plants behind. But new innovations and creative ideas are making planters portable and easy to transfer from one location to another.

They store easily and work well for tight spaces, too. Adaptable and flexible planters with wheels, handles or other movable parts fit these needs, as do lightweight, durable products, said Susan McCoy, founded of Garden Media Group in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. Or think modular containers that fit together and come apart like LEGOs.

“They’re extremely versatile and can be used indoors or outdoors, individually or in multiples, on tabletops or hanging on a wall, and can be expanded as enthusiasm for gardening grows,” McCoy said.

The new products are aimed at “those who prize freedom over home ownership,” she said, including retirees and empty nesters as well as young people who haven’t settled down.

They “can barely commit to a single place, let alone a permanent plot of land,” McCoy said. “Portable gardening gives everyone a chance to grow something, no matter where you live. And it’s fun to see gardens pop up in the most unexpected places.”

Movable planters are excellent for raised beds, which make gardening more accessible, particularly for those who don’t like bending over or have physical limitations.

“We push grow bags as great for apartment living, as they store well and you can take them with you if you’re not in permanent housing,” said Maree Gaetani, a spokeswoman for Gardener’s Supply Co. in Burlington, Vermont.

Millennials in particular (those age 18 to 35) are showing interest in portable gardening, including on a roof, deck or patio, Gaetani said.

Many kinds of containers can be converted into portable planters, from wheelbarrows to milk cans to bushel baskets. Other examples? Hard-sided suitcases, little red wagons, coalscuttles, recycled shopping carts, discarded tricycles and bicycles. All can be moved cross-country, across town or simply shifted from one side of the patio to another to follow the sun.

Keep your eyes open and creative juices flowing when shopping for inexpensive items at craft shops, antique stores and yard sales.

Portable home gardens also can be carried indoors when the season turns cold or when threatening weather is forecast.

“We’re finding that across ages and incomes, people want to grow their own, even if they only have a small space and may be at a transient point in their lives,” Gaetani said. “This is where aging baby boomers and younger gardeners intersect.”

Online:

For more about gardens on the go, check this University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension fact sheet: https://extension.unh.edu/resources/files/Resource000866_Rep912.pdf

You can contact Dean Fosdick at deanfosdick@netscape.net

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