Saturday 3 November 2012


At the beginning of May I had an immediate challenge of finding containers and earth for all the seedlings I had successfully raised in April on a balcony and transferred to the terrace of the small house we had rented. Given my goal to only use recycled containers and earth that I could glean from wherever available I decided that I had to intensify keeping my eye out for what others had thrown out. The state of the Greek economy meant that everyone was skimping, saving and reusing whatever they could especially in the rural environment in which I was living.

Potential pots!

Over the last month I had realised that there were large bins put out in villages for just the sort of throwaways I was seeking. I had also noticed that, often at the top of precipitous drops, builder type rubbish was dumped at specific points at the roadside. My strategy therefore became to ensure that whenever I had to use the ten year old  car we had bought, to save on the high cost of car rental in Crete, for essential errands around the island I would keep an eye open for any recycling opportunities. A major factor working in my favour was that as all the preparations for the new tourist season got underway houses and gardens were being cleared up ready for the influx of visitors and thus lots of potential pots were being cleared out.

The great sawing the barrel in half trick!

Very early on I found an old wine barrel that had been thrown out with a load of builders rubble. Quite a few of the metal hoops were rusted and broken but otherwise it seemed intact. Somehow I managed to wrestle it into the back of the car and home in one piece.

Planting up courgettes and squashes

The next day I was able to wire up the barrel to replace the broken metal hoops and saw the barrel in half to make two good sized containers. Now the problem was to fill these half barrels with soil as quickly as possible and get it all damped down before the hot sun shrunk the wood away from my wire bands. This is where I fell back on collecting earth, from the original pile of topsoil washed down the hillside that I had used to raise my seedlings, in a series of what became known as "dirt runs".

Spoils from a rubbish tip raid!

As time went on I found I needed more containers for the growing collection of plants I was raising so, one quiet hot sunny afternoon, I went off to roadside tip I had only recently discovered and found an excellent haul of suitable/potential containers that has kept me going for months.