How can I reuse or recycle a wicker washing basket?

Over on the Suggest an Item page, Cate B asked:

I have an old ali baba wicker laundry basket that is unravelling itself after years of use. Do you think I could grow potatoes in it and would I have to line it to stop soil falling out?

If the wicker is made from natural fibres, I imagine that it would start to rot pretty quickly once it was filled with wet soil — I had a purpose-bought, plastic-lined wicker hanging basket a few years ago and that fell apart after two years max, in the garden – and that was designed to be outside and hold wet soil.

I probably wouldn’t be much more willing to use it if it was made from synthetic fibres either: plastic for outdoor use is treated to be resistant to UV rays, else it discolours & starts to break down – and I’m not sure I’d want plastic breaking down that close to my food.

On the flip side though, if you can grow your potatoes in something else, you could use the wicker basket for storing them – brush off any damp soil and leave them in the open to dry off excess surface moisture for a couple of hours, then they can be stored in the wicker basket in a cool, dry part of your house. The wicker will let excess moisture to escape unlike a solid container.

Has anyone tried growing potatoes in an old washing basket?

Or does anyone have any reusing or recycling ideas for one?

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4 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle a wicker washing basket?”

  1. Emily says:

    You can mend it if it’s got lose ends by using strong thread (or dental floss) to wrap round the edges that are unwinding.

    You’re best stopping using it as a clothes basket though once the sharp edges start to snag clothes it can get expensive.

    There’s no reason why you shouldn’t grow something in it, but I imagine it’ll not be strong for very long. A plastic liner might help and will certainly help the soil retain moisture. You could use it as a leaf collector in the garden though – hide it away in a corner and rake all your leaves into it.

    I’ve got an old one being used as a bin at the moment – its under a desk so isn’t fully on show!

  2. Alice says:

    It’d be good for storing onions too, letting the air circulate so they don’t rot.

  3. Petra says:

    Today I made a food dryer box from an old laundry basket. I put a lamp holder in the bottom for a 60 watt normal light bulb. I found two grill racks from old BBQs that fit inside. I covered it with a blanket and left a small part open for ventilation. It works very well. I already dried some apple parts, tomatoes and grapes.

  4. Medeea says:

    Why potatoes, of all things?
    I would use it as a decorative pot to grow a flower or plant, with some other vessel inside.

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