How To Make A Light Fixture Into A Recycled Green and Sustainable Strawberry or Vegetable Planter

Garden, Green Ideas — By on June 9, 2011 7:29 pm

UPDATE on 7-29-11: Another update – after a count mid-July we have had 22 strawberries on the plants. The problem – I have only been able to taste this one because the chipmunks keep eating them. They are a success. Hooray!

UPDATE: The strawberries are growing and looking like SUCCESS! WOOT! Here’s the latest photo. You can see below the baby strawberries are being born. HOORAY!:

Recycled Strawberry Planter Growing Strong!

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Shawna Coronado's sustainable strawberry planters built from old light fixtures

Entering the Corona’s Strawberry Field project contest has been fun; I have built a strawberry planter to grow a strawberry plant sustainably in a small space (see photo above – a weeks growth of strawberry). This planter could easily be used for plants other than strawberries.

HOW TO BUILD THE PLANTER: (watch the video above for further detail as Katie, my assistant, and I build the project):

  1. Painting the light fixture after it's been primed.Find an old used bathroom light fixture and take off all the wires attached to it.
  2. Lay the light fixture flat. Using a no or low VOC paint, paint the fixture with a primer coat, then a top coat. Aubergine (red-purple) is the perfect color to go with my lawn furniture (see photo at right).
  3. Find several old light fixture glass shades which will fit loosely on top of the light fixture light bulb screw. Light fixtures and glass shades were rescued from the Habitat for Humanity Restore Outlet for less than $5.00 total. (Reusing old things and making them new = priceless.)
  4. Once the paint has dried, place the glass shades upside down on the light bulb screws. Fill with soil. I used Organic Mechanics Soil for this project because it has no chemicals in it and has worm castings – a great organic nutritional benefit for the plants.
  5. Plant with strawberry starts, utilize an organic fertilizer, water well, and wait patiently for growth (see the freshly planted strawberries in the photo below).


Light fixture strawberry planter when first planted.


Attending the Garden2Blog event with P. Allen Smith and his team was wonderful – a benefit of that experience is I was qualified to enter a special strawberry growing project to encourage sustainable and natural food production among home gardeners.

The goal of Corona’s Strawberry Field project is to demonstrate to everyone that even in the smallest of spaces, we can all make a difference by growing fresh, nutritious and organic food. Each participant received a package of 3 bare-root strawberry plants from Stark Bros. and a Corona trowel.

Corona will judge contestants on 3 categories;

  • Creativity– planting method that maximizes space
  • Production– planting method that yields the greatest number of berries
  • Comments – the greatest number of comments and questions generated

The Winning Field

The “strawberry field” with the highest combined score will win a personalized iPad 2 and be featured on the Corona Tools website for promoting change even in the smallest of spaces. If I win the contest I want to use the iPad2 as a portable presentation device. I can make presentations to area gardeners live on location so they can see how they can improve their neighborhoods and use their abundance to help feed their communities.


Did you spot the gnome for the Gnome Search and Find?

*Note – Because the FTC requires it, I am noting that P. Allen Smith and his amazing team paid for the Garden2Blog experience for all attendees. Each participant of the Corona Strawberry Field project received a package of 3 bare-root strawberry plants from Stark Bros. and a Corona trowel to demonstrate how we would be planting the plants. Also, Organic Mechanics Soil sponsored the soil used for this project.

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  1. I hope you win the contest, Shawna! Your work is invaluable and I know you would make good use of the iPad2. Also, I have the same garden gnome!

  2. I love this! Really rad idea.

  3. Thanks for leaving comments – it's so appreciated!!!

    Chris – the garden gnome is from Costco! Love him!


  4. What a creative idea!!! I love it. Thanks for all you do Shawna.

  5. Josette Cook says:

    What an awesome idea!!!! YAY!

  6. Debbie R. says:

    You got the fixtures at a Habitat for Humanity resale store? I had no idea they had any! COOL!!

  7. chloe says:

    My IPad is so useful in showing clients my work and in working on the run. I hope you win, Shawna! Love the Strawberry Planter! Esp. the paint color!

  8. Tom Barrett says:

    cool idea and a great kids project. WIll have to get over the ReStore to see what I can find.

    Good luck!

  9. Maj says:

    Great idea!!!

  10. April Mayes says:

    Nice work! Hope you win the contest!

  11. Heidi says:

    Always love the cute & green ideas, Shawna. Keep 'em comin'!

  12. Delphyne says:

    Terrific idea, Shawna! Good luck in winning the iPad!

  13. Such a great use! I love recycling items in the garden! Looks great Shawna!

  14. Shawn Stahmer says:

    A double win – recycling and helping Habitat for Humanity at the same time. Wonderfully creative idea. Best of luck in the contest.

  15. Every time we're in Asheville, we go to the Habitat store…no point in buying new if we can take some of what's already out there in the world. Good luck with your contest–I know you reach so many people every day with your message.

  16. EXCELLENT reuse, Shawna. My son-in-love is in commercial realty in D.C. and bet they could donate fixtures when they rehab offices…..just gotta find someone up there who could use it! Thanks for sharing your crafty recycling side with us! c:

  17. Anonymous says:

    Great idea! I LOVE strawberries!!! Thanks Shawna!

  18. Anonymous says:

    Not doing strawberrys .However love the artistic value !Definetly going to do this in red paint and planting herbs!Fantastic info on Habitat restore.Shared passion for the Corona digger…. the only one “himself”cant break!-Thank you for all the informative info!-charlee

  19. Great idea! But, if I don't have a Rebuild near me, is there another place where I can find cheap lamp shades to reuse? Also, I have this old toilet, do you think I could use that in my garden?

  20. Linda says:

    Thanks for sharing great idea and all the best to you, Shawna.

  21. Jamie says:

    Brilliant, as usual!!!

  22. Zena Weist says:

    Phenom idea! thNks for sharing and good luck with the contest!

  23. Mike says:

    Sweet! I'm not short on space, yet I can envision stacked decreasing size shades too. Very cool project Shawna. Rabbi, someday I intend to plant up a toilet bowl. Long story but, it will be a tribute to a dear old friend. Thinking the tank could be planted too, or maybe used to drip water into the planted bowl without too much effort…

  24. Anonymous says:

    That is really cool.

  25. Rabbi – Most of the resale shops in my area also resale furniture. Garage sales work as well – - try them all!!!

    Best of luck!


  26. Simply Deb says:

    What a great idea! I am looking for recyclable things to pot stuff in right now. I have a friend who is giving me drywall mud buckets, which I have to paint (apartment complex rules) to dress up to grow things on my patio.

  27. Terry Reader says:

    Excellent idea as always Shawna. Your head must be a veritable treasure trove of money/ planet saving ideas :)

  28. Anonymous says:

    Is the bottom sealed tight? I want to do this too!

    Love the purple – you go girl!!


  29. Teresa –

    No, the bottom of the light shades are not sealed – you'll need to let water drain or the little strawberries will drown.

    Terry – THANK YOU! Call me eccentric or call me creative – - I see the world in a different way. A FUN way!!


  30. Very original idea! Since I read your blog I'm trying to imagine plants in every empty object I see around the house. I have yet to find one and try it, but seeing potential in a few unused objects. Thanks for all the great work you do!

  31. Adam Lazar says:

    What a great idea!

  32. Noeleen says:

    Great idea! I kill just about any plant that comes my way, but I love strawberries! Perhaps I'll take on this project! As always- thanks for the inspiration, Shawna!

  33. Anonymous says:

    This is a really cool idea!

  34. Kate says:

    I absolutely loved the idea Shawna, and it was super easy to do. =)

  35. Anonymous says:

    Wow, nice idea..Does it work with other plants?? I am thinking baby roses or creeping jenny??

  36. Perfect for Creeping Jenny or other ground covers. Sedum, for instance, would flow over the side and look adorable in the containers.

    Give it a try and let me know how it goes!


  37. Kim Moncrief says:

    Great Idea!

  38. Anonymous says:

    That is such a cool idea! And pretty too!

  39. Anonymous says:

    Another great idea from a master gardener!!!!
    Way to go Shawna!!

  40. Kelsey Connors says:


  41. Katie♥ says:

    LOVE the idea shawna keep up the good work

  42. Katie♥ says:

    love the idea shawna

  43. Great idea! Strawberry light fixtures forever!

  44. Ty Mellon says:

    Great idea, Shawna! We @FOOGS.ORG support and encourage you by sharing your great ideas with our members!

  45. TheUniversal says:

    This is a great idea.
    Lots of things would work I imagine, but light fixtures is one I hadn't thought of.

    Good thinkin!

  46. MColleen says:

    What a great idea!! I love ease of this project, and the natural look. Hope you win the contest!!

  47. we have a whole garden space for strawberries, but I could see where apartment dwellers–especially those out of reach of the chipmunks!–could use this method to have enough strawberries for their own cereal bowls. Well done.

  48. Tom Weigand says:

    Truly an amazing project.You should easily win, as with any project you get involved in,you throw your heart and soul in to it. This is a great idea and extremely functional, as it is reuseable and portable.”Strawberry Planters,Forever”

  49. Kate says:

    Horray for baby strawberries!!

  50. Deb Hartwig says:

    Love this IDEA! Goes great with the wine bottles path also! Thanks for all your beautiful money saving and green ideas!

  51. Gene's View says:

    I planted strawberries as a border around my shed and around my spruce trees. About 2 feet deep by 20-30 feet long. I throw a bird net over them in the Spring when they are producing berries to keep the birds and chipmunks out.

  52. David Spain says:

    Bright idea Shawna, you rock!

  53. Julie K says:

    This is fantastic. I will be going to Restore today! Love the idea of recycling and you make it fun for everyone Thanks

  54. hipchick62 says:

    I'm always looking for ways to 're-use' – this is ideal! I'm looking forward to making one soon :) Good luck in the contest!

  55. Those are great ideas. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. It was great reading your post. I learned so many things.

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