If you don’t have an outdoor space for planting and repotting, this simple find makes it possible to garden indoors without making a mess.

By Lauren Phillips
Updated October 26, 2018
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Home Depot

With the rise of potted plants and indoor or window gardens, inhabitants of small spaces across the globe are discovering (or re-discovering) the joys of filling a home with green life. For the most part, gardening indoors is very similar to gardening outdoors, just on a smaller scale—though there is one big difference: the mess.

If you’re gardening outdoors, dirt from repotting or planting can easily be brushed aside or left where it falls (if you’re working in a garden bed, for example). But if you’re indoors, a fallen clump of dirt can quickly become a cleaning disaster, especially if you’re watering your plants, as well.

You can work with your plants in a sink, bathtub, or shower, of course, but the dirt issue is still there—you’ll just be wiping it off your porcelain instead of your floor. Fortunately for all budding indoor gardeners, Ryan Benoit and Chantal Aida Gordon(the minds behind gardening blog The Horticult and new book How to Window Box)have a simple fix: a mixing tub.

“If you’re gardening indoors, it contains the mess. It kind of acts like your potting bench,” Gordon said. You can plant, repot, water, trim, and accomplish whatever else your plants require within the tub, then easily return your planters to their spots, dump any dirt or leaves that have fallen, and tuck the tub away until next time.

You can pick up a basic mixing tub—which Benoit calls “really useful” and Gordon calls “a good practical thing to have”—for $5.75 from Home Depot, or find similar items at other hardware stores.

These tubs are often used for mixing concrete, but they’re incredibly versatile, plus lightweight, flexible, and large enough to hold all your tools when you’re not actively working with your plants. You could even use one as a large planter (perhaps for an herb garden or blooms), if you’re so inclined.