Juice Box Container Garden

container gardening picture of juice box container garden filled with pansies
Photo © Kerry Michaels

We live out in the Philippines and these plastic drink containers can pretty much be found all over the place disguarded and dumped. The idea of reusing them for not only container gardening as seen in the photo but also even for transportation as “watering pots”. Makes a lot of sense as well as gets rid of disregarded plastics, making them more useful and recycled. But also even if a flower vendor you could just stick these under a flower display to keep the flowers watered while awaiting customers. Great idea!


Make Your Own Wind Turbine

Ted Baer has created a series of small windmills designed for third world use over a period of three decades. This first in the series has evolved in simplicity and power. The aluminium vanes are constructed from a building flashing roll utilizing the pre-existing bend of the roll in construction. Two 16 " sections are rivet together to make one vane. The vanes clip on the spokes of the bicycle wheel using a "bent nail" and a bend in the vane. Detailed pictures will be provided shortly. The generator is a surplus permanent magnet motor and the endless belting is purchased to length from online sources.

Output is a respectable 2 amps at 12 mph providing a cost effective alternative to a solar photovoltaic panels (if wind is available). The total cost of the windmill is less than $80 purchasing most items new (off-the-shelf).

Now the interesting thing here is that not only are there enough details on how to build the wind turbine but also its simple enough for most people to follow. The parts list also fits into use for developing nations and not only off grid living for shipping container homes and buildings. I am tempted to build one here but need to do a wind test to see if I have enough airflow to justify the construction (as I will need to place it on my water tower for it to work). At the same time this wind turbine is a good starting point for many people due to its low cost (free if you can salvage bits from places) to assess its viability for bigger projects and also to get a better understanding of how wind turbines work. I could imagine a similar turbine setup being used for pumping water from wells for example which for most in the Western world isn’t an issue but here in the Philippines I still see people wandering along the road to collect water every day the further you get up the mountain.

Indoor Hydroponics – McMurdo Ice Station Antarctica

Indoor Hydroponics - McMurdo Ice Station Antarctica

Activity on the Shipping containers is a bit slow right now so decided to start looking at other containers that are relevant. This one for example is relevant in two ways as its part of green living as well as housed in a container. For which I am going to start looking to add in more green fingered activities on the blog as well to help expand things out a bit from construction and design of shipping containers into a broad way of container living.

This is the McMurdo Ice Station in Antarctica which is a science and support facility. Everything that is going into the South Pole will pass through McMurdo making it a bit of a mailbox for the most remotest place on the planet. During peak season you will find around 1500 but when the skies turn dark its left with a skeleton staff of support crew and engineers.

Indoor Hydroponics - McMurdo Ice Station Antarctica

What has all this got to do with Hydroponics your probably wondering, well in that container building under a rather white sky you will find a lot of plant life in one of the harshest living condition environments in the world. It all began with someone wanting fresh food over tinned and frozen goods. Initially seeking to start with tomatoes wasn’t long until a pilot was bringing in seeds and a small idea became a big reality. Ok may not seem so big here! but if your used to living on tinned and frozen food having some fresh produce makes a huge difference in life when away for months without it.

Indoor Hydroponics - McMurdo Ice Station Antarctica

Add to that though  the bleak surroundings and the dry environment of the Antarctic the hydroponics garden doesn’t just become a food source but a place of life and an injection of light as well as humidifiers giving a more “at home in the garden” feel. It no so surprise that people would want to spend spare time in there with months of living in the Antarctic.

Indoor Hydroponics - McMurdo Ice Station Antarctica

The interesting thing here though is to add most of what you see is more like a scrapheap challenge than some scientific adventure. Reason being is bringing stuff to the remote station is often expensive and infrequent. Budgets may be allowed for projects on going but not for the vegetables for your plate. Everything has been pretty much been salvaged where possible but lucky they have the right people in the right place to pull it off. A hot bed of grey matter working away to get it up and running. No scientific experiment going on just people who love good food and willing to put a bit of effort in to make it happen.

Indoor Hydroponics - McMurdo Ice Station Antarctica

Photo credits owner unknown.

The Shipping Container Excess Only Blessing Out Of The Economic Collapse Of The West?

I think the shipping container is an odd beast when it comes to the excess the West has had on imports from the East at the same time not only is it part of the problem stacked up in ports as a symbol of excess but also its part of the solution if developed into housing because it takes a minimalist concept for most home developers.

In reality we see the collapse of economies riddled with debt right now yet the solution always comes back to “stop spending!” there is no easy fix. Shipping container homes are a home you can’t clutter up with a TV in every room as often you only have one room. You don’t buy new furniture every year as generally you find things that suit “you” not the fashion trends and just generally the shipping container home pushes the fact we are living in a world of excess that we really don’t need.

When I am working in the UK I literally have two bags with me which is my work gear, laptop and casual clothes pretty much that’s it besides the vehicle I use. I live for up to 8 months of the year like that I don’t starve, I don’t run out of things to do but what happens is I am surprisingly mobile and have a lot of excess income because I don’t buy things I don’t need.

It was living like this that put me into minimal living and the shipping container homes as simply its achievable not only for me but many other people who know how to use the environment around them. Sitting out gazing at the stars instead of sat in the house watching a soap opera. Spending time dining out with friends instead of eating a microwave meal in the kitchen.

I personally think the excess shipping containers that are now starting to dwindle away in areas due to the rise of container housing and other uses as well as reduced surplus is a good thing long term if people start changing their habits. As a child I remember one TV in the house and generally I spent a lot of time with my family, as I grew older though I spent my time in my bedroom, my brothers in theirs, my sister in hers and my parents in the sitting room. If anything the excess of current living has divided the family and its about time things started to function again as a family unit and I am sure shipping container home families are no doubt happier than many others out there in normal homes purely because of the way they choose to live outside the box and not be driven by consumerism and do take the time to spend life in the outdoors as well as an affordable home.

Shipping Container Homes A Real Home!

The dispute over shipping containers being too small to live in comes up regularly but I think its more a case of what people have become used to. TV always shows the big homes as normal in every show as nobody seems to live in apartments anymore just 4 – 5 bedroom houses on their own. I sit and look at things and wonder why? because I can see big spaces that just need heating,cooling,cleaning but more importantly it seems many people are living in a museum due to the scale of the homes.

Nothing wrong with a family home just that there should be a family in it, shipping container homes due to modular states can be up scaled as needed meaning the studio flat 2 x 20ft containers is ideal for a student while the 6 x 40ft is ideal for the family of 4. Thing is if you bought the land as a student and lived in the smaller unit you could probably incorporate the small 2 x 20ft unit into the rest of the home as you expanded.

The reason I find shipping container homes real ones is that sense is they are built for peoples needs rather than consumerism telling us what we need.

A shipping container home is designed around us with its modular form allowing us to create a space that reflects us in every part of it. Giving a unique environment we can call home.

Les Grandes Tables of Seguin Island


Les Grandes Tables of Seguin Island makes a very bold statement with its timber framing and glass structure. Its framing of suspended scaffolding around shipping containers gives it a rather interesting look. Located in the middle of a seasonal garden the 1000 sqft restaurant also containers a large agricultural green house that produces fresh vegetables as well as exotic plants.

The natural ventilation helps keep the building cool while the emense glass structure allows visitors to view the gardens throughout. Another additional interesting function is the transparent roof opens up in good weather to infuse the building with fresh air.

The Seguin Island was abandoned by auto maker Renault nearly 20 years ago and has been needing revitalising for some time. The arrival of the 120 seat restaurant not only improved what had become a blight on the landscape but also offers a viable function venue for weddings, meetings and other celebrations, also expect quality regional cuisine prepared by French chef, Arnaud Daguin.



Sea-Can Shipping Container Home–Canada


Sea-Can Home

A bit of a monster shipping container house this construction project is rapidly coming to completion in Canada. Offering off grid living due to solar heating,solar/wind electric and homestead farming. The owners of the home are Bill and Rosanne Glennon, constructing a huge 5000sqft retirement home.

Sea-Can Home is using 30 recycled containers as well as only two stories visually above the plains making this a very low impact large home in Canada.

Sea-Can HomeSea-Can Home

Large central garage surrounding by three high shipping container walls.

5 Bedroom home, complete with large sitting room. Once finished no doubt the envy of the neighbours.

5 Bedroom home, complete with large sitting room. Once finished no doubt the envy of the neighbours.

Shipping container stacked on its end isn’t a statement of versatility of shipping container architecture but is actually a lift shaft for access to the multiple levels in the building.

Shipping container stacked on its end isn’t a statement of versatility of shipping container architecture but is actually a lift shaft for access to the multiple levels in the building.

shipping container home

The lower level is going to be consealed with the upper levels being insulated and stucco finished making the home blend into its surroundings to almost looking like a normally constructed home.

Insulated roof to R80 will also leave a space for a solar heating system to be adapted for the home.

Insulated roof to R80 will also leave a space for a solar heating system to be adapted for the home. With such a large space available a solar array and wind turbine will also be added for the electrical needs of the property.

Shipping Container Pop Up Mall In New Zealand

Shipping Container Pop Up Mall In New Zealand

City Mall in Christchurch, New Zealand has come up with a quick construction project after New Zealand’s earthquakes earlier this year. This pretty much put the central area of the city off limits except for demolition work. The shipping containers have been converted into two clusters of 25 shops with 2 cafe’s hoping to get the city centre back to life and the centre of the community. Maybe a thing we are going to see more and more with the reduced costs of construction of shipping container buildings as well as the earthquake resistant designs.

Military Veteran Living In A Shipping Container

Military Veteran Living In A Shipping Container

Not our usual typical shipping container home but the residence of Claude Lord a former Canadian Forces soldier. The image and story about Claude came to light in a Montreal newspaper because of the issues of Claude getting his military pension that he is entitled to. It was the involvement of a local businessman that helped Claude back onto his feet although today he is still far from life changing except for the ability to collect his $1,200 cheque every month. Veterans Affairs Canada and social workers regularly meet Claude as they try to assist him into finding a normal residence as although I personally am into shipping container housing this isn’t exactly the situation I would ever want to find someone in. The neighbourhood where the container resides has working prostitutes, thieves and also the container itself isn’t insulated and after 7 years nearly all of them in the container Claude has decided to call it a day and find a more appropriate home.

The interesting part of the story though is that Scully someone who works near the container helped Claude work through six months of paperwork to get access to the pension including going to appoints and meetings across town. Scully’s main concern that now all the paperwork side is done and Claude is on the way to an improved life what about other veterans who are in the same situation saying “"Does a homeless person have a Day timer (for keeping track of appointments)? Does he have an alarm clock? Does he have electricity? Does he have a telephone? Does he have bus fare? Is he hung over at 8 o’clock in the morning?”

Claude was discharged from the army in 1979 but wasn’t eligible at the time for a pension due to only serving four and a half years with the First Field Engineers at CFB Valcartier, Que. Scully discovered the requirements had changed though some time ago and this was how helping Claude get his pension came about. Claude suffers with post-traumatic-stress disorder that resulted from an explosion in 1977 which has left him with reoccurring nightmares every day of the events that day which seen two other soldiers killed and several wounded constantly replaying in his mind. He was still a young 19 year old back then and had been working on a bridge at the base when they heard a large explosion. They helped the injured cross the water including one person who had lost their arm.

"It was disgusting _ one of them didn’t have a head,” Lord recalled.

"The boat was full of blood. I’m sorry, but I wasn’t used to that sort of thing.”

The issues in Canada relating to the homeless sounds very similar to one in the UK where there is a huge amount of ex service personnel living rough often with mental issues caused by things they have seen during their service time. I just wish there was more highlighted about the problem to help people be able to help themselves as well as get the treatment many need.

Shipping Container Shop/Store Minglanilla,Cebu,Philippines

Shipping Container Shop/Store Minglanilla,Cebu,Philippines

Another shipping container building in Minglanilla. This one though is a car parts business supplying things like oil and batteries. As you can see though easily slid in off the main road and its neighbour is the Gaisano Mall.

Gaisano Grand Mall, Minglanilla,Cebu,Philippines

Giving it a great location for selling. A good example of a shipping container building being used as a store where they have kept the main doors to lock the unit up securely at night when the store is closed.