DIY 2 Liter Bottle Greenhouse
Have you ever had trouble starting seeds in the spring or fall or maybe in the middle of winter if your crazy like me. Well I know I have and I have been searching for a long time for effective seed starting methods that don't involve purchasing something custom made for the job. Items like the Jiffy Greenhouse or the Hydrofarm Germination Station are wonderful tools but they don't provide the versatility I like. These days when I purchase a product I find myself thinking how many different ways can I use this before I throw it away or recycle it. In this quest to find as many uses for products as I can I find myself becoming a bit of a hoarder. I kept cereal box's, plastic bags, yogurt cups, tin cans, milk jugs, two liters bottles and the list kinda goes on from there. Needless to say my apartment at the time got a bit crowded with these items. But in all that clutter I found my imagination just ripe with ideas on how to reuse all those items.
For the sake of this post I am going to focus in on the humble two liter pop bottle. Over the past couple years I have found a few key uses for those bottles that I find particular useful. My first thought was of course fill them with water for water storage. But that was too simple to elementary for my liking so I tried them and milk jugs as dumbbells. While the two liters were only four lbs and milk jugs eight lbs that added up with repetition especially when holding them up and away from your body while playing DDR (Dance Dance Revolution) at the same time. Those songs may only be one and half minutes long but that is a great workout for this out of shape couch potato. After a while I abandoned that idea because they were proving to be to cumbersome and hard to hold.
The next thing I did was use the two liters as ice packs. They work great for coolers and can be frozen and thawed with ease. I also attempted to use them as air conditioning units in a homemade air condition.
My latest use of the two liter bottle is as a single cell greenhouse for growing seedlings to place in my Topsy Turvey Planter. I am using these bottles as mini greenhouses and they are very successful so far. I am currently growing one cherry tomato,
two green pepper plants, cilantro and basil to be placed in the Topsy Turvey planter when they are large enough. It is my hope that this system will give me some fresh vegetables to enjoy over the winter months that haven't been shipped from the southern part of the US or even another country. The amount of fossil fuel energy that goes into growing food these days is astonishing enough without including the transportation energy. I do realize that the Topsy Turvey system will not provide me with enough to make a dent in my food requirements but it is a step in the right direction I feel plus I love a good experiment.
Now to make these bottle greenhouses is fairly easy.
1. Obtain empty two liter bottle of pop
2. Rinse out and remove label
3. Cut bottle in half using a sharp knife or scissors
4. Fill bottom half of bottle with desired potting
5. Wet the soil using either gently poured water or spray bottle
6. Insert desired seed into the center of the bottle to the indicated depth on seed packet.
7. Press soil firmly around seed in insure good seed soil contact
8. Cut 2-3 inch vertical slit in bottom of the top half of bottle
9. Place top half over the bottom half of bottle
10. Place bottle with screw on cap removed in either sun or darkness depending on what you are growing.
11. Wait patiently for something to grow.
I have currently only used this technique to start tomato, peppers and herbs but I would imagine it would work equally well for many other types of plants that you want large seedlings.
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