Recycling Plastic Bottles into Mini Greenhouses and Planting Pots
written by: J.C. Wilkinson•edited by: Niki Fears•updated: 7/26/2010
Plastic Bottles have a myriad of uses in your home and your garden. Recycling plastic bottles for your gardening is a good way to reduce your carbon footprint.
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More manufacturers are using plastic to bottle their products. From juices to water, consumers buy and recycle millions of these plastic bottles every year. Recycling plastic bottles into something useful is easy, and will keep them out of our landfills.
If you are a gardener, recycling plastic bottles into mini greenhouses and containers is simple. These bottles have a myriad of uses.
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Recycling Plastic Bottles into Mini Greenhouses for Cuttings
It is very simple to recycle a water, juice or soda bottle into a mini greenhouse. These mini greenhouses can be used to start cuttings, protect an ailing plant, or to start seeds. African violet growers love using small water bottles as mini greenhouses to start leaf cuttings.
First, you will have to find a bottle that fits over the container you want to enclose in a greenhouse environment.
Cut the bottom off of the bottle with sharp scissors or a razor knife. Then, simply invert the bottle over your cutting. Your soil should be moist, but not wet.
You should be able to see through your plastic bottle at all times. If your bottle clouds up to a point where you can't see what's inside, you should remove the bottle and let the soil dry out a little before replacing it.
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Recycling Plastic Bottles for Starting Seeds
Seeds need constant moisture to germinate properly. Using the same method as above, you can recycle plastic bottles to keep the soil moist while seeds germinate.
Again, be careful that your bottle doesn't fog up. It's best to remove the bottle for a short time every day, so mold doesn't grow on the soil.
Once the seedling has emerged, it's even more important that you do not let the bottle stay fogged up, as this can cause "damping off", which simply means that the atmosphere around the seedling is too humid, causing fungus to destroy the seedling
Once the seedling has one set of true leaves, you should remove the plastic bottle and allow it to grow on its own.
Warning: You should never place plants under plastic bottle greenhouses in full sun, as the heat buildup inside the bottle will cook the plants. If you don't have a shady place for your mini greenhouse, take the top off of the bottle to allow heat to escape.
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Recycling Plastic Bottles Into Plant Pots
If looks are not an issue, you can easily recycle a plastic bottle as a plant pot. You will need to punch drainage holes in the bottom. Then simply draw a line with a marker around the plastic bottle to show how deep you want your pot to be, and cut to the desired size.
A small warning: The cut plastic bottle tops will be ragged and sharp, so you may want to cover the edges with duct tape if you will be picking it up from the top.
Two litre plastic soda bottles are very good for starting cuttings of shrubs and trees, because they are deep, and allow the plant roots to grow down rather than out. Clear plastic bottles have the added benefit of allowing you to see when the container is filled with roots, so that you can transplant it to a larger container.
These are just three methods of recycling plastic bottles in your house and garden. With a little thought and imagination, you can find many other ways of recycling plastic bottles to keep them out of our landfills.
Recycling and Reusing Household Trash for Your Garden
There are so many things you can use in your garden instead of adding to the landfills. Plastic bottles, yogurt containers, popsicle sticks, vinyl mini blinds, newspapers and cardboard are just a few. Come read and find ways to recycle and reuse instead of discarding useful items.