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Tips and Tricks: Using Plastic and Other Material for Gardening

I’ve been trying to find new ways to plant seeds lately. I have bad luck with growing plants. To say I lack a green thumb is an understatement. I’ve killed cacti! Last year, I thought I would try to grow blueberry and strawberry seeds so that I would have berries and not have to worry about buying them in the grocery store. Great in theory, and while they did germinate, they eventually stopped growing and died.

So this year, I’m going to try again, but using a different approach. While on Pinterest, I came across these interesting ideas to create your own “green house” using plastic and other items that might have otherwise been thrown out.

1.In this greenhouse version, you’re using prettying much the whole bottle. All you have to do is take off the label (use hot water or peanut butter if you need help to take it off). Then cut the bottom off the bottle. Once your plant is in the ground, you can simply place the bottle over the seedling. Once the seedling grows too tall, all you have to do is remove the cap and let it grow out (good way to stabilize the plant as well).

2. I often have old boxes and cardboard tubes and plastic lids hanging around. I’ll usually throw it out (recycle where possible), but here’s another cool greenhouse version you can easily do. First cut up the cardboard tubes into little rings. You’ll be planting your seeds inside there. Tip: boxes that come with dividers already inside are perfect! Again, when the seedlings are too big you can always take the lid off but the lid on will help keep them moist at all times. Simply add the soil, place the rings into the dirt, plant the seeds and then watch them grow. When they’re ready, dig up the rings and you can transfer into your garden outside.

3. The next isn’t using plastic but newspaper to create the little rings to plant the seeds in so that you can later just transfer straight into the ground. With this one, you’d need a can (a can of soup is fine) so that you can mold the newspaper around it. Just fold the edges around and tape in place. Make sure you keep one opening open so that when you close off the bottom, you can slip the can out easily. What you’re left with is a paper tube. You can then fill with soil and plant your seeds.

4. What appeals the most is this self watering container so that if you forget (like me), then it’s already taken care of to a point. You can probably create a hybrid as well using a second bottle to create the greenhouse effect. What you need is a two or three liter bottle. First step involves drilling holes into the cap of your bottle for drainage and so that you can slip a cotton string through. This string is important because it’ll draw water up into the soil. What the person from the site did was make one large hole in the middle for the string then eight smaller ones around that big one for the drainage. Smart! Cut the bottle in half and invert the top half within the bottom. You don’t want the cap to touch the bottom because if you do, then the string won’t do it’s job properly and algae can grow. Next fold the paper inside, making sure to poke holes so that you can put the string through the paper and through the cap. Add the soil and plant the seeds. Make sure you have some water in the bottom portion of the bottle, just enough that the string dangles in it. For more detailed instructions go here.

TIPS I’ve found on the net:

1. Next time you boil eggs, use the water for your plants. The water becomes enriched with calcium when the eggs are cooked.
2. Put Epsom salts and sugar into each hole with your plant.  It makes them grow larger, leafier and greener.
3. How to store fresh produce

 

Tricks and Tips– Empty Plastic Bottles

These days, we use so much plastic and then once we’re done, what do we do with it? Recycle? Yes if it’s possible but in some places you can’t so it ends up in the landfill with the rest of the garbage.

So what then?

How use it to dispense pancake mixture? I found this tip at Real Simple and I really think it’s smart! Simply wash out the old ketchup bottle and fill it with the pancake mixture. Not only does it reduce the mess of spooning the mixture into the pan, you can create a big batch and then keep it in the fridge to use the next day (I used my Google-fu and apparently pancake batter can last well up to a week in the fridge. It may get a bit discoloured but it’ll be fine. If it gets too thick, just add a bit more milk). It’s a quick and easy way to get breakfast in if you don’t have enough time to mix it all up right then. You can mix it up the night before, put in the fridge and then you’re good to go for the next morning!

This next tip is my favourite though. I haven’t tried it but I fully intend to because I think it’s an awesome idea and very versatile. All you need is a water bottle. From Apartment Therapy, this tip allows you to seal a bag and still have easy access to the contents. Yes, in a perfect world we wouldn’t use plastic, but let’s face it, that’s not reality and this can be a simple solution. All you have to do is cut the bottle around the neck of it. Slip it over the plastic, pull the plastic bag through the neck and over the edge and then cap it.  Easy peasy. You now have a bag you can reseal.

Do you have other tips when dealing with plastic?