Growing plants in difficult conditions, using various containers
This is just wonderful!
I’m trying to be greener everyday and this falls into exactly what I’m willing to do to help our planet!
I’ll be back regularly and I’m looking forward to try some of those projects!
Lots of good information about container gardening.
Regarding the bottles on a wall as planters, this is just simply excellent, out of the box thinking.
There is a series of books on “square foot gardening”.
You could write “square inch gardening”
Or I kind of like “Upright Gardening by the Square Inch”
It has so many benefits, such as not having to stoop, being able to label plants, their key dates, etc.
Seriously, if you flesh out the many possibilities, this could be a major best seller, you could sell the hooks and things as a set.
A lot of people have wrote gardening books and go wealthy without the inventive genius in this system.
Do you hear the thunderous applause echoing in the ethers?
Great article! I’ve been using a similar method to this one. However not using the idea of putting the cone in the bottom! It is a great idea! I am looking forward to trying that! I agree that plants do tremendously well in plastic bottles verses the plastic pots sold in stores! Great ideas!
You’ve got a lot of great ideas here. I’ve just clicked on a few things, I’ll be sure to look around when I get the chance.
A few of us who live in the city of Chicago are trying to grow heirloom vegetables on our rooftops in cheap homemade earthboxes. In response to huge environmental problems, it’s a small but rewarding way to push back. Also, we think they’re a great way to build connections in a fragmented social/political landscape.
Here’s the Flickr link, along side the pics is a little how-to guide with plenty of relevant links.
Great article. I’ve posted a link to it at http://www.ourgreenpacific.com .
Are you familiar with the organization The Growing Connection?
“The Growing Connection (TGC) is a grassroots project developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) supported by a progressive coalition of private and public sector partners.”
They use, and promote, the official Earthbox in their projects.
Of course, I still think that making your own self-watering container is preferable to buying a commercial product.
Has anyone heard about farming on old tyres instead of containers on rooftops?
If yes, please kindly send me details at
Wow! This is great! I love the idea of the containers on the wall…I will definitely pass that idea on and try it myself this growing season!
As for the post by Dev Raj Paudel left on 29 March 08 at 9:57am…we use old truck/car tires to plant potatoes! Excellent growth and easy access!
Michelle ~ in the high desert of Northern Nevada
Another site using a similar plastic-bottle planter design, only theirs is used for inverted planting/growing:
(Note: I’ve not done it myself)
I love this idea – I wish I had taken advantage of some of these techniques when I was an apartment-dweller.
I found another site you might want to add to your collection.
It’s put together by the University of Wisconsin and is full of ideas on how to re-use bottles to grow plants.
I also wanted to add that I think I’ve found a way to automatically water a series of tubs.
It’s cheap, simple to use and could be used in any number of settings.
If you set up a central tub or reservoir and keep the water level at the height of the water that you wish to maintain in each of your growing tub reservoirs, you can, using the same principle that drives a water level, keep all the tubs watered.
It’s non-pressurized, so I think you could fix it to work off of rain barrels.
To keep the reservoir level at a steady height, I’m using a 1/2″ Hudson valve.
Here’s a diagram of a water level – http://www.factsfacts.com/MyHomeRepair/WaterLevel.htm
The one (easy to learn) trick is getting all the air bubbles out of the lines so the siphon effect will work.
There are a few limitations. You can’t use water soluble fertilizer, because the water is being shared unequally by all the tubs. Also, I’m not sure if the lime that’s added to the tomato containers is going to migrate down into the (general) water supply and thus change the ph of soil in other containers.
I don’t think this is anything new. I think Archimedes did it first.
Are you familiar with terra preta, “the intentional use of charcoal in soil”?
I only know a little about it, but it seems incredibly promising. At least from a growing point of view; politically it’s much tougher to see how it could be implemented.
Here are a couple of links for you –
And I’d like to point you to the website of Phillip Small, another soils expert who you might enjoy. I had some basic questions on terra preta and exchanged a few emails with him. He was very helpful.
that is really good information!
i will integrate this ideas in future guerilla-gardening activities! thank you very much for posting all this!
Any suggestions for what vegetables have a root depth that make them appropriate for container planting?
I’m sure someone mentioned this, but the clear bottle are an excellent way of determining root development under varying conditions. It also allows one to judge the effects of trying different blends of soil as an aid to plant development. I can envision quite a few interesting experiments in this area and will be happy to report my results. Thanks for a very well prepared site!
hi there – if you obtain containers that allow the roots to breath the roots will be airpruned (good for plant growth) as oppossed to pot bound (bad for plant growth) – woolly wally pockets do just that http://www.gardenbeet.com/vertical-garden.html
basically the plant will only grow as big as the container
I just love your ideas! I have lots of room, but I have serious arthritis, so the light weight bottles sound like the perfect garden! Thank you so much!
I have a site healthierthinnerhappieru I am searching for a new theme for it and ran across this.
I love the idea. So many times I use clear water and soda bottles in the garden to spook rabbits. An Ojibwe friend of mine told me to put them upside down buried in the garden. I am always looking for ideas to reuse clear plastic water and soda bottles and this idea of plastic planters is well worth experimenting with. I plan to try it in 2010 to start seedlings in.
We do raised bed gardening at the senior housing where I live. I capture rain water from roofs via gutter downspots. I simply place a pail under the downspots and then transfer water via a funnel to plastic bottles. These are easier to carry than large water vessels.
We can save plastic containers from the landfill. Just fill them up with dirt and plant a garden instead. Very practical for us seniors on a fixed income. Thank you.
for years i’ve been regretting not having a garden, besides that living on a boat is perfect for me. i’ve now collected lots of containers and will try growing some of my own veggies in the middle of ghent.
this way i also found a good use for my collection of empty coffeecontainers.
thanks for this site and all the great ideas.
I noticed you have comments off. lol, what about questions, are they off as well?
Hi there- I’m trying your plastic bottle method in my office.
I wonder how you cut the hole in the bottom of the plastic bottles. Where the hole is placed is a thicker area of plastic due to the extruding process that made the bottle, and it resists what I have tried so far (scissors, exacto knife…). I have eventually gotten through, but it’s messy, takes a while, and I’m glad I’ve not sliced/gashed/poked myself in the process.
Also, do you have a suggestion to limit how much soil settles to the bottom of the bottle when setting it up? My first bottle was ok during setup, the second lost a nicely shaped tube of soil into the mouth/bottom when I wet it through in preparation of my seeds. It wasn’t easy to clean that dropped soil out, to keep the hole in the bottom of the bottle open for air.
Such a new and innovative type of gardening, we can use our battle can to make it as a vegetable pot or flower pot. Excellent post worth reading
I remember the first time making a garden, I used recycle plastic containers and bottles from waters and even plastic bowl from ice cream he he. Plastic containers at the garden really is a good idea. Usually, when I am having garden tours, I could not find at least one plastic container. But I suggest to have this, and good for student to learn how to recycle things for the garden.
I’m starting my own container gardening! You can check it out at http://interessespessoais.com/jardim/alfaces-na-estufa-de-jardim/
Just let me know what you think about my greehouse!😉
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