Building Projects · Garden · Plants

Window Farming and Recycled Bottle Planters

I think recycled plastic bottle planters for urban gardens are really cool. You can make them out of some old soda bottles, fastened to chicken wire with electrical ties. You can use different size bottles or all the same size if you want a little more uniform look. There’s an NPR story on them here.

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Here’s how to make a vertical row of them:

  • Start by drilling a little hole in all of the bottle caps except one. This will be your bottom planter bottle. (Leave the tops on the bottles).
  • Cut the bottom complete off the top bottle.
  • For the rest of the bottles, cut a ~2″ wide x 1″ tall rectangular hole on one side of each of the bottles, an inch or two from the bottom. Then, cut a round hole in the bottom of each bottle that a cap can fit into.
  • Turn each bottle upside down, and fill it about halfway from the top with dirt. Stop just below your rectangular hole.
  • Now, you’ll attach all of the bottles to each other. Start with the top bottle. But the cap into the bottom hole you drilled in one of your middle bottles. Then take your this bottle, and put its cap into the bottom hole you drilled in the next bottle, and so on and so forth until you reach the bottom bottle. Make sure all of your rectangular holes are facing the same direction, then duct tape all of your bottles together.
  • Cut a length of chicken wire a few inches longer than the length of your bottles.
  • The last thing you’ll do is attach them to the chicken wire with the electrical ties. Make sure all of the rectangular holes are facing outward, away from the chicken wire.
  • Now you can add vertical rows like this one until you have them all the way across the horizontal length of your chicken wire. Leave an inch or two between each column.
  • Plant seeds in your rectangular holes and water through the top bottle. The water should slowly percolate down through all of the bottles until it gets to your bottom bottle.
  • As your plants grow, you may need to tease them out of the holes at first.

Tip: attach them to a wall that gets a lot of sun, or you can plant them in front of a sunny window. If you don’t want to nail it in, attach the top of the chicken wire to a hanger, and then hang it on a hook.

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