Weeks 3 and 4 Pop Bottles Meet Disaster

Mr. Gray is in trouble. BIG trouble. We have 2 kittens we adopted in October of this last year. I was seriously worried about my seedlings getting damaged by the cats since it is an open space in our basement that I grow my plants in. Our beloved cat Bernie, who died suddenly this fall was completely trained to not go near the “kids”.

Oh yes, it happened in the middle of the night, a crash in the basement and a scampering of feet tearing down the hallway past our bedroom door. I knew what the sound was and I just sighed and fell back asleep. I would survey the damage in the morning.

Sure enough Mr. Gray, yes I know it was him, dumped the whole rack of shelves. Nine pop bottles were scattered across the floor in all sorts of disarray. I didn’t have time to do anything with them because I needed to get to the bakery. I would work on the mess when I got home.

Nothing, unfortunately was salvageable. The second set of shelving was still upright so I hadn’t lost everything, but the basil, lemon balm, cilantro, onions, catnip, and others were crushed.

Today I did get 28 pepper plants and 4 watermelon plants transplanted into their own, larger spaces. They are doing well and hopefully Mr. Gray will not get into any more mischief with these guys. Now if we could just get some sun here in Western NY that would really, really help. -MM

 

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Week 1-2 Pop Bottle Garden


It has been a heck of a few weeks since I started the seeds for our 2017 garden. Here in Western, NY we had 80+ mile an hour winds which knocked our power out for well over 24 hours and closed school for two days. Then less than a week later we had a two day blizzard that closed schools again for two days and brought our lives to a grinding halt while we waited it out. Crazy weather I tell ya!

However, while all that crazy weather was going on outside, my little pop bottle garden and its contents were snug and warm and working away for me.

This year I planted peppers, both sweet and hot, celery, cilantro, dill, watermelon, basil, 3 kinds of onions, catnip and lemon balm. The only thing I have not gotten in yet are the tomatoes and I am getting a little nervous about it but I will get them started don’t worry.

Below are a couple of photos of what has been happening inside the bottles these past two weeks. Pretty cool huh? See you next week with another update! -MM

 

 

Starting Seeds Week #1

Every year I start my seeds, indoors, about 6-8 weeks before the plants go into the ground outside.

Last year was the first year I tried starting my seeds in a pop bottle. Sound kinda weird? Not really if you think about it. A pop bottle is just like a mini greenhouse. It keeps the warm sunlight in and the cold temperatures out. Even in my cool basement the seeds are warm and snug in their individual little bottle greenhouses. The results I got were fantastic! I grew things like never before. Cilantro, basil, celery, and watermelon just to name a few.

Baby basil plant from 2016

I don’t have expensive lights to grow my seedlings under and I don’t have tons of space either. What I do have is a sunny 8′ basement potting bench that has 6 hours of direct sunlight a day and a bottle garden works perfectly in this scenario.

For the next 6 to 8 weeks I will report back each week on how the seeds are germinating and let you take a look inside the bottles to prove that you don’t need expensive lights and fancy heating mats to grow strong, healthy seedlings.

Here are the steps to start using a 2 liter plastic pop bottle for a mini greenhouse.

Step #1

Cut two clean 2 liter pop bottles in half with a sharp knife by poking the tip of the knife into the sides of one of the bottles and slicing around the side of it until it is in two pieces.

Each “greenhouse” uses 3 pieces of bottle to create a complete unit.

Step #2

When you have the first bottle in 2 pieces invert the top half, which has the cap, upside down into the bottom half of the bottle. Now you are ready to plant some seeds in it!

Step #3

Fill the top about half way full with starter soil, which is lighter than traditional potting soil. Drop a few seeds on top of the soil of whatever you are planting such as pepper seeds and cover them with more soil to finish. Water well until the water runs out the bottom. Note: if there is water in the bottom after a day or so dump it out because it will start to mold and could kill any plants starting.

Step #4

Finish the greenhouse by putting another half of the second bottle on top. If you have the cap, put it on. If not, cover it up with a piece of plastic or tin foil.

Step #5

Put the bottle into a sunny window and see what grows! Once the seeds germinate and start to grow into plants, take the cap or plastic off to get some air into the bottle.

Let me know what you think. Have you ever tried growing in a pop bottle? -MM