Instructables

My Little Composter + The Plant-Buddy

Picture of My Little Composter + The Plant-Buddy
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My daughter was playing around with a couple of empty CD-ROM containers and got them stuck together. Every time you buy a pack of CD or DVD discs to be burnt onto, you get another one of these crafty containers. If you are like me, you download an awful lot of junk, try out a lot of new software, and generally waste at least one of these per month. I should conduct a scientific study on where all those discs end up (probably in the recycle bin).

Once you get a couple of these lids stuck together, you can never get them apart again. They trap the air between them, creating a vacuum of sorts. I got to thinking that you could easily use one of these to pot a plant. And you could use two of these to pot a plant, with a water trap in the bottom. The reasoning for the lower chamber is to catch the excess water that leaks through the soil. In doing so, you will keep from over watering your plants. Also, you will see just how much you are over-watering them, as you will be able to see the water trapped below. That water should dry up. And if there is no indication of moisture in the bottom, it may be time to water your plant again! We will call this contraption the "plant buddy" on account that you should not over water and kill whatever you grow in it.

What soil shall we use? Many smart people are finding that you can compost your own materials and come out with better soil than the stuff you pay high dollar for at your local home stores. We won't need a lot of soil for our small pot. Composting is science. You need the right amounts of the right materials, in the right temperatures to come out with good stuff. You may not want a rotting garbage can of waste in your yard while you experiment. Hence, the "My Little Composter". A see-through container where you can compost your materials in small amounts. My kids took an interest in this project which made me think that this would make a great future science project.

We started with three containers of various sizes, and the matching inter-locking bottom pieces.
 
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Gato Nipon1 year ago
this looks more like a germinator. I love the use of the disc case, excellent idea !!
HamenChips3 years ago
Does it give off stinky odor of the composting garbage?
designsmith3 years ago
Brilliant idea! I just emptied one of these containers yesterday and will be making my mini-composter today. Some have mentioned adding worms to create "vermiculture". However, I wonder if the heat created inside a composting unit would result in some cooked worms. As I understand it, in order for composting to occur the temperature of the material must reach a minimum of 130 degrees Fahrenheit. So, it would appear to me that it's one or the other-vermiculture or composting. Any thoughts?
If you built lots of them, you could put a rubber band across all of them and then have an arduino with a motor turn them however often you like!
sgsidekick4 years ago
As for reusing the discs themselves?  We've always collected them from coworkers.  We glue the tops together so the data surfaces (shiny sides) are on the outside.  Then just string them on fishing line and hang in the garden to look pretty and keep birds out of certain areas.  Mostly just to look pretty.  Catches the sun very well!!  *lol*
houdini654 years ago
How is the smell?
hishealer4 years ago
I'm thinking about adding worms to this... but still studying up on the subject, starting with the Wiki site you provided. Thanks!
Marcos5 years ago
This is a fun idea, and a great way to re-use what normally goes in the trash (at least for those who aren't pack-rat/makers). But how many of these can you use in your CD-burning frenzy? What if you bought CD-RWs and re-used the disks? It sounds like a lot of the software you download may be expendable. Better yet, get an external (or add an internal) hard drive to your computer and skip the CDs altogether!
Well, even over a period of time, we can collect these because they're cool and should have some kind of reuse-ability. I have several. Further, after burning my cd's or dvd's, I transfer those that I keep into albums. Mostly, I do the burning for other folks. (Wedding videos, etc.) I thought it was a great idea. Now I'm looking for a great idea for reusing the trashed disks themselves!
Anything you need structural support for in that shape. I have seen crochet projects that use discs for the support in the bottom of a bag or something.
How about using re-writable discs so you don't have any waste at all?
oddree (author)  Marcos5 years ago
Rewritable discs are stupid! You can only rewrite something so many times, because you are having to burn the platter flat before you can burn new data back into it. This is often called "formatting" and adds another 10 minutes to the process of writing new data. Some discs can be written 12 times, while others can be written up to 22. But in my experience, by the time you get to the fourth or fifth time the disc starts getting read errors. Also, the cost of re-writable discs far exceeds the cost of regular one-time discs. You are better off buying a larger pack of one-time writable discs and then recycling them when you are done with them. Also - I don't waste nearly the number of discs that I used to. I wrote this a couple years ago now and I no longer try a new version of Linux every other day. ;-)
Marcos oddree5 years ago
Well, I feel pretty stupid when I make a mistake or have a failed burn on a CD-R and can't do anything but toss it in the recycling bin. I can't recall needing to erase a CD-RW more than once, so I guess my needs are different than yours. Last time I bought some, a couple of years ago, the re-writables were a few cents apiece more. CDRs seem to be harder to get these days anyway.
If you do mosaic, you could Destroy them, and then make pretty art out of the pieces. Or you could keep them intact and decorate with them. Or both!
We use the no good disks to hang around in our fruit trees to help keep the birds away from the fruit. The slight movement and reflection seems to scare them off at least until We harvest the fruit.
jarjar7615 years ago
hey i gotta new idea thanks to this but its all mine jk its a great idear really i wouldve never thought of this and my mom wants a mini composter
Nice, 2 in 1 instructables both really cool.
going with worms stack a couple more high, with holes in bottoms for worms to work up... have some sort of drain at bottom one for worm compost tea.....
as for the disk, i'm guessing most dont end up recycled, but we can hope, my good idea.....tie them from string outside in my garden to keep out the birds and such....
xeno5 years ago
If you drill a small hole in the bottom of the "dirt container" in your planter, and slide a small piece of cotton through (an old bootlace works great!), it will act as a wick to keep the soil moist at all times, and if you put a small "refilling" hole in the side of the bottom container just below the level of the upper container inside, you can add water in the bottom easily to leach into the soil on top.
Or, maybe running a tube down from the top thru to the bottom container. This way, over filling will only result in the chance of soggy soil instead of a spill. You can even hot glue the tube to the side of the container.
dweeby5 years ago
Safety issue, you should point the blade edge down towards the table, away from your hand so you don't get a demonstration of how well steak knives cut through meat...
Personally, I'd use the hot nail method. Pliers keep fingers from being burnt and the chance of damaging the nerves in your hand with a steak knife is reduced greatly.
I am going to have my children make these before we make our compost barrel outside so they will get to see what is going on. What a great teaching tool!
boyrock3755 years ago
have u thought about making a bigger on say out of a coffe container or something
oddree (author)  boyrock3755 years ago
I have a lot of fun with coffee cans, but they rot - FAST. Maybe thats not a bad thing since we are talking about composting. The new Maxwell House containers are plastic but they are square. I have found all sorts of uses for those because they have a handle and good lid! I ought to try and build a composter out of one. :-)
Tommy37446 years ago
Would it be possible to create a compost bin out of a plastic bottle? Or is it not that simple.
SO COOL! Thanks! The condo development I just moved into has a 'no composting' policy (for outside)...this looks perfect for the inside of my house! I also love to use steak knives as a primary tool.
minerallad6 years ago
Awesome idea! I do most of my gardening indoors (our house has two huge trees out front that give us full shade there, the side-yard was poisoned with termite poison that plants absorb, and that doesn't go away, and the backyard is inhabited by a golden retriever), so this will be a perfect little addition to my stuff! Great idea! The only thing that I may suggest is to put a mesh over the holes so that nothing falls out! =]
sweet.... Very cool!
argosxilow6 years ago
Very cool! I have been wanting to compost, but haven't done because not only are big compost bins expensive, but I live in a little apartment half of the year, and in college dorms the rest of the year. I'll definitely be doing this.
momo!7 years ago
What a great idea! Very reminiscent of those kiddie compost kits with the spray bottles sold over Scholastic Books catalogs when I was a kid.
yea! thats pretty cool. i gona use it at home
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