Introduction: Slow Soaking Hanging Soda Bottle Planter
A different take on the inverted soda bottle planters. I find this is more effective in A) using more of the material being recycled, and B) creating a slow soaking watering system so water will not pour out the bottom after watering.
Step 1: Collect Your Utensils
I don't drink soda, so I asked friends to collect large soda bottles from their work places where recycling is not exactly custom practice (and my friends recycle at home so they were all out) for me for this project.
You will need:
Large size soda bottle
Exacto or other blade knife
String, chain or wire for hanging
Step 2: Get Naked
Remove the wrapping from your bottle
Step 3: Cut at the Seam
Find the "seam" at the bottom of the bottle. If you look close it's there, usually right below or very close to the bottom of the wrapping. This will be your guidline for cutting. Just cut along this seam as straight as possible until the bottom comes off.
If your seam is very close to where the ridges form, that draw a line around the bottom, at least an inch away from where the ridges start. It is VERY important that the ridges be well intact to the now cut off bottom part.
Now the body of the bottle chould be cut and seperated from the bottom.
Step 4: Insert Removed Bottom
With the bottle upside down (balanced on its cap, cut end up) place the bottom inside the bottle, and let the newly cut edges line up evenly (this is why we cut as straight a line as possible along the seam).
The bottom will create a resevoir that will hold water, a little more than a cup I think.
Step 5: Duct Tape and Seal
I use duct tape for a couple reasons in this instructable but you could possibly do with out.
I use it to seal where the newly inserted bottom and body of the bottom line up so there is no slippage. Also I feel it helps the strength of the plastic maintain its integrity where is will be hole punched. I like to fold it in half and line it up so half is on the outside, half is on the inside, so that when we go to punch, it will be through four layers (tape/plastic/plastic/tape).
I'm a crazy Virgo and like it to line up perfectly. After I wrap it around I just fold it to the inside of the bottom as smooth and neat as possible.
and lastly, I like the nice black band at the top so I canuse a nice gold or silver sharpie to label the plant variety/name and that on black will POP and be easy to read.
Step 6: Cut Soaker Holes
After all is taped good this is when I like to cut my soaker holes. I cut little X's into the bottom most part of each little space on either side of the ridges with razored utility knife. Though you may be tempted do not enlarge where you made the cuts, leave them just as cuts do NOT poke something through them to make them large as that will ensure a leaky leaky bottom. The little slits allow water to pass through them but very very slowly, hence the soaker!
I do this now to the bottom so that if I slip my knife, it will be caught in the bottle, as opposed to slipping off and potentially causing harm.
Step 7: Holes for Hanging
I use my hole punch to punch holes. The evenly round nature of the hole ensures strenght. If you have a corner, it has the potential of tearing.
MAKE VERY SURE when you punch the holes, that you do so in the center of each ridge. The plastic is far thicker and stronger in the ridges, so placed here then hung, the bottle will have a significantly stronger area that it is hung from and it will be very less likely to collapse in in itself. Also having two layers of plastic makes it more ridgid and strong as well.
I punch my holes in the middle of the tape, not too close to the edge, and not too close to the ridges.
Step 8: Fill, Hang and Enjoy
I'm not going to go too deep into planting your plants in the bottle as there are a lot of resources out there. What I do is fill the bottle up half way (depending on how long the roots are. Keeping your cap on the bottle helps keep pour out and spills away at this time) then seal the bottom, but you could easily use a funnel after sealing the bottle. Insert the plant and fill to the top with more soil. Give the bottle a good watering while the plant is upright in it and get a good packing down of the soil so that when you turn it upside down it will not all spill out.Keeping you plants well watered and not allowing the soil around the neck to dry out will keep the soil from falling out until the stem of your plant is big enough to take up the neck space (at least in the case of tomatoes, whose stems get to a very large diameter).
Use your preferred methos of hanging it and ta-da! All done! I usually use what I have around, which has included wire and keyrings, or thick twine. I would prefer to use the nice chains that many retail hanging basket have, but I'm cheap and it would be like lipstick on a pig being put on cut up bottles and all.
I've thought about trying out Kryolon's Plastic Fusion line of spray paint to color them wild and fun colors, but decided I like seeing the root systems EXPLODE inside my cheap little contraption.
After you hang simply fill the resevoir with water and it will slowly soak into the soil.
Now watch it grow!
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