Want an indoor garden that won't take up table, counter, or floor space? Looking for a simple and pretty green addition to your home? Would your kids like to have their own my-sized planting project?
This mini hanging garden is suitable for either indoor or outdoor use. It is simple, easy to make, free, and constructed from 100% recycled materials. It works particularly well as a seed starter or for slow-growing plants. You can grow as many or as few plants as you would like and can make the ropes as long or short as you need.
This is also a fantastic project for kids--we use a method similar to this in our preschool to grow seedlings and the kids love it because it's just their size! Once completed, this mini garden can be hung up in a window to make a pretty living curtain for any room.
The materials I list for this project make one rope of planters, but obviously you can make more to suit your needs.
Step 1: Materials
For this project you will need:
- 1 plastic grocery bag
- 4 film canisters or other small containers
- 1 piece of thin string (roughly 6-10" long)
- 1 pair of scissors
- 1 box cutter or razor blade
- hot glue gun
Step 2: Cutting the Bag
Cutting the bag involves three separate parts:
- Lay the bag out flat and cut off the bottom of the bag as close to the seam as possible.
- Keeping the bag flat, cut across the top of the bag in a straight line to remove the handles and any other excess plastic.
- Open the bag--it should form a large sleeve.
- Lay the sleeve out flat making sure that one of the open ends is facing towards you.
- Fold the bag in half from right to left, smooth it out, fold in half again, smooth, then fold in half one more time.
** Make sure that you are folding side-to-side, NOT top-to-bottom! It should now be a long vertical rectangle. **
- Starting at the bottom, cut the bag into 6 relatively equal sections.
- After you have all 6 pieces cut, unfold them and open them up; they should form large loops.
Step 3: Tying the Loops
To tie the loops together, you are going to make a basic square knot. I have used two different colored loops in the pictures to help illustrate the steps.
- Take two of the loops and lay them out so that the loop on the right (green) lies partially on top of the loop on the left (white).
- With your left hand, reach UNDER the left loop and grab the end of the right loop.
- With your right hand, grab the left loop and lift it up through the right loop.
- Pull both ends straight out to form the knot.
** Make sure to pull the knot as tight and small as possible, but be careful you don't rip the bags. **
Pair up the remaining loops and repeat these steps two more times, resulting in 3 separate "bowties"
Step 4: Braiding the Rope
- Slip the ends of the loops over a stationary object to anchor them and make it easier to braid. (I used my toe)
- Tie them off close to the anchor so there is a loop at the top.
- Tightly braid almost the whole length of the bags, but when you get to the end DO NOT tie it off! Instead, simply put one of the end pieces through the loop of another, this will be sufficient to keep it from coming apart.
Step 5: Cutting the Containers
If you haven't already removed the film canister lids, take them off now.
Turn all of the film canisters (or whatever container you are using) upside down. You should see a small indentation in the bottoms: cut these out with the box cutter to make a small hole in each.
Note: if you are using a different type of container, you will need to adjust the hole accordingly. If you are using much larger containers, you may even need to use two ropes to suspend them. Whatever you are using, I recommend testing one out first to gauge where/how you need to cut (otherwise, once hung up, it may end up just dumping soil all over the floor.)
Step 6: Threading the Containers
- Take your piece of string and fold it in half to form a loop.
- Thread the loop up through the bottom of a film canister and pull the loop so that you can see it over the top edge of the container, but make sure the ends of the string do not get pulled up into the container.
- Take the untied end of your rope and put about an inch through the loop of string.
- Pull the ends of the string back, catching the rope and pulling it down into the container and out the bottom.
- Slide the container up to the top of the rope, and repeat for the 3 remaining containers.
- Once they are all on, tie off the end of the rope.
Step 7: Separate the Containers
The knots you tie during this step will be what the containers rest on, so where you want the containers to sit depends on where you tie the knots.
- In the middle of the rope, you will see a small lump where your initial knots in the plastic have all come together in the braid. With two containers above and below this point, tie a knot.
- Tie two more knots at the quarter-way points, making sure that you have one container above each knot.
- The bottom-most container should simply sit on the knot at the bottom of the rope.
Here is where the hot glue gun is optional. Obviously with a hole in the bottom of the containers, when you water the plants they will drip. Depending on whether you are going to use these in- or outdoors you can decide whether or not to glue the holes shut.
Step 8: Fill and Plant!
- Hang the rope up in an area you don't mind getting dirty.
- Fill each container up with soil (I found a spoon to be very helpful for this step) and plant your seeds.
- Hang up in an area with plenty of light!
- You can make longer ropes by using more plastic loops for each strand in step 3.
- Use different colored plastic bags to make prettier braids.
- Use a dowel to mount several ropes to make it easier to fill them with soil and hang them.
- If you have a curtainless window, you can string multiple ropes onto a curtain rod and hang them in the window!
- If using these as seed starters, simply cut the rope when you are ready to transplant the seedlings and pull the plants out of the containers--which can then be reused for another plant!