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Greenhouse in a Bottle



2-liter soda pop bottle, washed out with dish soap and a little bleach,

 and well-rinsed with water


Utility knife | 4 toilet paper tube seed starters -



Organic seed-starting medium | Seeds



Combine our toilet paper tube seed-starting idea with this simple mini-greenhouse, and your seeds will think they're growing up in the Taj Mahal!


Do this several weeks ahead of the last possible frost in your part of the country; the seed packet should tell you how far in advance of that frost date you should start your seeds indoors.


Simply make four half-size t.p. tube seed-starting containers, and fill with moistened seed-starting medium and your seeds. Water in slightly.


Then take a 2-liter plastic soda pop bottle, with lid. Cut it with a utility knife about four inches from the bottom.


Take the rounded bottom piece. Into it, place the four "loaded" t.p. tubes. They should snuggle up against each other.




Then "screw" the longer top part down into the rounded bottom piece.


Place in a warm spot that is out of direct sunlight until you have germination. Then place the bottle on a windowsill in fairly bright light - not too hot, though.


Watch your seedlings grow! It's that simple!


If you keep the cap on, the humidity should be as good as in a greenhouse in there. You should see fog and water droplets on the sides. Of course, if you're concerned about too much moisture, and the possibility of mold forming, especially if water runs down the sides of the bottle, you can take your bottle greenhouse apart for a day or so to let it vent.


When there's only about a week left before the date of your area's last possible frost, set the bottle outside on warm days for a few hours, starting on a porch, moving to the shade the next day, then to partial sunshine, and finally into full sun. For the last few days, remove the top of the bottle to let the plants get used to the out of doors.


Then, when the frost date has passed, your plants can move from their mini greenhouse into the soil outdoors!


Longtime gardeners re-use the soda bottle tops as a "cloche" (cloashe) to protect seedlings from the wind - simply "screwing" the top part down into the soil around a tender plant.


They also keep their two-part mini greenhouses from year to year, to recycle and "rebuild" the greenhouses for next year's crop!



By Susan Darst Williams • • Start-Ups 09 © 2011



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