Recycled Planter

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Using household recyclables to create a planter is a fun and simple way to make your home or classroom a  little “greener”, and does its own watering!  It’s perfect for starting seeds indoors and growing seedlings until they’re big enough to plant in your garden.

Step 1:  Gather Materials

You will need:

  • A plastic drink bottle
  • Potting soil
  • Scissors or a box cutter
  • Scoop or small cup
  • Seeds (grass or wildflower seeds work well for first attempts)
  • Water
  • Sunlight

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 Step 2:  Prepare the Bottle

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Carefully cut your plastic bottle in half.   You may need help from an adult to cut a slit into the bottle to start you off.   Then cut all the way around the circumference of the bottle.

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Place the bottom part of the bottle so it sits upright.  Flip the top part of the bottle over and fit it inside the bottom part.  You may need to cut off some excess plastic if the bottle seems too tall.  In the end, you should have a plastic vase with a top section for soil and seeds, and a bottom section for water.

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Step 3:  Plant Your Seeds

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Here’s the fun part.  Using your scoop or a small cup, scoop soil into the top section of the planter (the top part of the bottle)  to fill it about half way with soil.   A small amount of soil will fall out of the bottle neck and into the bottom section of your planter.  That’s OK!

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Take a couple of seeds and carefully place them in the soil, using the seed packet instructions as a guide on how far apart to place them.  Be sure not to use too many seeds or your plants may not have enough room to grow.

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Gently scoop more soil on top of the seeds.   Pat down the soil but do not pack it down tightly.

Step 4:  Water Your Seeds

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Seeds need water  to grow into plants.   So just pour water in the bottom section of the planter.  The water will work its way up into the soil through the bottle neck, and the soil will remain wet as long as there is enough water in the bottom section.  When the water in the bottom section is getting low or dries out, add more.  This is called a “self-watering” planter because the soil takes as much water as it needs, and you only need to replenish it every once and a while.

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Be sure to give your plant enough sunlight and water to grow.  When your plant is big enough (following the instructions from the seed packet), transplant it into the garden or a bigger pot.   If you like this type of planter, experiment with other recycled containers to create more!

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-Kevin

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About Kevin
I work at a place that has Three, not One but Three different slides. Keep it simple...My motto. I am currently finishing a Master's program at Carlow University in Early Childhood Education. The Children's Museum of Pittsburgh offers me a workplace where I am able to teach a variety of people and learn a variety of things all at the same time.

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