Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Self-Watering Recycled Plastic Bottle Plant Pot for Seeds

I like my seeds to be comfortable, the seed equivalent of sitting on a deckchair under a sunshade while sipping a glass of chilled Chablis. Seeds are precious, if they weren’t companies like Monsanto (pauses to puke) would not be interested in them so here is a way to make as sure as you possibly can that they have the sort of start in life that the Good Lord intended.

The photos will give a full picture, but basically I cut a plastic bottle in two with a fine toothed bread knife, drilled 4 holes in the screw cap and inserted lengths of non-plastic string to act as a wick, (see photo). I lined the half the screw cap fits with wet paper and after fitting the screw cap back on I held the strings to one side and filled this lined half with seed compost (see photo.) After this I distributed the strings around the pot and back down to below soil level. I then filled the lower half with water to just below the cap and fitted the two parts together, (see photo.)

Place seeds on or in the growing medium as advised and cover the top with a light sprinkle of sand to discourage fungal disease. Now if you need to go away for a few days or forget to water it doesn’t matter. Don't forget to double left click on the photos for full screen size and to use the browser's back button (arrow) to return to normal. This is especially useful for the second photo from the top.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

A Potato Box

I have always been amazed just how many potatoes it is possible to get from a potato box or barrel or bin or whatever it is called in your part of the world. I know that potatoes are not usually over-expensive but I like organic early potatoes and these are expensive, so this year I have built a potato box and will grow our own. The box is made from old pallets (painted in an environmentally friendly wood treatment we had left over) and measures about 33” square by 24” high. The bottom of the box has duck tape wrapped around it to seal it from the ground, this should show up in one of the photos, and the inside has old black plastic sacks secured by brass thumbtacks on the top edge so covering the top and the inside wood to protect it from moisture and stop the growing medium from drying out, another photo shows this at the half-way stage. I will put a few inches of compost on the bottom, lay a few early chitted seed potatoes on it and cover over them for three or so inches with compost, then as the potatoes shoots grow up I will carry on covering them up until I get near to the top and the box will fill with new potatos. (Can't come soon enough for me!) The system will be frost resistant and I will save some of the first of the crop and store them in the fridge to plant again for a second crop around July time, crafty or what? Incidentally, the compost bin that is next to the potato box was also built from unwanted pallets... Waste not, want not...